The Humble Beginnings of the 'World's Largest Christmas Store'

Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland is 45-acres of holiday cheer


Published:

Of the 50,000-plus item inventory and myriad of Christmas trinkets and tinsel inside Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, not many objects date back to the 1950s. The two relics that do, however, mark the origin of the Frankenmuth-based company.

While in high school in 1945, Wally Bronner started his own business as a window dresser and sign painter in his parents’ basement. Soon after, Bronner was approached by merchants from Clare, Mich., about decorating the city’s lampposts for the holiday season.

With the help of his friend and first employee, Bronner customized wooden-paneled, decorative signage for the occasion. When the devout Christian decided to pay homage to the Christmas holiday year-round and sell his decorative creations, Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland was born.

Nearly 70 years later, Bronner’s has grown to occupy a 45-acre complex that’s decked with some 100,000 lights. It’s considered the “world’s largest Christmas store” as well as a staple of Michigan tourism. Around 2 million annual visitors stop into the store, and nearly half travel from metro Detroit to witness the 365-day spectacle.


Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, 25 Christmas Lane, Frankenmuth; 989-652-9931; bronners.com

 

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

The Way It Was

Aretha Franklin, 1980

An Hour with ... Carmen Harlan

Broadcast journalist and founder of the Carmen Harlan Collection

God-Given Talent

A local choir sings its way to live television

The Sincere Storyteller

Broadway fans will soon learn, playwright Dominique Morisseau’s work is unapologetically Detroit

Do Good

The Greater Detroit Philanthropy Awards are back with eight new recipients
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Best Dressed 2018
    Pulling back the curtain on this year’s selection of the region’s most stylish denizens
  2. Keeping Up with Sheefy McFly
    The multitalented visual artist and musician is ubiquitous in the Motor City
  3. Excellence in Care: Beaumont Health
    Hour Detroit presented Beaumont Health with an Excellence in Care Award for this extraordinary...
  4. Gathering Spot
    Eastern Market restaurant finds its groove after a rocky beginning
  5. Food Recipe: Barbecue Mac & Cheese
    Vast Kitchen and Bar executive chef, Jordan Gillis, upgrades the comfort staple
  6. Sanctuary for the Senses
    Castalia in Midtown offers a cocktail experience unlike any other
  7. Excellence in Care: St. Joseph Mercy Health
    Hour Detroit presented St. Joseph Mercy Health with an Excellence in Care Award for this...
  8. Deeply Rooted
    Influenced by their ancestors, Native American artists celebrate indigenous culture through...
  9. God-Given Talent
    A local choir sings its way to live television
  10. The Sincere Storyteller
    Broadway fans will soon learn, playwright Dominique Morisseau’s work is unapologetically Detroit