With temperatures often reaching the 70s during December, it can be a little difficult for Savannah residents to get into the holiday spirit, but one Savannah company is hoping to change that by offering custom holiday decorating services for homes and commercial buildings.
“We install, maintain through the season and take down and off-site store the lights and greenery for customers and that really helps with their space,” said Larry Sands, holiday specialist with TideWater Landscape Management.
“The bigger vision down the road is using Christmas and lighting to make Savannah a destination for people thinking of Christmas. I know they’ve done a lot on Broughton Street by stringing the lights and the Westin does their thing, so you can see (the market) growing.”
Last year, TideWater bought into the Christmas Decor franchise and decorated about 35 buildings and homes across the Low Country, and it’s already getting calls from new customers whose decorations will start going up the second week in November, Sands said.
The Christmas Décor company was founded in 1986 and began franchising 10 years later, and the company serves more than 40,000 homes across the country through different franchise owners like TideWater.
Jimmy DeLoach, vice president of TideWater, said the company was driven to take part in the franchise after seeing the market for holiday décor across the area from private businesses such as hotels that often have events that last for weeks.
“Commercial-wise, it makes your business stand out. I don’t think we have an average because each person is so different…,” DeLoach said.
“From when I grew up to now, everything is a lot more sparkly. Everything moves and back then you had one color and that was it, but now everything blinks and talks and the kids love it.”
Last year the company also donated decorations to the Ronald McDonald House of the Coastal Empire, providing garlands and thousands of lights in time for the annual Wine and Fries fundraiser.
“We decorated it last year. We donated and put up the decorations and we’re going to do the same thing this year,” Sands said.
Lighting options range from small to big bulbs in white or multicolored strands and all the lighting is LED, so it’s low energy use and also doesn’t need repair or replacing as often as other lights.
“We custom fit and cut the roof parts, so you don’t have extra bulbs hanging off,” Sands said.
Trained workers will walk customers through the design process and help them choose a plan that brings out the best in their home or business and address any features that are specific to the property. And along with placing lights along the roof, there’s also an option for covering shrubs and lighting around windows. The company also offers what Sands called day-time décor, including greenery, nativity sets, large ornament and present displays, and life-sized nutcrackers, soldiers and of course, Santa.
“They have about anything you could want,” he said.
The cost for residential homes ranges from $700 and up, depending on the needs of the customer, and for a typical home, decorations are installed in less than a day. Commercial costs range from about $1,500 to $10,000.
“On the residential side it’s also a safety issue because it can keep non-trained people off of ladders,” Sands said. “I hear that a lot. I get wives that call and say they don’t want their husbands on ladders putting up Christmas lighting.”
Another issue homeowners face is lack of storage, DeLoach said. TideWater is able to use their warehouse in Garden City to keep everything stored for customers.
“We hang and keep everything boxed up until Santa Claus says go and then we go,” he said.
“We had Santa Claus help us last year and he might be showing up to help this year, too.”