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Where Every Day Is Christmas

This is the VOA Special English Economics Report, from There is a place where Christmas lives all year long. It is called Bronners CHRISTmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, Michigan. The family-owned business calls itself the worlds largest Christmas store. The late Wally Bronner started the business in nineteen forty-five. Wayne Bronner, Wallys son, is president and chief executive of what is now a multi-million dollar corporation. He learned the business from an early age. Some of his best memories are traveling to other countries with his father to find new products for the store. Bronners sells more than fifty thousand holiday products from seventy nations. Half of the products cost less than ten dollars. Wayne Bronner says demand for small objects to hang on Christmas trees has expanded over the years. People put more time, effort and money into decorating their homes with these ornaments, lights and religious scenes. Bronners is famous for its nativity scenes which show the birth of Jesus Christ. Michigan has the nations highest unemployment rate. Bronners has been affected by the recession, too. But not in reduced sales. Wayne Bronner says: "Even though people are spending less, were having more people visit here. And as a result weve actually had a sales increase. Bronners success is also linked to community cooperation and investment. Frankenmuth is a town of five thousand people in eastern Michigans farm country. The town was settled by Bavarians in the eighteen hundreds. It has kept its traditions alive in buildings and restaurants. Bavarian cultural themes and Bronners huge store bring three million visitors a year. The town is the most popular place for tourists in the state. Bronners business is aimed at a single day of the year. But that is not too different from other businesses. Wayne Bronner says: About half of our business is done in the last quarter of the year, in the last three months. And actually when you contrast that with most retailers, that follows the same pattern. Wayne Bronner says the familys long-term planning and willingness to reinvest profits has grown the company into what it is today. Still, it does not hurt to build a business on a holiday celebrated worldwide. Currently, about two percent of sales are overseas. But Wayne Bronner sees room for growth, especially through the Internet. And that's the VOA Special English Economics Report. (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 25Dec2009)
Length: 04:01


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