Breaking News Polk County
By: Deb Hoffmann
WINTER HAVEN, Fl. & WAUKESHA, WI. - April 13, 2021 - PRLog -- Deb Hoffmann, the Guinness World record holder for the largest collection of Winnie the Pooh memorabilia, has reached her 20,000-item goal.
Hoffmann reached 20,000 non-duplicated Winnie the Pooh items on Dec. 20, 2020. On 3/26/21 she received amazing news that Guinness World Records approved the amount and updated her world record. She has held the record title since 2008.
Hoffmann, 56, has enjoyed a personal brand as the "Pooh Lady" for over three decades. The role has gotten media interviews from around the globe, and never-ending inquiries from people seeking or donating memorabilia linked to Pooh and his gang from the classic A. A. Milne stories.
While her collection's numbers merit the world record, her hobby's true enjoyment goes beyond the collectibles themselves, Hoffmann explained. Most fulfilling are the people she and her husband, Gary, meet, and the events associated with them.
"Not a day goes by that something Pooh-related doesn't occur," Deb Hoffmann said. "Sometimes it's an e-mail from a Polk County parent asking for help replacing their kid’s lost Pooh stuffie. Other times it's someone with Pooh figurines who wants to find them a new home where they'll be valued, rather than sold at a thrift store for a fraction of their emotional value."
"Many Polk County Pooh fans needing to rehome their collection reach out to me asking if I'd be willing to take the items," she said. "I 'take care' of their memories as much as the collection itself."
Seeking something upbeat in a crazy 2020, Hoffmann set a December 20 goal to achieve 20K non-duplicated Pooh items. The celebratory item was a vintage 1980s Pooh costume used at Sears and the Disney Parks.
"I searched for 9 years," Hoffmann said "including in Polk County". "Finally, a collector reached out and offered the walkaround Park costume to me. He is in wonderful condition and came in the original shipping crate." The costume stands in her office, next to a vintage 1960s costume.
The collection grew to a point where Gary Hoffmann created a phone app to aid Deb in her shopping. She enters a few descript words and sees photos from her collection database thus preventing purchasing duplicates.
"Prior to 12,000, I most times knew if I had an item," Deb Hoffmann said. "Now I need confirmation from the app. After all, the collection does span multiple houses."
All-things-Pooh is a way of life for the Hoffmanns. A few years ago, they traveled to England to tour the house of "Winnie the Pooh" author Milne, participate in a Poohsticks competition and visit the offices of Guinness World Records. In 2019, they were featured on the TV show Collector's Call, hosted by actress Lisa Whelchel ("Facts of Life").
"While working on 'Collectors Call,' I met the show's other collectors and compared collecting styles" Deb said. "Now, if we find an item the other collects, we text them a heads-up. Fantastic camaraderie!"
The Hoffmanns annually emcee Winnie's Hometown Festival in White River, Ontario, home of the bear that inspired the stories. Deb Hoffmann donates her duplicates to the White River Heritage Museum for the town to display or sell to help support the museum.
Hoffmann's next goal for her collection is significant … but she is well on her way to hitting it.
"We might need another pleace," she teases of the future. To quote Winnie the Pooh, "Oh, bother."
If you are from Polk County and want more information about Hoffmann, and her world record Pooh collection, is available at www.mostpooh.com and www.YouTube.com/MostPooh5150.