PAWS Magazine

Issue 39, Fall 1998

Helping Wildlife, One Beanie Baby at a Time

"I get these Beanie Babies in, and they’re supposed to be for kids," explains Bob Lumens, co-owner of Raven’s World, "but they are so valuable that [if I sold them for the going rate] I could have bought a new roof for my house."

Fortunately for PAWS Wildlife and several other wildlife organizations, Bob and his wife Lindi instead decided to take advantage of the Beanie Baby frenzy to help wild animals. Instead of just selling five of the most popular Beanie Baby bears, the Lumens put a condition on their purchase. Either the customer could donate $15 dollars to one of five wildlife organizations and therefore be allowed to purchase one of the bears at regular price, or the customer could donate $50 to a wildlife organization, and Raven’s World would give them the Beanie Baby for free.

To date, Raven’s World customers have donated well over $2,500 towards the PAWS Wildlife Center, as well as about $2,000 to other wildlife facilities such as the World Wildlife Fund.

"Our customers were overjoyed with it," says Elaine Munn, the store manager for the Crossroads Mall Raven’s World. "We had many people coming in who weren’t even planning to buy a bear, but ended up donating 50 dollars."

PAWS Wildlife Center will be able to put the money to good use rehabilitating wild animals. Some of the money will be spent on the Wildlife Center’s eight orphaned bear cubs, who go through hundreds of dollars worth of food every week.

The Lumens have two Raven’s World stores. Their Crossroads Mall store has been open for about seven years, and their Silverdale store in the Kitsap Mall has been open for about four years. The stores offer a wide variety of animal, nature, and Native American-related gifts.

"Our logo has always said that we’re the store for animal lovers," says Bob Lumens. "This [Beanie Baby promotion] was our way to increase public awareness for wildlife issues."

The Lumens have been selling Beanie Babies from the TY company for about five years. "We began selling them because they were cute and well-made," says Bob.

The Lumens did steady, if unspectacular Beanie Baby business for a few years, and then the industry exploded. The Lumens generally sell their Beanie Babies for about 7 bucks, but some Beanie Babies are being traded on the open market for as much as $4,000.

Raven’s World will continue its Beanie Baby promotion through much of the holiday season. They have a special "Beanie Baby Hotline" which provides daily updates on their Beanie Baby stock: (425) 644-6359.

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