Home #Hwoodtimes Build-A-Bear Helps to Celebrate SpongeBob SquarePants’ 20th Anniversary with New Plush!

Build-A-Bear Helps to Celebrate SpongeBob SquarePants’ 20th Anniversary with New Plush!

“Are you ready, kids? AYE AYE CAPTAIN! Make your own nautical nonsense and add SpongeBob SquarePants to your collection! The world’s most lovable sponge is celebrating 20 years of unforgettable adventures in Bikini Bottom. Fans of all ages can take their imagination overboard by making their own SpongeBob with hugs, heart and smiles.”
— Build-A-Bear

Click here for Build-A-Bear website information about SpongeBob SquarePants 20 year celebration.


By Judy Shields

Photos by THT


Ontario, California (The Hollywood Times) 10/25/2019 – Nickelodeon is commemorating 20 years of SpongeBob SquarePants with the “Best Year Ever”—a tribute to one of the most iconic TV series and characters ever created.  SpongeBob launched July 17, 1999, and has reigned as the number-one kids’ animated series on TV for the last 17 years, generating a universe of beloved characters, pop culture catchphrases and memes, theatrical releases, consumer products, a Tony award-winning Broadway musical and a global fan base.

Grandma Judy heard that Build-A-Bear was helping SpongeBob SquarePants celebrate their 20th Anniversary 

“How fun it was to experience my grandson’s amazement when creating his first Build-A-Bear,” said Grandma Judy about Max’s very first visit to Build-A-Bear.

Build-A-Bear at Ontario Mills Mall in Ontario, CA

Max’s older brother Drew came along for support and also picked a favorite character, that story to come!


All stories have a beginning and ending and this is where Max’s story begins.

It all started one wonderful evening at Max’s nearby Build-A-Bear store at Ontario Mills Mall in Ontario, CA.  Nestled between the 10 and 15 freeways in the Inland Empire.

Build-A-Bear store Front Ontario Mills Mall, Ontario, CA

Once we arrived at Build-A-Bear, and with Halloween just around the corner, there were many themed bears with great Halloween costumes in the display window to choose from, but on this eve, we were there for SpongeBob.

Wouldn’t you know it, the first display was that of SpongeBob along with cool and appropriate accessories. Some really colorful shirts and shorts in blue and some in yellow.

Build-A-Bear SpongeBob accessories display

SpongeBob’s Bikini Bottom friends Sandy Cheeks and Gary the Snail were also available as pre-stuffed minis.

Complementing the characters is a variety of clothing and accessories, including costumes, a Pineapple House, sound chip and more! There are even clothes for other Build-A-Bear characters so they can all join in the SpongeBob fun!

Max’s Dad Billy, with a knack for imitating SpongeBob’s voice, had fun recording the sound chip for Max’s SpongeBob. Too funny! Listen to it here:

Daddy Billy handed Max’s unstuffed SpongeBob, his Daddy to Ashley, a most helpful and enthusiastic Build-A-Bear team member.  She was thrilled that it was Max’s first time at Build-A-Bear and showed him how to work the pedal that would fill his SpongeBob with that wonderful soft plush filling.

At 8 months old, Max did a great job focusing intently to make sure the machine was working.  It was joyful to watch his expression, then watch him look up at Ashley for her approval that he was doing it right.

Max picking out a heart for his Build-A- Bear SpongeBob plush

The next step was for Max to give his SpongeBob a heart.  He loved picking out the one to be placed in his stuffed SpongeBob.  Ashley placed the heart into SpongeBob and when Max pushed on it, Max could hear an actual heartbeat, way cool!

Max meets his first Build-A-Bear. The 20th Anniversary SpongeBob SquarePants, which was pretty much as big as Max!

Max getting his first Build-A-Bear Spongebob with Daddy

One happy Build-A-Bear owner at eight months old.

Daddy was again talking to Max in SpongeBob’s voice and getting a giggle out of Max and all of us too!

On to the cleaning station so Max could wash up his newly created SpongeBob. There were several brushes and an air dryer. Big brother Drew helped his little brother Max brush his new plush.

Drew helping Max to clean his Build-A-Bear SpongeBob

Max was so curious and enjoyed the sound that the machine made with the air coming out of the nozzle and holding the brush as well.  Fun times for us all.

Next up was to make the birth certificate that Max would have to show off when SpongeBob was born that wonderful day.

