Bronner's Christmas WonderlandEdit profile
Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland is a retail store in Frankenmuth, Michigan that is the "World's Largest Christmas Store." Designed with an Alpine architecture (see chalet) and operating year-round, the building is 7.35 acres (29,700 m²) in size with landscaped grounds covering 27 acres (109,000 m²). Outside the entrance are three 17-foot (5 m) tall outdoor Santas and a 15-foot (5 m) tall snowman. Inside, there are approximately 800 animated figurines at various locations throughout the store. Bronner's parking lot can accommodate up to 1,080 cars and 50 buses. Some 100,000 lights illuminate Bronner's half-mile (800 m) long Christmas Lane in the evening. Michigan designated Bronner's as an "Embassy for Michigan Tourism" in 1976. Bronner's employs over 500 people during the holiday season (between October and Christmas).
Founded in 1945 by Wally Bronner, Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland is visited annually by over two million people, with the weekend after Thanksgiving being the busiest of the year with over 50,000 visitors. Its inventory exceeds 50,000 trims and gifts, including Christmas ornaments, artificial Christmas trees, Christmas lights, Nativity scenes, Christmas decorations, collectibles, and similar goods. Each year, approximately 600,000 glass ornaments, 530,000 feet (161,000 m) of garland, 150,000 postcards and 86,000 light sets (nearly 530 miles (850 km) of light cords) are sold. Bronner's has the exclusive right to sell Precious Moments Christmas-themed figurines. With the government of Austria's permission and in keeping with the German theme of Frankenmuth itself, Bronner's built a replica of the Oberndorf, Austria, Silent Night Memorial Chapel in 1992 as a tribute to the Christmas hymn "Silent Night".
Wally Bronner died April 1, 2008 at age 81.
Bronner's was vandalized on Christmas Day in 2010, with some 75 store displays damaged or destroyed. Five men pleaded guilty to the crime, which involved an estimated $40,000 in damage.Trivia
- Bronner's electrical bill averages US$900 per day.
- If all the light sets sold in one year at Bronner's were stretched out in a continuous line, they would span approximately 530 miles (850 km).
- In 1976, movie star John Wayne ordered a Santa suit from Bronner's and wore the garment on that year's Christmas Eve broadcast of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
- Billboards advertising Bronner's are spread out as far south as Lake City, Florida on I-75, and as far west as Missouri.
- Wally Bronner, a devout Lutheran, always insisted on capitalizing the CHRIST in "CHRISTmas Wonderland."