*One Christmas evening, a group of friends set off to enjoy a dinner of celebration at a small country inn nestled in a quiet river town. As they rounded a bend in the road, they saw the small, old-fashioned village decorated for the holidays. The lights, like fairies, glowed and sparkled amid the freshly fallen snow. All evening, the conversation was full of Christmas memories and the visions the tiny town had evoked. Amidst the jovial banter and magical memories, the idea for a lighted Christmas village was born.* -The story of Department 56
Department 56 carries several different series. The most popular are:
Department 56 was introduced in 1976 with a series of six hand-painted, lighted, ceramic buildings. The company got its name from being a part of Bachman's (florist). Bachman's used a number system for all their departments, which the charismatic snow village fell into Department 56.
Three years after the original Snow Village was originated, they retired the 6 pieces for 12 new Snow Village designs as well as the first Village accessories. In 1984, Department 56 designed The Dickens Village Series. This design captured the spirit of Christmas from Victorian England and brought back glorious childhood memories for all.
In 1988, Department 56 reached $56 million in sales therefore deciding to expand their warehouse to 150,000 square feet and in June of '91 they opened their new corporate office at One Village Place in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
Almost exactly two years after opening their new corporate office, Department 56 decided to be listed publicly on the New York Stock Exchange as *DFS*.
Department 56 had it's first major successful marketing campaign in 1995 themed *Home for the Holidays* and encouraged new collectors to start a tradition with Department 56. Watching how successful that campaign was, in '99 the company decided to open its first retail store which was opened in the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN. Realizing the need for more stores, Department 56 opened their second store in October of 2000 at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas.
A new generation of Department 56 arrived in 2004 which introduced 8 lighted buildings,
"long life cordless lighting" (battery operated), instead of using electrical cords.
This made it easier for the consumer to move their villages into places they were not
able to before.
*NEW* The Halloween Series:
Reed & Barton