Frankenmuth is home to the largest Christmas store in the world. And it is none other than Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland.
It is located 7 minutes from the parking lot in a building of such size that you can't even guess. Next to it, both outside on the street and in the parking lot, it is full of Christmas decorations.
When we got here, it started raining again and pouring.
Csibi dropped me off in front of a covered entrance (the building has several entrances), then tried to park nearby.
Then it rained for hours after that, but who cares? 😄
We entered one of the best stores in the world! 11 hectares (109,265 m²) area full of Christmas stuff! A Christmas lover's dream: with more than 50,000 decorations and gifts.
The store is open 361 days a year. There is nothing here that is not available!
We have never seen anything like it!
There are decorations, holiday lights, and everything else that can be associated with Christmas for every occasion, season, and style.
You can buy anything that is displayed in the store. One can choose from a fantastic amount of decorations.
For some time now, we have been buying ornaments wherever there is a Christmas store. I've read in several places that someone put together decorations for the Christmas tree this way. It's an excellent idea, it makes the tree unique, and everything has a memory and a place associated with it.
But we just couldn't decide here! Fortunately, you can order online, so we will try to choose something. In the store, I felt just like Kevin in the toy store in Kevin, "Home Alone 2". If I had to save the store, I could have done anything! 😄
I will try to briefly summarize the history of the store!
The mastermind is Wally Bronner. It started very modestly in 1945 and, after many expansions, grew so fast that it suddenly became the largest Christmas store in the world.
In 1939, at the age of 12, Wally was already working in a grocery store, where he developed his customer service skills. And in 1945, after graduating from high school, he officially began his career as an entrepreneur.
Over the next few years, he designed window displays for local merchants, among other things. In 1951, he took on the challenge of designing and manufacturing Christmas decorations for community lanterns. The rest of the story sounds like a Christmas “legend"!
That same year, Wally married his love, Irene. When he and Irene built their first building in 1954, they were definitely in the Christmas spirit - half of their sign was dedicated to Christmas decorations! After outgrowing three facilities in a row, the business moved to its current location in 1977, where Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland stands.
More than 500 different nativity scenes and 50,000 ornaments and gifts are displayed. Outside stands the picturesque Silent Night Memorial Chapel, a faithful replica of the Austrian chapel built on the church site where "Silent Night" was first sung in 1818.
Wally Bronner's business became his passion. He celebrated his 80th birthday by working a 10-hour day and welcoming guests.
Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland was the outer focus of Wally's life, but Christ is the inner focus. That's why he always spelled the store's name that way!
Wally Bronner died in 2008, and Wally Bronner celebrated Christmas all year long. Still, his greatest joy was knowing Christ all year and helping others know Him.
Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland motto:
Enjoy CHRISTmas, It's HIS Birthday! Enjoy Life, It's HIS Way!!
This store is beyond imagination!
We discussed beforehand that we would stay until 5 pm latest, as it would take around 3 hours to get back to the hotel. Well, we left around 7:30 pm, and we definitely didn't see everything and could have walked around for hours!
We loved it! Christmas music playing, and everywhere you go, it's Christmas! Wonderful!
There weren't many cars in the parking lot when we came out, but at least the rain had stopped.
There was still lightning and thunder, but it was no longer dangerous.
We drove around the parking lot again, which is also full of all kinds of Christmas decorations, and then headed back to Traverse City.
We arrived back at around 10 pm.
It rained a few more times on the way, but they are already saying good weather for the next few days! It will be important because, as you can see, we already had many incredible programs and were enriched with great experiences. But the next day will probably be the highlight of the trip! Why we actually traveled here and what I can't get out of my head since I first saw a picture of it!
Stay with us!