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Boyds asks why, when?

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Posted: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 9:48 pm

Two weeks after Boyds Bears announced its Cumberland Township barn would close around Jan. 4, the store remained open Wednesday, and there are no immediate plans to shut down the complex.

Employees were notified Wednesday by Illinois-based Enesco LLC, which obtained the intellectual assets to Boyds Bears in December, that while the “store is closing at some point in the future, a specific closing date has not been determined at this time.”

Intellectual rights include logos and identity, but Enesco does not own the property or five-level store itself, known for collectible bears and Longaberger baskets.

“We’re still here. But we have no idea when we’re going to close,” Store Manager Dan Baumgardner said at the sprawling Cumberland Township property Wednesday.  “As long as we have business to warrant staying open, I think we’ll be here.”

Enesco also stated that it is “committed to the Boyds brand.”

The Gettysburg store has 50 employees, but about 10 are already without work, as its kitchen has closed.

“We decided to come up here to try it out, and see if the store was still open,” Taneytown resident Gladys Wright said Wednesday afternoon. “We were surprised, but we’ll probably shop here all day until they close.”

A spokeswoman for Enesco said Wednesday that the agency had not purchased Boyds Bears, but has sold products to the store over the past 24 months. Once it closes, Cumberland Township Manager Benjamin Thomas Jr. is optimistic that the “beautiful facility can find new commercial uses to generate additional jobs and stimulate our local and regional economy.”

The 130,000 square-foot barn sits atop 123 acres of land at 75 Cunningham Road, near Emmitsburg Road south of Gettysburg.

Over the last two weeks, since company executives announced the upcoming closure, the store has been blitzed with customers, with its advertised 50 percent “blowout store.” Dozens of vehicles were in the parking lot Wednesday, and shoppers were on all levels of the large barn.

“People are always asking, why are you closing? We tell them we don’t know,” said Baumgardner, 30, of Abbottstown. “It’s not because of the economy,” added Baumgardner. “For all we know, we’re successful.”

When the store opened New Years Eve at noon, several days after its closure was announced, there were 500 customers in line at the door. At 2:30 that afternoon, store management had to lock the doors, because the shop was too crowded.

For now, it’s business as usual, until employees are instructed that they should no longer come to work. “We were told to sell the product,” said Baumgardner. The store is still open daily, seven days a week, from noon-6 p.m.

The Boyds Bears store is operated under a “complicated” ownership, explained employees. Overall, the company is governed by a board of directors.

In 2008, the company’s McSherrytown plant shut-down. The plant housed the manufacturing, product development and distribution centers. That same year, a license agreement was signed with Enesco, and the Illinois company has handled distribution ever since. In mid-December, Enesco obtained the “intellectual assets” to Boyds Bears, giving it control over logo, design and other corporate issues.

The decision to close the local branch was made by the store’s corporate office: Boyd’s Collection Ltd. An official reason has still not been released.

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