Story By Chris Miller
This roadside attraction deﬁes all the odds.
As well-situated as it seems in November and December, it is bafﬂing how it stays around in
July and August.
"I bet people drive by and they wonder ‘how could that stupid Christmas store survive?"'
said Patrick Dibala, owner of Christmas Treasures along the McKenzie Highway in Blue
The notion that Christmas stores are a seasonal venture has been tossed aside by the
entrepreneurial skills of Dibala and his stepson Steven Wood.
The key is cyber space.
"We went online in 1997," Wood said. "I run the Web site and it's doing so well that I
dropped out of college."
Mostly all the sales come from the Internet, Dibala said, but the family operated business is
doing what it can to change that. Getting passers-by out of the cars and into his store is a
In 1994, the second year of the operation, Dibala lit up a 150-foot Douglas ﬁr tree on the
property with 4,000 traditional Christmas lights. In order to run all of the lights, Dibala had
to put in a 600—amp service and bury power lines.
To revive that effort — and attract local shoppers — the family is celebrating its 10th
business anniversary by ﬁring up the old ﬁr tree again, but this time with more than 50,000
The store has been decorated with another 50,000 bulbs.
"I have spent more than $10,000 bringing in lights," Dibala said. "I could be driving around
in a Hummer or and Escalade instead of the lights.‘
While making a splash on the McKenzie Highway has been a struggle, the information
highway has been a boom.
"I never imagined us shipping to Japan," Wood said. "Without the Internet, none of this
would be possible.
The Net trafﬁc is so heavy in November and December, it carries Christmas Treasures
throughout the year.
"We get an average of 100 orders a day between now and Christmas," Wood said. "In
December, we probably average 200 a day.‘
That has grown from a meager one-page Web design in 1997, to a 700-page site today,
according to Wood. When broadband Internet connections found its way into the county,
Christmas Treasures Web site skyrocketed - in size and orders.
Among the 6,000 products featured, the most popular item is the Big Sky Carvers line —
wooden replicas of little bears, produced in Montana.
"You have to be diverse,‘ Dibala said of his massive inventory — 90 percent of which is
stored in a two-story warehouse on the property. "And, we are the No. 1 dealer on the West
Coast for the Carvers (line)."
Dibala brought his family from Naples, Fla., to Blue River in 1993, and opened the small
mom and pop store dedicated to collectibles and gifts. Ten years later, the hometown shop
feel still exists, but the store has doubled in size.
Christmas Treasures is strictly a family operation. Dibala's wife Nancy Wood, her three sons
Steven, Brian and Mark Wood, plus Patrick's son Jimmy form the work force.