A Beary Small But Sentimental Business Burgeons During COVID

Hunting & Gathering


Bears made of grandma’s fur coat. Pillows crafted from dad’s favorite neckties. A quilt that transforms a wedding dress into a lifelong keepsake. These are just some of the heartfelt projects and beloved family momentos that are fueling the success of a small business called Reminkie Bears, run out a Longboat Key cottage by an 87-year-old local woman. The small but mighty enterprise consists of four paid sewers and one dynamic principal who manages business development, financials, quality control and public relations. Profits have ebbed and flowed over the years, but right now, owner Rita Glosser says "orders are coming in at breakneck speed." 

While quarantining at home for weeks, many people are feeling isolated from their family and friends and missing those that are gone even more acutely. “People are stuck at home cleaning their closets and finding things that belonged to a loved one such as a fur stole or coat,” Glosser says. “Although they can’t physically connect, they can with a keepsake and memory." Household, comforting items such as a teddy bear, pillow, quilt, throw or coat have been created from mothers or grandmothers' saved wardrobes. "Love emanates from every item and makes them feel so much better to have something long-lasting that they can hold and touch.”

Glosser started Reminkie Bears in 1994 after realizing that she had no idea what to do with her own mother’s mink stole, "that no one in the family wanted," she admits, "but couldn’t bear to part with it." So she decided to upcycle the pelt into an adorable stuffed animal as a gift for her daughter. Eventually, a business idea spawned, and a variety of other nostalgic heirlooms with a strong sentimental association joined the inventory from her vast buyers. Customers send Glosser their materials from all over the country. When they eventually receive the finished product back, tears of joy tend to be the reaction, she shares. Everything from fox coats to tee-shirts to a pilot’s uniform have made their way to her to return with a creatively-salvaged cherishable. 

"The emotional upheaval of the coronavirus has only made hearts grow fonder with the memory preservation promised by Reminkie Bears."

Photo courtesy of Reminkie Memory Bears

Contact at 941-383-9711, reminkie@aol.com or Reminkiebears.com

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