Can Teddy Bears Come Out Of The Woods?

Things fell apart fast for Vermont Teddy Bear after its big IPO--but it may be on the mend

It was every entrepreneur's dream. In 1990, John N. Sortino turned an $80,000 business selling stuffed bears from a pushcart into a $1.7 million company by pitching the toys on the radio. His promise to deliver cuddly, American-made bears by next-day air made his Vermont Teddy Bear Co. one of the fastest-growing small businesses in the country. Three years later, sales rocketed to $17 million. When Vermont Teddy Bear went public in December, 1993, Sortino reaped $15 million in paper profits.

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