St. Louis -- Retail veteran Maxine Clark announced she is stepping down as CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop, the chain she founded in 1997. Clark, 63, said she will remain as CEO until a successor is found. She will also remain on the company's board of directors.
“Creating Build-A-Bear Workshop and nurturing the company from a fledgling start-up to a global retail brand has been one of the greatest experiences of my professional life,” Clark said in a statement. “Although our business has experienced challenges over the past few years as consumers have reduced discretionary purchases, our strategic plan and key initiatives are beginning to work.”
As for her future plans, Clark said she planned to combine her entrepreneurial spirit and combine it with her passion to improve public education in the region.
“We have made great progress in education reform in the St. Louis area, but more is needed so that all children have the chance to achieve their dreams just as I have,” Clark said.
In a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, she discussed her intent to remain on the board after she retires.
“I love Build-A-Bear,” she said. “There’s no way I'm not going to be connected to Build-A-Bear.”
Prior to starting Build-A-Bear Workshop, Clark served as president of Topeka-based Payless ShoeSource. She was also a former executive of Venture Stores and the May Co.'s Famous-Barr stores.