Developer unwraps thousands of Christmas decorations

Published: Aug. 28, 2020 at 4:37 PM CDT
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MANITOWOC, Wis. (WBAY) - A developer in Manitowoc unwrapped more than he could have ever imagined when he bought the former National Tinsel Manufacturing Company building. But, before the building is turned into apartments, the owner is looking to spread some holiday cheer.

The National Tinsel Company built its Manitowoc manufacturing facility more than a hundred years ago and it’s had a long history in the city.

“It was the largest manufacturer of tinsel in the world,” says Pete Burback.

After name changes and mergers, and most recently being used as a warehouse for Santa’s Best, the facility sold to a developer, sight unseen, at auction about a year ago.

According to Burback, “Looking at low income or retirement housing is what the plan is for this building.”

But it’s what was found inside the century old building that had the developer and those close to him shaking when they laughed like a bowl full of jelly.

“This is a 90,000 square foot building, it’s three stories,” says Burback, adding, “and we found 50,000 square feet of trees and wreaths that were just in brown boxes upstairs.”

Big trees, little trees, white lights, colored lights, yard decorations and even some stuff for Halloween. There is easily millions of dollars of untouched Christmas inventory, and that doesn’t even include the lore of the building itself.

“Every corner you turn there’s something amazing, the history. We’re probably using the same wood carts that some guy built in 1901 to roll stuff around. It’s just really fun to be working in here,” says Burback.

But all of the inventory needs to go in order for the redevelopment to begin. So, the building owner is liquidating it all, offering everything for 50% off as part of a “going out of business” sale.

“You don’t even have to buy anything. Just come down and walk your kid around. It’s like a winter wonderland, and you haven’t seen anything yet. It’s going to be far more magnificent,” says Burback.

The sale at the Christmas Factory Store, which starts next week, will run Thursdays to Sundays from 10am-6pm until everything is gone.

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