Max’s Mommy making the birth certificate

Mommy Raquel helped him out with that. Then Daddy took him over to ring the bell on the wall that signifies a customer’s first Build-A-Bear. A great accomplishment as Max had a great time pulling the string to ring that bell. Check out the video of Max ringing the bell below:

So of course, big brother Drew had to have a Build-A-Bear as well. A relative pro at building bears this being his third, here is Drew picking out his Batman bear, which he appropriately named “BatBear”. Here is Drew getting it stuffed, adding the heart and sound, cleaning, then outfitting his bear, and finally getting the birth certificate.

Here is Drew handing back his bear after approving of its softness.

Grandma Judy is proud of both grandsons for their Build-A-Bear creations. What wonderful memories to look back upon in years to come as her eight month old grandson Max made his first Build-A-Bear character SpongeBob and my 10 year old Grandson Drew, still excited about getting a Batman themed Build-A-Bear. True Kodak moments for sure.

The End!  Thank you Build-A-Bear for the ‘never to forget’ memories you gave my family and me. Thanks to the Build-A-Bear store at the Ontario Mills Mall, Ontario, California for their hospitality and Batman Bear and SpongeBob SquarePants!

So take your kids and grandkids to enjoy the whole Build-A-Bear experience. There are so many different types of bears, horses, unicorns and all types of characters as well. There are many  costumes to choose from and they even carry costumes for children, which is just in time for Halloween.  Don’t forget to check out the Halloween bears and cats too. There were even crutches and a wheelchair for the bears.

Bring home the sea’s silliest sponge and dive into more fun by personalizing him with sounds, scents and accessories! Please note: Spongebob’s feet will not fit in standard-sized Build-A-Bear shoe.

Check out the Build-A-Bear website to look at all that is available before you go: click here

Inspired by the animated classic Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, Build-A-Bear Workshop unveils the iconic Disney Maleficent Inspired Bear. This one-of-a-kind, collectible furry friend has the famous villain’s signature horned headpiece built into her soft, black fur.

This evil fairy of a friend is sure to cast a spell in her signature look. Summon a sense of style that’s fit for a sorcerer by adding the black and purple robe to your bear’s wardrobe. In order to be her most powerful, the mistress of all evil can also wield her scepter. This golden plush scepter is a wickedly cute wrist accessory that attaches to your Disney Maleficent Inspired Bear’s paw!

Enter a fantasy world of fun with this wickedly cute collector’s item. Collectors and fans alike are sure to fall under the spell of this Disney Maleficent Inspired Bear! On Sale now Online Only.

PRODUCT INFO:  Online Exclusive Disney Maleficent Inspired Bear Gift Set: $57 / £43

Disney Maleficent Inspired Bear is ready to rule over your collection in this deluxe soft toy gift set. This one-of-a-kind villain looks wickedly regal wearing her own black and purple robe with a gold scepter. Collectors and young fans alike are sure to fall under the spell of this Disney Maleficent Inspired Bear!



Build-A-Bear is a one-of-a-kind global brand that kids love and parents trust. With more than 20 years of making special memories one furry friend at a time, Build-A-Bear has become an iconic brand.

About Build-A-Bear

Build-A-Bear® is a global brand kids love and parents trust that seeks to add a little more heart to life. Build-A-Bear Workshop® has over 450 stores worldwide where Guests can create customizable furry friends, including corporately-managed stores in the United States, Canada, China, Denmark, Ireland, Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom, and franchise stores in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Mexico and the Middle East. is the online destination for unique furry-friend gifts, featuring The-Bear-Builder™, a shopping configurator that helps create customized gift options. Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. (NYSE: BBW) posted a total revenue of $336.6 million in fiscal 2018.

We now look forward to welcoming our next generation of Guests, as kids who grew up loving their furry friends introduce Build-A-Bear to their own children — who will no doubt make memories of their own!

After the creation of over 160 million furry friends and countless more smiles, the Build-A-Bear Workshop experience will always be at the heart of who we are, and serve as the special place for families to go to have fun and make customized furry friends and special memories.

As we enter our next 20 years, we are also excited about what our future has in store. With the now-iconic, multi-generational status of Build-A-Bear, we have a fresh opportunity to imagine new ways for kids and kids at heart to experience our unique world of wonder and stories by creating Build-A-Bear inspired toys, fashions, entertainment, music and games.

