When Santa Claus needed a shed he made a list of companies, checked it twice, and chose Reeds Ferry. We’re not looking to blow our own horn. Just because Santa chose our shed doesn’t mean ours is any better, it only means one of the most beloved characters in the history of the world, who has been responsible for the joy and happiness of millions of children for thousands of years, thinks we make a better shed. – That’s all it means.
Santa called a month ago to ask if we could do one of our shed-to-cabin conversions at the Garden City Center in Cranston. He has a throne in every climate controlled mall, but Garden City is one of those new open-air shopping centers. If he sat outside all day his cheeks would be more than rosy, they’d be frostbitten, so he wanted us to build a warm cabin where he could meet with his fanbase. We designed a 12×20 Victorian Cottage with “Santa Red” cedar shakes. The custom cabin was outfitted with wall paneling and baseboard heating; then Santa and Mrs. Claus added a gift shop, photo booth, and faux fireplace. According to Santa the cabin is as warm and cozy as his place up north, and if we had added a “reindeer dropping shuffleboard court” it would be just like home.
Open-air centers create a problem in Santa’s business model, but the cabin will correct it. This is good, because chic open-air centers like Garden City are all the rage. Garden City is known as a “lifestyle center”, which means it’s a retail facility or mixed-used commercial development with an outdoor concourse that combines the traditional functions of a shopping mall with leisure amenities oriented towards upscale consumers, (we stole that from Wikipedia). All we know is the Center has the type of stores Reeds expects to be associated with; in other words, if Reeds Ferry made women’s blouses instead of sheds, ours would be in the front window of the Ann Taylor at Garden City. In fact we think all the stores at Garden City are like Reeds Ferry; they strive to provide higher quality, a custom fit, and a better buying experience.
We’d like to thank Garden City’s General Manager Joe Koechel, and Marketing Director Janice Pascone for all their help on the project. We also want to thank Michael Campbell. Michael works for the Noerr Group as Santa’s Talent Agent. He manages all of Santa’s appearances, and it’s a huge job. For example, Michael has to manage Santa’s flock of look-alike surrogates that fill-in for him when he’s over-booked. Surrogates?!!! This was a shock to all of us, but if you think about it, in order to cover thousands of shopping centers at the same time it’s probably necessary. We asked Campbell how people could tell if they were dealing with the authentic Santa brand? He said, 1) Do the “Buddy the Elf Test”: If the Santa smells like beef and cheese than he’s an imposture, and 2) Ask to see his certificate of graduation from Saint Nick University!!! Believe it or not, Santa and Noerr Group manage an institution of higher learning that offers a full undergraduate degree in Santalogy, (the study, science, and mimicry of Santa Claus). The school’s motto is: “You have to be more than over-weight to matriculate” … My goodness. Take a look at the Saint Nick University video below. It’s mind-bending.
On a final note, last week Garden City invited everybody at Reeds to come down for a meet-and-greet with Santa. We had a great time! He fed us frosted cupcakes covered with maple syrup, and taught us how to make snow angels without moving our arms or legs. We were about to tell Santa that “we had been good all year”, but he said he had talked to many of our customers before calling us, and they all thought we were very good. We assumed Santa felt the same, but every time it was our turn in line we got so excited we forgot to ask for a reference. All we needed was one last turn, but we’d been through the line 47 times and some of the other kids were starting to get mad; so alas…
— We started our truck, and waved fond adieu
— He shouted “safe trip”, and up 95 we flew
— But we heard him exclaim as we drove out of sight,
–“Reeds Ferry’s the best, if you want it done right!!!”