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July 22, 2017 4 minute READ

Christmas Cheer Then and Now in Winston-Salem

tags Customer Stories
locations Knoxville | Winston-Salem

When Mast Store’s newest old location opened its doors in Winston-Salem this past May, we had the pleasure of meeting a woman with close ties to 516 North Trade Street. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, Barbara Carter’s father worked in the building that boasted one of the largest retail and wholesale companies in the South: Brown-Rogers-Dixson (B-R-D). After her visit to our Mast Store grand opening in the very same building, Mrs. Carter wrote us saying, “It brought back fond childhood memories of my father and mother, both now deceased, bringing us to visit with Santa at the store.”


Mrs. Carter remembers, “My siblings remember [B-R-D] as a store that had everything that anyone would need.  As the youngest child, I don’t remember any details of the store itself, but it always seemed like walking through the doors of a magical place because Santa was there. Santa always gave us candy canes during our visits with him. I always looked forward to that.”

WINS-santa-2.jpgMrs. Carter generously shared beautiful photos and wonderful memories of her and her sibling’s visits with Santa at B-R-D in the 1940s and 1950s. The first and oldest photo [right] shows her brother, Jimmy, wearing a dark cap and talking with Santa Claus, who appears to be holding a doll in a box.

“In that same picture,” she continues, “notice the sign that was hanging in the store. The photographer cut the “C” out of the picture, but you can tell that Brown-Rogers-Dixson had the Shop Early for Christmas Lay-a-Way message posted in the store.”

WINS-santa-1.jpgThe second photo [left] shows Jimmy visiting with Santa a few years later in around 1952 or 1953. In the last photo [top], taken in 1959, you see Barbara and her older sister, Judy, posing for their photograph on Santa’s lap.

“I remember asking Santa for a baby doll and a coloring book with crayons. My sister would always ask for a baby doll as well. My brother remembers asking Santa for a fire truck and an electric train,” Mrs. Carter reminisces.  

“Having grown up in Winston-Salem and remembering the history of how it looked when we were shopping downtown as children with our parents has been so sweet. Seeing the transformation of our city as adults is quite amazing. We are honored that Mast General Store has chosen to be a part of our city and family. I believe you said that you were entertaining the thought or idea of bringing Santa back in to the store for the Christmas season. I know that it would be a big hit.”  

WINS-santa-4.jpgWe are very excited that we’re able to restore the Carter siblings' fondest Christmas memories for a new generation! Mr. and Mrs. Claus will return to the former B-R-D building at Mast Store Winston-Salem on Friday, December, 4th, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Saturday, December 5th, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and Sunday, December 6th, from noon to 2:00 p.m. Like the Carter family, we hope you’ll make a visit with Santa a special part of your treasured holiday traditions, too.

There are many holiday happenings coming up in each of our stores in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Here are a few events you and your family may enjoy this upcoming weekend:

The Original Store in Valle Crucis
Naomi and the Homefolks play live music in the Store, noon – 2:00 p.m.

The Mast Store Annex in Valle Crucis
Santa Visits on Sunday, December 6th, noon - 4:00 p.m

Santa Visits on Friday, December 4th, 5:00 - 8:00 and Saturday (after the Christmas Parade), noon - 3:00 p.m.

The Christmas Donkey Book Signing on Sunday, December 6th, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Celebrate Olde Fashioned Christmas on Friday, December 4th, 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Holly Days - Celebrate the season in Downtown Waynesville starting this Friday, December 4th and ending with the Christmas Parade on Monday, December 7th, at 6:00 p.m.

The Twelve Days of Christmas in South Carolina Book Signing on Friday, December 4th, noon to 3:00 p.m

The Christmas Donkey Book Signing on Saturday, December 5th, 10:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Santa Cotton visits the store after the Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 5th, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Gift Wrapping in the Store this Friday and Saturday, December 4th and 5th. All donations go to Our Place.

Check your local Mast General Store calendar for book signings, more visits with Santa Claus, gift wrapping, and special holiday events throughout December by clicking HERE.


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