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(NECN: Jack Thurston, Shelburne, Vt.) - Vermont Teddy Bear of Shelburne, Vt. is selling one single bear that has the distinction of being the company's most expensive in its more than 30-year history.
A normally $99, 4.5-foot tall "Big Hunka Love" bear is now priced at $30,000. He carries a more than 5-karat cognac-colored "fire rose" diamond ring set in platinum. A smaller half-moon-shaped diamond is set on each side of the large stone.
New England Cable News asked Vermont Teddy Bear's Jay Bruns if the product is just a marketing gimmick aimed at getting attention, or whether the company is really serious about selling it.
"Well, we have one of them," he chuckled. "So it's not something we're going to bank the full business on going forward."
The Burlington, Vt. store Perrywinkle's Fine Jewelry created the ring, and said it looks forward to future partnerships with Vermont Teddy Bear.
"It's a one-of-a-kind," Jevan Fox of Perrywinkle's said about the bear’s sparkling accessory. "We hope that the recipient sees this and realizes you can go big this Valentine's Day. You're the only one in the entire world who will have a beautiful cognac diamond such as this."
Nancy Kerr teaches public relations classes at Champlain College in Burlington, Vt. She told NECN it is very important, even for familiar brands, to re-introduce themselves to customers from time to time in novel ways. Kerr said that is perhaps especially true for Vermont Teddy Bear, because its sister company, PajamaGram, is currently out-selling the bears, which had always been the core of the business.
"If you're a company that hasn't had a lot of people buzzing about you or talking about you, to go out and make a splash and get your name back out into the public means a tremendous amount," Kerr said. "And it means sales, probably, across the company."
The "Big Hunka Love Diamond Bear" costs 229 times what most folks are expected to spend on Valentine's Day gifts. The National Retail Federation predicts the average consumer will drop $131 on their sweetheart this year.
For the way-above-average gift-giver who snatches up this one $30,000 bear, don't forget to set aside an extra $1.99 for a Valentine's Day card.