After a two-decade hiatus, Wilson Erwin has brought his temporary Christmas Discount Warehouse store back to Tyler.
The Christmas Discount Warehouse is offering rolls of ribbon for 25 cents, boxes of Christmas greeting cards for $1 and wrapping paper for 99 cents. It also has gift bags and boxes, décor, tableware, ornaments, holiday centerpieces and Christmas flowers and greenery.
“If you don’t walk out of here with a sack, you didn’t really shop here today,” Peter Wilkerson, store manager of Card & Party Factory and the Christmas Discount Warehouse in Tyler, said.
Wilkerson, 40, of Lindale, said customers have been shocked at the prices when they get to the register and promise to tell their friends about the bargains. He believes most of the business is coming from word of mouth around town.
About 20 years ago, Erwin Distributing had as many as 40 temporary Christmas stores in four states, filling vacant spaces to sell pre-lit trees and other holiday merchandise. Erwin said after everyone seemed to be getting into the Christmas business and decorations and trees could be found just about anywhere, they decided to pull the temporary stores and focus on their 32 everyday Card & Party Factory and Wally’s Party Factory stores.
Halloween is his biggest season and the company has six temporary Halloween stores, he said. But since so many people are getting into selling Halloween merchandise it is not the “cash cow” it once was, Erwin said. At the same time, a lot of retailers have dropped out of the Christmas business so he thought it might be a good time to get back to that.
Erwin said they were doing a major cleanup of their warehouse and found “pound after pound of merchandise that needed to go out for Christmas.” They decided they would sell the holiday goods for half of what it would normally go for to turn the merchandise that had been sitting in storage into money.
The company opened two temporary Christmas stores this year as a test. “I’m dipping my toe in the water,” he said.
On Sept. 15, Erwin opened a temporary Christmas store in Waco, as well as a store in Tyler that sold half Christmas and half Halloween merchandise. After the Halloween holiday was over, he said they made the Tyler store into the Christmas Discount Warehouse. It is at 2752 E. Fifth St., where The Scroll Christian Discount Store formerly was located. The store will be open through Dec. 31.
“It’s been successful,” Erwin said. “Tyler has always been a real good town for us. It’s one of our best stores,” he said referring to the Card & Party Factory store here.
He said because of its success, he believes they will open another temporary Christmas store in Tyler next year. Erwin said it’s gratifying in this economy to help people save money on their Christmas decorations and merchandise.
Wilkerson said pretty much everything in the store is 50 percent off, and they plan to mark it down to 75 percent off after the holiday. He said Card & Party Factory sells wrapping paper for 99 cents and also offers new Christmas merchandise.