Amazing 370-Piece Winter Village at Redbud Insurance
by Rebecka Hoyt, Editor & Photographer
Head into Alice Kring’s office at Redbud Insurance and you will be taken back to the mid – late 1800’s of an England Winter Village Wonderland that consists of 123 houses and approximately 245 accessories. Alice welcomes everyone into her office even if you’re not a customer of theirs to see her magnificent village, as well as the many Christmas decorations throughout the rest of Redbud Insurance at 110 Main Street, Buchanan, MI 49107.
As you walk into Redbud Insurance, you are welcomed by Santa’s crew and a spiral swag tree with ornaments from the Buchanan Area Chamber of Commerce back in the 1990’s that display area businesses like Carbon’s Malted Pancake and Waffle Flour, Pears Mill, Buchanan Schools buildings, and the Tin Shop Theatre. Throughout the rest of the office, you will see her Nutcracker and Mickey Mouse Christmas collection as well.
Turn into her office, and this almost 370-piece winter village will cause your eyes to widen. It was started by her husband, Joe, getting her a piece or two of Dept 56 Dickens’ Village. Each year after that, her collection grew and grew and made it into her office. Even family members started gifting her these items. To fit her whole collection in the office, Joe made her some tables specifically to fit in her office and put upon other tables that have a blanket of snow on them. The tables on top also have the snow drooping down the edges as well as a waterfall made from blue plastic saran wrap that she reuses year after year. Alice said, “I used to buy two to three rolls a year, but now I can’t find it so I reuse it and we use styrofoam to build up the village.”
To maintain her collection, she uses a can of air to dust them and puts them back in their original boxes with the styrofoam. A lot of prep work happens before the 6 – 7 hours of setup time that consists of a crew of 5-6 girls who help and she lets them decide where to put each item “which gives them good decision making and design,” stated Alice. This year she had more girls help and it was a record of 5 hours to set up.
“The girls always have such a good time doing this. The office cat, Jasper, likes to take strolls around the village. However, I close the door when I leave for the day not knowing what he would do,” said Alice happily.
Among the pieces, you will see: a steak and kidney pie shop, basket shop, oil lamp shop, chocolates, brew house, curiosity shop, coal shop, newspaper stand, the Globe Theatre (which is part of the landmark series), food stands, two Scotland Yard Stations, the London Bridge which goes up and down, a Christmas market, Buckingham Palace (which is Alice’s favorite item), 12 Days of Christmas items that are spread throughout and most of the animals are by the farm area and many more.
There are a couple of pieces of artwork by Hargroves which she believes are based in Wisconsin like Fox River, as it fits well with her collection. She puts it up the weekend before Thanksgiving, and then takes it down about the last week of January. If you would like to come and experience this, her office is open Monday – Friday from 8:30am – 5pm and closed on the 23rd and 26th of December. May this add some joy to your holiday as you go back in time before automobiles.
About Redbud Insurance: What makes us different from other agencies is our people — plain and simple. We’ve built our team with individuals who truly care about our clients well being. With Redbud Insurance Services, you’re dealing with real humans who care. We’re constantly looking for ways to improve coverage while reducing cost. When you purchase your insurance with us, it’s never just a transaction. You’re getting a life-long advisor who is there for you when you need them most. At Redbud Insurance Services, we represent multiple insurance carriers, allowing us to shop the market for the best possible coverage package at the best cost. The proof is in the pudding — we routinely find better rates than many of the “big brand” insurance companies you see on TV, and not just by a few dollars.
Contact: President Alice Kring, CIC, CISR
- Monday – Friday ~ 8:30am – 5pm