ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) - By this time of year, retail stores everywhere are displaying and selling holiday merchandise. But there's a Texas Treasure in Arlington that's made a name for itself around the globe by specializing in Christmas... year-round!
Decorator's Warehouse is unquestionably one of the largest Christmas stores in the world, but when David and Kathy Hanson started operating the company out of their living room 30 years ago, it was simply a way for David to feed his family during a sharp downturn in the Texas economy.
"I was looking for something to do," says Hanson, "and I had an opportunity to buy out a whole bunch of Christmas product from a gentleman in Dallas. We bought it and began to sell it, and it was just so much fun! I was loving it. It had been a very hard time coming through the building recession, and all of a sudden people were just joyous and happy."
And the Hanson's knew they were on to something.
"We originally did all of the seasons," says Hanson. "And then the Christmas demand kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger...and so we started seeing more of our year in Christmas, and then ultimately we just became all Christmas."
Now, they're filling almost 60-thousand square feet of space with everything you could possibly need to decorate for Christmas. And their clientele extends far beyond North Texas.
"We bring in people from all over the country. In fact, people all over the world come in to see us. We have a lady who flies in from Dubai every year, just to buy Christmas and take it back," says Hanson.
They have more than 130 different kinds of trees, and displays featuring more than 20 different Christmas themes. But it's lighting that is probably the biggest trend in Christmas decorations right now. So-called cluster lights have 16 times the number of lights per string than typical lights; they're projected to last about 20 years with normal use, and are virtually indestructible. Hanson demonstrated that for us by trying repeatedly to crush a string of cluster lights beneath his feet, but the lights remained completely intact.
"Try that with any other light," says Hanson. "You can't do it. This has become the number one item in the store. Period. Everybody loves these lights."
And because you can't be expected to sift through such a huge space without working up a thirst and an appetite, the store is now home to the Dasher Pie Company, which offers Christmas-themed treats -- and a comfortable seating area -- to shoppers year-round.
Even though Decorator's Warehouse sells Christmas year-round, this is, without question, their busiest time of year. Hanson says they'll have several thousand people coming through the store each day until mid-December.
The company has changed a lot in 30 years, but Hanson says at least one thing hasn't-- their mission statement. They just want to help you have the best Christmas--ever.
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