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This Lake Country store is all about Christmas spirit

Santa Claus rests with other Christmas decorations at the St. Nicholas Avenue store.
December 20, 2018 - 6:30 PM

LAKE COUNTRY - Walking into the St. Nicholas Avenue store in Lake Country is like plunging into Christmas card come to life.

A duo of Nutcracker soldiers greet you as you push open the door. The scents of Christmas overwhelm you as you take in the sights of towering trees, smiling snowmen and beaming Santa Clauses. The sounds of a crackling fire and soft music fill your ears as you begin to adjust to the festive environment.

Martin Metclaft, the storeowner, greets you as you peruse the store. He's typically working to create another holiday decoration for the store.

He is bringing Christmas cheer back to Lake Country once again with his annual holiday store, offering unique and personal Christmas gifts and ornaments for curious shoppers.

Metclaft opened the St. Nicholas Avenue store at 10886 Bottom Wood Rd. in Lake Country back in 1992. Metclaft, an artist in multiple disciplines, uses the space as a gallery, for wedding parties and as a multipurpose facility.

Street view of the store.
Street view of the store.

He noted the difficulty of satisfying his creative hunger while making a profit. He turned to Christmas for the answer.

"Art is an interesting thing," he said. "To be successful, I have to make things that people could relate to, Christmas decor being one of them. People are more apt to feel comfortable purchasing that kind of thing."

Metclaft has been turning his store into a Christmas paradise for over 25 years. He starts in early November, building snowmen, ornaments, wreaths and other Christmas classics. He's particularly proud of an angel he built this year.

"That angel took a while to create," he said. "I like it because it's quite outrageous."

Metclaft mixes his store with traditional Christmas items and more contemporary and popular pieces. He reads design magazines to discover the latest Christmas trends.

"If you're not reading your customers, you're not making any sales," he said.

Metclaft gets a lot of customers who simply enjoying exploring his store and breathing in the Christmas spirit. Tourists and families will visit for the prime photo opportunities.

"People come and look at it because it's different," he said.

Metclaft's store is approaching the end of its season. He'll be shutting St. Nicholas Avenue down after Saturday, Dec. 22. Once Christmas fades into the rear view mirror, Metclaft will put holiday-specific items in storage while keeping the more timeless pieces on display. He plans to turn the space into an art gallery this spring.

While it's a lot of work to bring Christmas to life this vividly every year, Metclaft enjoys it for the creative outlet it offers and for the positivity it brings to the community.

“It brings joy to people and that’s something I think is very important in our day and age," he said. "Look for little pockets of joy."

St. Nicholas Avenue is open Thursday, Dec. 20 and Friday, Dec. 21, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 22, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Another Santa Claus sighting.
Another Santa Claus sighting.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Sean Mott or call (250) 864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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