CULLMAN – As children, we have all been excited and fascinated by Santa, elves, holiday decor and beautiful lights. Many years ago, department stores in larger towns delighted their customers with beautiful window displays and customers were eager to view these displays as a sign of the beginning of the holiday retail shopping seasons.
Bennett Home Supply in Cullman has prepared their store with excellent Christmas window displays and decorations. Store owner Carol Bennett said, “Our most favorite window in our store is our nativity scene.” She emphasized that this display rarely changes and ultimately represents the true meaning of Christmas. “We found our nativity set in the early 1990s and have displayed it yearly.” Their other windows are decorated for the children with animated manikins, animals, toys and Santa. These are themed a bit different each year. Carol said that to a small child, the Christmas windows with the moving figures can be magical and exciting. “We are constantly searching for new ideas and displays.”
Carol described the history of some of the decorations they have. “Over the past few years we have personally collected many antique manikins and figures for our holiday displays. One set from the 40s we purchased in Kentucky and were told at that time that they were originally purchased by an auction from Macy’s of New York.” Many of the other displays and backdrops have been made by their son, Shawn, his friends, and their employees. To completely decorate the store interior and windows, Shawn starts early in October and into the holidays. Carol said that many hours are spent in hopes that the end result of the displays is as pleasing to their customers as they are to them.
In addition to seeing the decorations at Bennett’s, Carol said that they have many Christmas items for sale. All the ornaments and floral on the trees including the garlands are for sale. For the holidays, they stock unusual ornaments, [originals by Christopher Radko], ribbon, and specialty holiday decor for the trees and homes. Carol said, “We carry a large selection of holiday floral, garlands, wreaths, greenery and trees.” In addition, Shawn offers in-home design, tree installation and home decor for customers.
For your Christmas gift needs, Bennett’s is sure to have an item for everyone. Carol said, “We offer many items in Bennett’s for your Christmas shopping experience. We have been known for some time as ‘The Kitchen Store’ in Cullman. Our store features over 100 jars of specialty coffees [over 40 just in decaf], gourmet kitchen gadgets, bake ware, cookware and small appliances.”
Their jewelry department is stocked with a large selection of jewelry, scarves, wraps and bags while a specialty for the family tradition is their Lionel Train Department. If you love wooden toys, they stock both Melissa and Doug toys and trains for the children, along with Thomas the Train Sets and accessories. Carol said, “In our gift department, we offer accessories, seasonal floral, glassware, antiques, with some furniture and collectibles.”
The holidays mean a lot to the Bennett family, and they enjoy pleasing their customers. Carol said, “The holidays are very special for us.” She said that over the years, they have had customers from towns nearby, who have now become wonderful friends of the store and employees. “We are delighted that they return and continue to shop with us throughout the year. As the original store began in 1936, we are told many stories by customers, who as children, shopped with their families in the original store. We have experienced many smiles and heard many stories of bicycles, wagons and toys given for Christmas and special birthdays that were purchased in the 40s and 50s. During that era, the 40s through the 70s, the store was known at Christmas as “The House of Santa Claus”.
Carol said, “We feel very blessed to know so many wonderful memories were created behind these doors with Guy and Viola Bennett over the 52 years they were involved. As second and third generation, in the business since 1988, we hope to continue the tradition of family memories continuing to be made within these walls, watching children grow and again returning and creating more memories for their families. The smiles and laughter of our customers are our blessings for the Christmas season.”
Stop by Bennett’s to see what they have to offer. They are sure to amaze you with their tastes in decoration and multiple Christmas gift options. Bennett Home Supply is located at 410 2nd Ave SW, Cullman, AL 35055. You can reach them by phone at 256-734-2961.
All Photos Contributed By Carol Bennett