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Valentine's Day is right around the corner and who wouldn't love to receive a cuddly teddy bear from someone they care most about? Main Street Bears in Navarre offers a wide selection of teddy bears whether you're looking for a cuddly gift or something to display on a shelf.
"Everyone is always in a good mood when they come in and see all the cute, smiling faces greeting them," Janet Medure, owner, fondly referred to her teddy bear collection. Shelves line the walls, filled floor to ceiling with plush, fuzzy bears.
In 1994 Medure's husband purchased the current building at an auction. After a year of remodeling, Main Street Bears and Collectables opened in July of 1996. Everything seemed to fall right into place; Medure was getting the bear shop she always wanted and her husband would be getting his much anticipated antique shop.
"Everyone thought I was crazy at first," said Medure. After quitting her job as a bank manager, Medure decided she wanted to start her own business. "My husband always wanted to sell antiques and I always wanted a store to sell my bears."
Medure's husband would always buy bears for her as gifts and collectables and soon Medure found herself going along with her husband to buy bears. "It became an adventure to go and find them together," said Medure.
Medure purchases her bears wholesale from multiple companies but said "mostly they come to me." She searches online and looks through catalogs to find different collections to sell in her store.
"I'm always looking for new and different bears," said Medure. "I'm always amazed by the new collections released by different companies."
Medure evaluates her bears down to the last detail, impressed by the new fabrics used to make the bears and has discovered many companies have developed materials that feels like real fur.
Main Street Bears carries several collector bears such as Boyds Bears, which Medure has found to be the most popular amongst her customers, the Bearington Collection and Gund Bears. Collectors will find themselves in bear heaven as they take in the wide variety and selection.
When asked what her favorite bear is, Medure finds it very hard to pick a favorite. "It's like picking a favorite child. I find something unique in all my bears," said Medure. "I have to like everything I purchase or I wouldn't want to sell it in my store."
Valentine's day is a very popular time to purchase a bear for a loved one and Main Street Bears has a selection of adorable Valentine's themed bears to offer. Medure recalls a young man coming into the store and purchasing a bear that he wanted to hide an engagement ring in. Another man came into the shop looking for a bear to surprise his wife with along with a diamond necklace he had purchased for her Valentines gift. Medure helped him to pick out a bear and placed the necklace around the bears neck and carefully wrapped it up for him. It brings a smile to Medure's face to see these men actually putting forth an effort to make the day special for their sweetheart.
The idea of giving the gift of a teddy bear is highly encouraged by Medure. "Teddy bears will last (longer than chocolate and flowers) and serve as a good memory (from the moment they receive their bear)" said Medure. A bear can be very complimentary to gifts like chocolates and flowers.
Scattered among the bears and on the upper level of the building, is a small variety of antiques. You will find antique chairs and benches as well as cabinets and shelves serving as temporary bear displays. Men fear not; if you're out strolling the town and shopping with your wife and she feels she must take you into the bear shop to look around, you can find some comfort in knowing old tools and interesting antiques can be found inside as well.
Medure explained, her husband travels to auctions and sales to collect his antiques. Sometimes they will receive phone calls inviting them to pick through a home of a loved one who recently passed away. "We are always looking for different items," said Medure.
Navarre has proven to be a great city to live in and start a business and Medure has found great support from the community. "Being a small town, we all support each other and look out for each other," said Medure. Everyone's business is different and even if they have similar concepts there is always something that makes each one unique.
Like any small business, Medure hopes for her business to continue to do well. Being located along the "back road to Amish Country," as Medure refers to it, they receive traffic from tourists traveling down State Route 21 to State Route 62. "We are always looking for new lines of collections and consider customer recommendations," said Medure.
Main Street Bears is located at 225 N. Main Street, Navarre. Store hours are Wednesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information call 330-879-9655.