The Rise and Fall of Christmas Tree Shops: A 53-Year Legacy

Christmas Tree Shops, once a beloved American chain of big-box specialty retail stores, has officially closed its doors, marking the end of a 53-year legacy. From its humble beginnings in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, the brand...

Christmas Tree Shops

Christmas Tree Shops, once a beloved American chain of big-box specialty retail stores, has officially closed its doors, marking the end of a 53-year legacy. From its humble beginnings in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, the brand grew to operate 72 stores in 20 states, primarily in the Northeast. However, the chain's journey was not without its ups and downs.

A Journey Through Time

Early Years

In 1970, Charles Bilezikian and his wife Doreen opened the first Christmas Tree Shops on Cape Cod. The original location consisted of three separate buildings, each offering unique products. As the business expanded beyond Cape Cod in the 1980s, its popularity soared, thanks to a memorable advertising campaign featuring satisfied customers and the catchy jingle, "Don't you just love a bargain?"

Bed Bath & Beyond Era

In 2003, Christmas Tree Shops was acquired by Bed Bath & Beyond, bringing new opportunities for growth beyond New England. With Bed Bath & Beyond's support, the chain ventured into new territories, including Michigan, Ohio, and New Jersey. Exciting changes followed, with the introduction of a new brand and store format called Christmas Tree Shops andThat!. Under this new identity, the chain continued to expand, reaching even greater heights.

Handil Era

In 2020, Handil Holdings, a private company, acquired Christmas Tree Shops from Bed Bath & Beyond. However, despite high hopes for the future, the brand faced challenges under the new ownership. Unique and interesting products were replaced with generic offerings, and prices increased, leaving loyal customers bewildered. To add to the confusion, the brand's logo and tagline underwent unexpected changes.

Bankruptcy and Liquidation

In May 2023, following the collapse of its parent company, Bed Bath & Beyond, Christmas Tree Shops announced its plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Despite efforts to restructure and save the business, the chain was unable to secure a buyer. Liquidation sales commenced nationwide, prompting accusations of falsely inflated prices. Finally, on August 12, 2023, the last stores closed permanently, and the bankruptcy case was converted to Chapter 7.

A Lasting Legacy

Christmas Tree Shop closing in Taylor, Michigan

Despite its unfortunate demise, Christmas Tree Shops will always be remembered for its unique offerings and affordable prices. The stores, often housed in charming buildings, captured the hearts of shoppers with their diverse array of products, including food, toys, household furnishings, and Christmas decorations.

As we bid farewell to this beloved chain, let us cherish the memories it brought to countless customers over the years. Christmas Tree Shops may be gone, but its legacy lives on in the hearts of those who experienced its magic.

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