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What's New 12/02

The pickings are plush in this critter country.

Personalized gifts have become the rage, with gift-givers buying everything from engraved, sterling silver golf tees to stars they've named after their loved ones. How about a gift you can build almost from scratch?

Steve Mandell, founder of Party City, tapped into the trend with his Pawsenclaws & Co. franchises, where customers select, stuff and dress animals from elephants to bears. A customized message, played by pressing the animal's paw, can also be installed.

At press time, the New Jersey-based Pawsenclaws & Co., which opened its first store in November 2001, had three locations. Mandell expects to have nine by year-end, with six run by franchisees.

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This article was originally published in the December 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: What's New 12/02.

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