40 Years of Vermont Teddy Bear

Our Story

40 Years of Vermont Teddy Bear

In 1981, inspired by the desire to make his son a friend that would last a lifetime, our founder, John Sortino, crafted his first-ever Teddy Bear, Bearcho. His son enjoyed his new friend so much that John began selling these Bears from a cart on Church Street in downtown Burlington, Vermont. And with that, Vermont Teddy Bear was born.

Now, 40 years later, we continue to craft our Bears and Stuffed Animals to the highest quality using the finest and softest fur we can get our paws on. Many are handcrafted right here in our Shelburne, VT factory, as well as by our cherished partners around the world. And every single animal we craft is guaranteed for life, ensuring each one will continue to be best friends, beloved heirlooms, and remain proud symbols of Vermont craftsmanship, quality, and design. I invite you to read on to learn more about our teddy bear family and our history.

Thank you for your support,

-Bill Shouldice, Biggest Bear, VTB President & CEO

“I was walking up the walkway the other day,” said Shouldice. “Ahead of me was a little girl; she had her bear underneath her arm. She was skipping down the sidewalk. I was just observing as she told her grandmother, 'This is the best day of my whole life.' And you know, that's what we're doing here and that's what makes it fun.” - Bill

Clockwise from left: Founder John Sortino with the original Church Street Bear Cart in Downtown Burlington; an arial view of our Bear factory; Bear crew hard at work
40 Years of Bear Hugs

The creation of one Teddy Bear led to a family of over 300.

The first Teddy Bear Sortino created was affectionately called Bearcho. Inspired by the great comedian Groucho Marx, this Bear sported thick black eyebrows, a fuzzy mustache and gave the best Bear hug John's son had ever known. Bearcho embodied the fun spirit the company was founded upon--one which we proudly continue to carry with us today.

Since Bearcho's introduction, we've produced over 6 million Bears and Stuffed Animals! To celebrate this momentous feat and 40 Years of providing the world with the best Bear Hugs around we are introducing our Limited Edition 40th Anniversary Bear! Handmade in Shelburne, Vermont by our elite class of sewers, this Bear is made using exquisite, custom-dyed ruby red fur, a handtied velvet bow and is embossed with our gold metallic 40th Anniversary Logo. Perfectly finished with a certificate authenticated by our Bear Designer, Cassandra Clayton. Just like our 40th Anniversary this Bear will only be here for a limited time.

Shop Our 40th Anniversary Bear >>

Meet The Family

Say hello to our favorite family members from our past 40 years.

40 Years of Quality

Our commitment to craftsmanship creates Bears that last a lifetime.

When John went to make a Bear for his son he didn't just want to make a toy, he wanted to make the newest member of his family! Through diligence that only love could inspire he worked tirelessly to perfect his first forever friend, Bearcho.

Ever since Vermont Teddy Bear has kept John's dedication to quality alive with our Lifetime Guarantee. Our talented team of craftsmen scour the world to find the most premium materials and carefully handcraft every Bear and Stuffed Animal to ensure they meet our unmatched Guaranteed for Life standard.

To keep this promise we constructed the first-ever Bear Hospital here at our factory in Shelburne, Vermont. If something ever happens to one of our cherished Bears we will repair or replace it for free, making it truly yours for life.

Learn More About Our Guaranteed for Life Promise & Bear Hospital >>

40 Years of Caring
A young girl playing with a teddy bear and Cassie, our teddy bear designer, while taking a tour of our factory

Bears created to support charities close to our hearts.

It is part of every Teddy Bear’s nature to give you hugs when needed, provide courage when you need strength and dry your tears with warm smiles. This inspired us to start the Bears That Care Program in 2002 with the launch of the Little Hero Bear. With every Little Hero Bear purchased, we donate another to a first-responder unit in the U.S. to help comfort kids in crisis situations. Since the introduction of our Little Hero Bear, we have made our mission to bring awareness and support to other organizations. Each Bears that Care benefits an organization close to our heart.

Meet Our Amazing Partners

40 Years of Smiles

Visits to our Bear Shop and Factory have created memories and smiles for decades.

A visit to the Vermont Teddy Factory can include a factory tour and a browse through our magical Bear Shop. Upon walking through the red doors, visitors are welcomed by hundreds of open teddy bears arm waiting for hugs. These waiting arms, furry as they may be, are the first clues to the fun that awaits visitors of all ages. Besides viewing a store stocked with bears waiting to jump off the shelves (we've seen it happen!), visitors are invited into the factory to see how a bear is actually born. On a tour visitors can view a bear being cut or sewn or dressed in a specially customized outfit.

Since we began giving tours of our factory, we've welcomed over 1,000,000 visitors! To help you experience the magic in person, we're offering all guests a coupon for a FREE FACTORY TOUR!

Learn More About Visiting Our Bear Shop & Factory >>

40 Years and Counting...

A huge thank you to all Vermont Teddy Bear friends and fans! You allow us to do what we love everyday!

A cute 15-inch Teddy Bearsitting in front of a computer screen

Be a Part of Our Journey

Share Your Story #LoveIsInTheBear

Connect With Us

Two cute 15-inch Teddy Bears holding a small sign that says Sign Up!

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Get exclusive access to:

- Limited Edition Bears
- Behind-The-Scenes Updates
- Sale Prices & Special Offers

Sign Up Now >>

A close up image of a princess prototype teddy bear

Our Designer would love to hear from you!

Have an idea for our next great Bear or Stuffed Animal? Let us know!

Share Your Bear Idea Here >>

Thank You!

And a huge shoutout to all the members of the Bear Crew (past & present) who've made it all possible. To the next 40 years!

A group photo of all the Vermont Teddy Bear employes gathered outside our retail store in Shelburne, Vermont