Boyds' founder, chairman emeritus, and "Head
Bean"-- the son of a German Immigrant--was born in New York City in 1949. He
attended Alfred University in upstate New York to earn his B.S. (how
appropriate) and an M.S. in Biology. Being a self-described "true Child of the
Sixties," G.M. then joined the U.S. Peace Corps and "split" for the Fiji Islands
in the South Pacific, where he did his part for World Peace.Then, for
unknown (Masochism?), he returned to New York to embark upon a
seven-year career at that Mecca of Merchandising...Bloomingdale's. At "Bloomies,"
G.M. worked in purchasing, designing, and merchandising, which exposed him to
some of the fashion industry's top Clothing Designers...and also allowed him to
take his next Bold Step. Instead of continuing his successful Bloomies career,
in 1979, G.M. moved to rural Boyds, Maryland, near Washington, D.C., to open an
antiques shop...the beginning of The Boyds Collection Ltd.®
Collection Ltd.®began as an antiques shop in the home of G.M. Lowenthal and his
partner (now wife), Justina Unger. Their love of antiques outweighed their
ability to purchase many of the rare items, so the team shifted its focus.
Instead of the "true antiques," G.M. and Tina began to seek out and sell
"Antique Reproductions," with the look and feel of true antiques at more
affordable prices. This retail venture proved to be so successful that by 1982
they began to wholesale some of these top-selling antique reproductions to other
Some of their most successful wholesale items
were Antique Reproduction Duck Decoys that ranged from a 9" stained teal to a
giant 3' Whistling Swan. The wholesale part of The Boyds Collection began to
flourish as G.M. designed, painted, antiqued, boxed, and sold the decoys and
Tina handled the customer service, billing, shipping, and accounting aspects of
their business. G.M. added a new line when he found a group of 100% Merino Wool
Bears from China. In 1984 G.M. designed a 12" fully jointed wool bear and named
it after his latest "joint venture" with Tina...their newborn son, Matthew. Also
in 1984, G.M. - tired of painting 20,000 duck decoys until 3 a.m.- turned to
resin sculpting to produce "The Gnomes Homes," extremely detailed miniature
houses based on American architecture and his own fertile imagination.
expanded from its home into an 1880s-era Sunday School building down the street.
The Lowenthals added a secretary and a warehouse man and continued to wholesale
duck decoys, wool teddy bears, Gnomes Homes, and some antique-style brassware.
In 1987, G.M. and Tina relocated the firm to the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, area,
and the company continued to grow.
In 1993, Boyds released its first series of
resin figurines, The Bearstone Collection®, and followed that up with Folkstones®,
DollstonesTM, and host of other wacky resin characters, villages, dolls,
pottery, treasure boxes, and nifty home decor.
It was always
Gary’s dream to open a flagship store—a magical place where Boyds bears, hares,
and friends could live and play! His dream came true in early 2002, when the
Folks at Boyds broke ground and began construction of Boyds Bear Country™.
The Boyds Collection Ltd.® has continued to
grow by leaps and bounds over the years, but, as G.M. says, "We're a lot bigger
than when we were a 'mom and pop' shop, but, for better or worse, we still run
it like a 'mom and pop' shop, only on steroids. We're still a little
disorganized and a little off-center, and slightly eccentric...just like our
- From Boyds Bear Country website