Even as we evolve, the Build-A-Bear team will continue to focus on putting our hearts into everything we do, recognizing that a hug is understood in every language. So, no matter how or where you get to know Build-A-Bear, you’ll always find that our mission remains the same: to add a little more Heart Illustration to life.

Sharon Price John
President and CEO

About Sharon Price John

President and CEO Sharon Price John

Sharon Price John has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. (NYSE:BBW) since June 2013. In just a few short years, she has helped lead the company through a financial turnaround, while refreshing the nearly 20-year-old brand and repositioning it for future success. At the St. Louis headquarters of Build-A-Bear Workshop and when visiting stores across the globe, the Tennessee native leads and challenges her teams to be better and do better every day in a uniquely engaging way. She takes the time to share the full story with employees and answer questions, and they in turn know she will always speak the truth. Sharon took this approach directly to the field on the Season Eight premiere of the hit CBS series “Undercover Boss” in December 2016. In this episode, she donned a disguise while working with store and warehouse associates to gain unfiltered feedback on changes the company began implementing—including a new Discovery store format—beginning in 2014.

With two decades of experience in marketing, product development and change management, Sharon has worked on a variety of brands and businesses, including tenure at companies like Hasbro, Mattel, Wolverine World Wide (WWW) and DDB Needham Worldwide, where she established a strong track record of success.

Prior to joining Build-A-Bear Workshop, Sharon was President of the Stride Rite Children’s Group LLC. (SRCG), a division of WWW, where she led all functions of the SRCG—including product creation, wholesale sales, marketing, planning and distribution. She wore many hats while directing operations, retail merchandising and international franchising for more than 350 Stride Rite stores.

Prior to SRCG, she held a range of senior management roles at Hasbro, including General Manager and Senior Vice President of Global Preschool, where she drove the global strategy and marketing for Hasbro’s Preschool portfolio that included Playskool and Play-doh. Separately, Sharon served as the General Manager, Senior Vice President of Marketing for the U.S. Toy Division, overseeing iconic brands like NERF, Transformers and My Little Pony, while managing key licensing relationships such as Star Wars and Marvel. Prior to that, she held a number of roles, including Marketing Director of Barbie and Vice President of International for the Disney Business Unit.

Sharon’s career began in the advertising industry working at top agencies in New York, including DDB Needham Worldwide on the Hershey account and Bates USA as Account Supervisor for the SNICKERS/M&M Mars business. She holds a Master of Business Administration from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications from the University of Tennessee Knoxville. In 2014, she received the distinguished alumna award from Columbia Business School – Columbia Women in Business. In 2016, she was recognized as one of the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s 100 Distinguished Alumni of the last 100 years.

Sharon has served on the Board of Directors for Jack in the Box, Inc. (NASDAQ:JIB) since 2014 and is active on a number of national and regional philanthropic boards and organizations, including KaBOOM!, the Board of Directors of The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and The Committee of 200 (C200), an invitation-only women’s business group. Sharon is a sought-after speaker and has been a contributing writer to as a member of Fortune’s Powerful Women (MPW). She lives in St. Louis with her husband and three children.

Charitable Giving

Since 1997, children and families around the world have made furry friends and memories at Build-A-Bear Workshop. Our corporate mission is to “Add a little more Heart Illustration to life” and we live it every day. From the first day of school to blowing out candles on the birthday cake, our furry friends have been right there. They also have given hugs after a scraped knee or a visit to the doctor. When a child is sick, scared or lonely and reaches for their teddy bear, Build-A-Bear is there.

We believe in the power of hugs and the simple comfort of having a furry friend by your side. We can’t solve all the world’s problems, but we know, in a small way, the simple joy of a teddy-bear hug can make a difference. A hug is a simple, yet powerful, way to show that you care and it’s understood in every language. On good days and bad, having a teddy bear to hug can make everything a little bit better. By providing teddy bear hugs to children who need them most, we can spread the power of hugs. If we can make one child smile or feel better, we can change the world one hug at a time.

We have built a heritage of giving back to the communities where our Guests and associates live, work and play, working with partners around the world to bring our mission to life. We’re proud to provide in-kind contributions to nonprofit organizations and registered charities that support the wellbeing of children through opportunities to make their days a little bit brighter. To request an in-kind contribution or to learn more about our program, please click here.