FRANKENMUTH, MI — In the German-accented town of Frankenmuth, MI, about a 1 1/2 hour drive north of Detroit, the local citizens don their traditional lederhosen and dirndls and greet hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. It’s a ritual that has gone on for decades as tourists and regulars get a heavy dose of holiday cheer with each visit.

While the many mechanical trades look under every nook and cranny for eager and willing workers, this community somehow manages to fill the many employment positions at some of the largest tourist attractions in Michigan. Between Bronner’s (touted as the world’s largest Christmas store and growing), The Bavarian Lodge, and adjacent Bavarian Inn, over 1,500 workers fill holiday shopping orders, clean over 350 guest rooms, and serve up famous chicken dinners.

It is a giant task to keep visitors and customers happy and comfortable. But for the most part operations run smoothly with few complaints — thanks, in part, to the mechanical systems and the people who maintain them.

Each of these three businesses goes far beyond conventional customer service to reach impeccably high standards in customer care. In this, our Christmas issue, The News<.i> looks “behind the scenes” at the systems that keep these establishments cool in the summer and warm in the winter — and how the holiday spirit transcends just about everything in Frankenmuth.

Publication date: 12/25/2000