It was Sarah’s 10th birthday and she wanted to celebrate at Bronner’s. If you ask the Eikenberry family, it was a no-brainer.
“There are so many things we love about Bronner’s,” Scott said.
“I love Santa and trees and cookies,” said Sarah. “And I’m happy they keep Christ in Christmas.”
Scott and his wife Janel first came to Bronner’s 19 years ago on their honeymoon. And they kept coming. Sarah was just a baby when she met the late Wally Bronner, originator of the World’s Largest Christmas Store.
“Wally treated everyone like the store was open just for you,” Janel said.
One year the Eikenberry family won Bronner’s Family Fun Photo Contest. They used the prize, a $100 Bronner’s gift certificate, to buy Sarah a manger scene.
“She still has it – it’s like brand new,” Scott said.
“Both Scott and I grew up with the tradition of getting an ornament each year,” said Janel. “Now we’re doing the same thing with Sarah. She’s looking for a horse ornament this year.” She smiled. “There’s not enough room on our 8-foot tree for all our ornaments from here!”
“Bronner’s is so much more than a shopping place,” said Scott. “After we had Sarah, we discovered Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel & Waterpark next door to Bronner’s. And, of course, we always ask for a parking lot view.”
Janel laughed. “It must be the only hotel in the world where people ask for a room with a view of the parking lot! We walk or drive around (Bronner’s) parking lots at night to see the lights. Then we go back to the hotel and stay up to see who can guess closest to the moment Bronner’s lights will go off.” (Bronner’s half-mile long Christmas Lane is lit dusk to midnight year-round.)
The Silent Night Memorial Chapel is a family favorite.
“One time I was sitting on a sunny bench by the chapel when we heard a rustling noise,” Sarah said.
“We ran around the chapel and found a bird had gotten caught in the bottom of a gutter,” said Scott. “We were thankful to God we were able to free it. It reminded us His eye truly is on the sparrow.”
“The employees at Bronner’s are like extended family,” he added. “When you come enough, staff get to know you and say, ‘Welcome back!’ We also like to see Irene Bronner when we visit. She gave a book with a personal message in it to my mom when she had cancer.”
“Bronner’s was built to represent Christ and Christmas,” Scott said. “There is a peaceful, restful feeling you get when you come here.”