What's New 12/02

The pickings are plush in this critter country.
This story first appeared in the December 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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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