If you’re already sick of Christmas shopping, then Bronner’s isn’t probably the place for you. Named the world’s largest Christmas store, this huge complex is located in Frankenmuth, Michigan’s Little Bavaria, around 90 minutes north of Detroit. No matter if you are there during the summer or winter months: Bronner’s is open 361 days a year (except January 1st, Easter, Thanksgiving, and December 25th). The store features a wide selection of Christmas ornaments, trees, trims, lights, nativities, collectibles, holiday cards, Advent calendars, garlands – you name it.
Bronner’s also exclusively produces and sells more than 3,000 types of glass ornaments that cannot be found anywhere else. The mega Christmas store attracts more than two million shoppers a year and consumes so much electricity for its Christmas lights that the daily bill can be as high as $1,250. The store also has a European-style “Christkindlmarkt” and a cozy Christmas village heavily decked with decorations. Here is a short story of what began as a small sign painting business and has grown into a Christmas wonderland.
1. The history of Bronner’s
Bronner’s was founded back in 1945 by Wallace John Bronner (widely known as “Mr. Christmas”), a Christmas lover who grew up in a German family. His passion for business began when he was only twelve, while helping his aunt in her grocery store. Four years later, at the age of sixteen, he opened a sign painting business in the basement of his family’s house. But his true business career started after his graduation in 1945. A few years later, Wallace met some merchants looking for Christmas decorations for city lamp posts. He decided to design a custom line of panels, marking the beginning of its specialization in Christmas decorations. In 1954, Wally and his wife Irene decided to build their first building in Frankenmuth, pursuing Bronner’s dream of “decorating hearts with peace and love.”
Over the years, Bronner’s expanded several times. The couple firstly added on to the original building. Then, they purchased the old bank in 1966 that became Bronner’s Tannenbaum Shop. Later, they added the Hubinger Grocery location in 1971, which became known as Bronner’s Bavarian Corn. By the end of 1971, the couple owned three stores. In 1977, Bronner’s stores were moved in one single building located on “25 Christmas Lane,” which is the current location. The store continued to expand until 2002, when it reached the dimension of 5.5 football fields. In 2008, Wallace passed away, leaving his legacy to his family.
2. Some curiosity about Bronner’s
Do you want to know more about the world’s largest Christmas store? Here are some curiosities about this huge Christmas kingdom.
- Bronner’s salesroom boasts more than 350 decorated Christmas trees all year round.
- The store sells ornaments and decorations coming from 70 nations.
- You can find more than 150 different styles of nutcrackers there.
- Each year, Bronner’s artists personalize more than 100,000 decorations.
- Around 100,000 outdoor Christmas lights illuminate the store’s grounds every evening.
- The record number of Bronner’s guests in one day was 25,981 on November 26, 1994.
- During its peak season, Bronner’s employs more than 700 people.
- Bronner’s sells “Merry Christmas” ornaments in more than 40 languages.
- The store is so popular worldwide that each year, Bronner’s ships more than 230,000 packages all over the planet.
- Bronner’s encloses one Christian tract in every package and piece of mail that leaves the store, which sum up to 1 million tracts each year.
- In 1992, Austria granted Bronner’s the permission to build a replica of the Stille Nacht Kapelle (the Silent Night Chapel) located in the city of Oberndorf, Austria, as “a tribute to the Christmas hymn ‘Silent Night’ and in thankfulness to God.”