Long before the snow fell in Calaveras County this week, the holiday season was already in full swing at Calaveras Lumber in Angels Camp.
Upon entering the store, customers are greeted by an impressive array of Christmas trees, wreaths, lights, ornaments and other holiday decorations available for purchase.
“We do it every year. We’ve been doing it for over 20 years,” General Manager Andrew McGuirk said. “It’s a lot of fun for our customers, and the staff enjoys doing it.”
It’s a big project to set up the displays every year, McGuirk said.
“It’s a very big effort. It starts with purchasing in January, and the actual intake of products starts in August,” he said. “There’s quite a few people on the team, and by the time it’s fully set up it’s the whole store helping.”
The holiday season is also a season of sales for the store, McGuirk said.
“We do a big Black Friday sale that’s currently running, and it runs through the first week of December,” he said.
However, the store’s biggest holiday sale occurs in mid-November, McGuirk said.
“We do an open house that we’ve already done this year, where we offer the biggest discounts,” he said. “Throughout the rest of the holiday season – from Thanksgiving forward – it’s a big focus on tools, power equipment, power tools, Christmas decor like Christmas lights, and then, in all honesty, it just depends on how the season’s going in terms of what we put on sale.”
McGuirk said that customers can find information on current sales on the company’s Facebook page.
“If customers want to see what we have going on, a great thing to do is go on our Facebook page,” he said. “So as changes come up, and a new product makes its way out to the shelves or the Christmas trees, we do try to post as much as we possibly can on there.”
Darrie, of Valley Springs, and Katrina, of Angels Camp, (no last names given) were eagerly browsing the decorations.
“I think they are absolutely amazing. There’s something for everyone, and I could be here for days,” Darrie said. “I am new to the area, but I know that this is the talk of the town, as far as the beautiful displays they put on, and how they really take their time in doing this.”
“And actually people come from outside the area, just for the Christmas and holiday displays at this place,” Katrina said.
“We have people from our work who come over here and visit, and they get lost in here for at least an hour. Very neat stuff,” Darrie said.
Employee Lonnie Johnson was busy restocking and organizing Christmas decorations.
“I’m one of the buyers, decorators and sellers,” she said. “We go to shows, pick our themes, then come in and make the magic.”
Workers at the store began setting up the displays over two months ago, Johnson said.
“We start as early as mid-September, because it takes us at least six weeks to get finished before our open house,” she said.
Johnson said she was amazed by how far customers come for the annual holiday displays.
“They come from all over,” she said. “It’s amazing how far people come from, and bring their friends, and make it an annual tradition.”
Johnson said that a team of employees maintains the displays throughout the holiday season.
“We have a little team, there’s four or five of us that do decorating, and a couple of us primarily are here full-time doing it,” she said. “It takes a team.”
Every year, the displays are up until New Year’s Day, Johnson said.
“As soon as Christmas is over, we’ll have an end of season sale probably, and by the first of the year they’re gone.”