MANITOWOC, Wis . (WFRV) — The old National Tinsel Manufacturing Company stands tall on Manitowoc’s S. 16th Street.
Inside, “elves” are hard at work, bringing the business of Christmas back to the building one last time.
“The place is just packed full, like 50,000 square feet of just pallets of brown boxes throughout the building,” Pete Burback told Local 5.
In those pallets: Christmas trees and other holiday decorations, abandoned when the factory closed.
A local real estate agent purchased the building in an auction, with plans of eventually re-purposing it into apartments.
The only problem: all those boxes, stacked from floor to ceiling.
“We probably have two to three thousand Christmas trees,” Burback said.
Getting those trees into new homes is his job.
Burback owned kitchen stores before his retirement, but the spirit of Christmas has pulled him back into the retail business.
“Every time we turn a corner we find something new and different and fun, it’s like wow, what’s this, very exciting, very cool,” Burback said, describing the excitement of digging through boxes to find treasure.
The massive inventory matches the building’s history, Burback explained, “At one point it was the largest manufacturer of tinsel in the world.”
That history made the factory a giant in the community.
“There’s so many past employees in this community of the National Tinsel Company or Santa’s Best,” he said. “I think they’ll be excited to see where they used to work and come through and see all of the trees.”
They’ll get a chance to do just that beginning next Thursday: September 3rd.
That’s when the Christmas Factory Store will open to the public.
Burback and his team have been hard at work organizing the inventory for sale and setting up displays.
He says it’s a once in a lifetime chance to peruse the old factory’s inventory, which he’s selling at half price.
“This will never happen again, I’m sure,” Burback said, “and I’m sure there’s not a greater selection of trees anywhere in the world.”
The factory is located at 1133 South 16th Street in Manitowoc.
Starting September 3rd, the Christmas Store will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m, until inventory runs out.