Do you ever wish the holidays would last throughout the year, keeping us wrapped up in good cheer every day?
There is such a place, and not nearly as far as Santa’s home on the North Pole; the Kris Kringl store in Leavenworth keeps the holidays alive through the seasons.
As you browse at Kris Kringl, you may think you just saw Mrs. Santa hurry by. Most likely, though, it was owner Jessica Evans dressed in a short wool jacket and a long skirt just hovering above the floor’s surface. Her days are busy with greeting customers and checking on displays around the two-story store. But then again, who knows … there is a feeling of magic all around.
This year is special to the owners — Kris Kringl celebrates its 35th year in business in Leavenworth.
“We are the Pacific Northwest’s premier Christmas shop,” Jessica pointed out.
It all started in 1986 with Carl Evans purchasing the already existing Christmas-themed store. He later moved the business to its current location, 907 Front St., and expanded its size.
“I have always loved Christmas,” Carl said. “And, I was born on Dec. 20th.”
He has operated the business together with his daughter, Jessica, the eldest of the four Evans girls. This year, she is taking over as owner, and Carl will step back but still “remain in the picture”.
“Visiting our store seems to bring people joy,” Jessica commented. “It offers some COVID relief”.
While Kris Kringl, like many other stores in Leavenworth, is tourist-based, they do have returning customers.
“We love customer feed-back,” Jessica said. “There are so many positive stories.”
To find out about their customers’ tastes, the store asked visitors what their favorite Christmas movie was. “A Christmas Story” was the clear winner; as a result, Kris Kringl now has a special “A Christmas Story” display with the unusual leg lamp as its centerpiece
Both Evanses have had their share of surprises from customer feedback. People from all over the world remember the store with fondness.
“I lived in London for a few years,” Jessica said. “In chatting with my neighbors, I came to find out they were excited about ‘the Kris Kringl store in Leavenworth.’ It’s a small world!”
Carl has similar memories.
“One time, I was on a cruise in Turkey,” he explained. “We went on shore for a bit and I happened to meet some other English-speaking tourists. They turned out to be Canadian customers of ours!”
Kris Kringl is all about Christmas, first and foremost, but other holidays also get their due. Maybe Halloween is your favorite time, or Easter? There are plenty of ornaments and gifts in the store to celebrate several holidays.
Purchases are personalized free of charge, with local artist Candice Ann adding a name, date or special occasion. She also makes Leavenworth-themed ornaments.
“We’re about family and joy,” Carl said. “But we also like to carry themes relating to the larger world — bees, for example.”
The Evans family doesn’t just talk about good cheer and sharing, they actually do it. Kris Kringl likes to benefit local organizations and is also a firm supporter of Seattle’s Ronald McDonald House.
Those lacking in holiday cheer — or cheer, overall —could make their way to the Kris Kringl store and find some. It’s there, as soon as you step in, free of charge, just lingering in the air. Like magic.
On the Web: kriskringl.com