Why should companies such as Mattel and Vermont Teddy Bear invest in Bedford Stuyvesant? Because the Teddy Bear was born in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
It is fitting that Footlocker has a store on Fulton Street because Fulton Street is the birthplace of Woolworth and Footlocker has the rights to the Woolworth brand. Owner Frank Woolworth lived at 209 Jefferson at the time he opened his store.
Bedford-Stuyvesant also had another merchant that would change the toy business forever: Rose and Morris Mitchtom who arrived in New York in 1887. Morris Mitchtom was selling candy in their shop at 404 Tompkins Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn by day and making stuffed animals with his wife Rose at night.
The Teddy Bear came about in response to a cartoon by Clifford K. Berryman depicting Teddy Roosevelt having compassion for a bear at the end of an unsuccessful hunting trip in Mississippi in 1902.
After the creation of the bear in 1903, the sale of the bears was so brisk that Michtoms created the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company. The company changed its name to Ideal Toy Company in 1938. In 1982, the company was sold to CBS Toy Company, which in turn sold Ideal to Viewmaster International in 1987, which renamed itself to View-Master Ideal in the process.
View-Master Ideal was later bought by Tyco Toys, Inc. of Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, upon its purchase of View-Master Ideal. The Ideal line remained part of Tyco until Tyco’s merger with Mattel, Inc., in 1997. Read more about the Teddy Bear here.