It's Christmas year-round at this Farmington business
FARMINGTON – A train coasted past the crossing lights and the North Pole depot before winding through a Christmas village boasting its own Coca Cola sign.
Just a few feet away it’s the 1950s. Town residents on snowy streets go about their holiday errands as houses and businesses twinkle with bright decorations and warm lights in the windows.
A few paces farther and it looks like the 1920s, where faithful reproductions of real landmarks like the Chrysler Building in New York City bring back the days of Prohibition and the heyday of old-Hollywood movie theaters and cart vendors dotting city streets.
These rich dioramas of holiday cheer are found inside the Ku-Tips Nursery & Gift Shop just off 20th Street near the Allen 8 Theaters complex. The business has a year-round Christmas shop.
Flashy holiday merchandise explodes onto the seasonal aisles of big box stores well before Thanksgiving, but this small Farmington businesses owned by Willie and Debbie Kutac has its own take on holiday decorating – and has been at it for decades.
There are themed trees in the back room – lots of them – displaying ornaments representing interests like New Mexico, farming, wildlife and sports. LED and other light sets are on a few shelves, along with some vintage-looking tree toppers.
The New Mexico-themed tree prominently features peppers and other items, and that’s also where packaged strings of light-up shotgun shells can be found.
But the star of the show in the store is a series of elaborate Christmas village displays, with a smaller area set aside for detailed manger pieces of the Fontanini line by manufacturer Roman, Inc.
Ku-Tips Nursery & Gift Shop celebrates decades in business
A trip down busy 20th Street could lead one to zip past Schofield Lane, a street dotted with small businesses where the long-established nursery that fills local gardens during the growing season holds some back rooms that feature themed villages for Christmas, Halloween and even something for Harry Potter fans.
The village buildings and accessory collection at Ku-Tips Nursery & Gift Shop is extensive.
Debbie Kutac said Willie Kutac went into business 50 years ago and village displays came into the mix at Ku-Tips about 28 years ago.
Debbic Kutac is responsible for the displays and for the hand-crafted backgrounds that give the displays added depth and context.
The village buildings and accessories are made by Department 56, a firm that started very small in Minnesota and ballooned into a huge giftware, collectibles and holiday decorating company after adding a line of six lighted houses in 1976 to its floral business offerings.
There are variations for Victorian England, cityscapes of old and country scenes. Inns, train stations country stone walls and depictions of village residents are on display and for sale.
Debbie Kutac noted one village with a Bavarian flair and a definite Alpine look.
Another is filled with Dickensian scenes of mid-1800s England.
And which one is her favorite?
“The one I am in front of at the moment,” she said.
The shop has a Halloween section as well, with a strong “The Nightmare before Christmas” vibe, and a Harry Potter line Department 56 rolled out around the year 2000.
Aside from movie-themed items, like the glowing hose from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” the Department 56 crew also licensed representations of buildings built by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright and items based on the iconic work “American Gothic” by painter Grant Wood.
The business is not selling live wreaths and trees this year. Debbie Kutac noted that many former suppliers have switched over to working in the cannabis industry.
Debbie Kutac said the business used to do a lot of shipping, but the logistics became expensive and complicated, so the store relies on walk-in customers now.
The business is located at 1817 Schofield Ln. in Farmington and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 505-325-6602 for more information.