Christmas Point Wild Rice & Gifts is a Destination – Gail DeBoer- Pilot Independent
The holidays are a busy time at Christmas Point Wild Rice and Gifts in Walker, and it’s not just because of its seasonally-appropriate name.
The reason, according to co-owner Jennifer Tihanyi, is that Christmas Point is “a shopping destination,” that offers enticing, unique gifts, home decor, gourmet foods, toys and clothing.
“This is by far the busiest time of year for us, with the holidays around the corner!” she exclaimed just before Thanksgiving.
Christmas Point Wild Rice and Gifts has been a fixture of Walker’s retail scene since it was founded in 1979 by Larry and Susan Olin. Jennifer’s dad Larry designed and built a wild rice processing plant on Christmas Point Road just south of town, where Jennifer, sister Jody, brother Joshua and their parents lived.
“It was a beautiful place to live, completely nestled among 40 acres of beautiful woods,” Jennifer reminisced.
Over the years, Larry would purchase green wild rice, freshly harvested from area lakes, and process it. The wild rice was then packaged and sold at Christmas Point in Walker. Susan initially rented space in the 1896 Mini-Mall and sold wild rice, many handmade gifts and souvenirs there.
Soon after, Susan began creating delicious wild rice soup recipes that she later formulated into dry mixes. Today Christmas Point produces those mixes in a warehouse in Baxter and ships them all over the world.
Christmas Point’s next venture was to open a store at the new Westgate Mall in Brainerd, which had opened in 1988. A third store also opened in downtown Nisswa. During this period of expansion both Jennifer and Jody, along with Jody’s husband Scott, became involved in the business.
In 1999, Christmas Point moved from the 1896 Mini-Mall to its current location on the corner of Minnesota Avenue and Sixth Street.
That was a busy year, as a fourth Christmas Point store was built in Baxter, boasting 26,000 square feet on three levels. Shortly after, the smaller Nisswa and Westgate Mall locations were closed, leaving the Walker and Baxter stores.
The Christmas season is a vibrant and exciting time in both locations, says Jennifer.
“The Baxter store typically showcases 10-12 different themed Christmas trees each season. Due to its smaller size, the Walker store showcases two to three trees. The goal at each store is to create a cozy holiday vibe and to offer unique, special gift ideas for everyone on your shopping list!”
Today Larry and Susan Olin are retired but still remain involved in the business. Jody, Scott and Jennifer are also owners, responsible for all operations, including the Walker location.
“Our locations are a blessing,” Jennifer declares. “Walker is a beautiful community and will always be our ‘home town.’ The Brainerd Lakes area is also very special to us and has been extra supportive to us over the last 22 years.”
Christmas Point Wild Rice and Gifts, 523 Minnesota Ave. W., Walker, is open Monday through Saturday, 10-5, and Sunday, 11-4. For more information call 547-2170.
Christmas Point Wild Rice, 14803 Edgewood Drive, Baxter, is open Monday through Saturday, 10-6 and Sunday, 10-5. For more information call (218) 828-0603.
Or visit Christmas Point Wild Rice Co.’s website at www.christmaspoint.com.