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Longtime Christmas Corner pop-up might come to an end

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Kristopher Kyer talks about his memorabilia store Christmas Corner, located on the 3500 block of W. Magnolia Ave., in Burbank on Thursday Kyer has operated his Christmas pop-up store on and off for the last 16 years, but he says this may be his last year in the popular shopping district.
(Raul Roa/Burbank Leader)

Kristopher Kyer’s Christmas Corner pop-up store in Burbank is a sensory overload of all things related to the holiday.

Virtually every corner of the retail space at 3512 W. Magnolia Blvd. has some kind of trinket or ornament relating to Christmas.

While there is plenty of holiday cheer to go around, not all things are jolly with Kyer and his store.

On and off for the last 15 years, Kyer, an acting coach, has set up a Christmas-themed store in the Magnolia Park District.

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He typically finds a small retail space in the area — usually along Magnolia Boulevard or Hollywood Way — to lease for four months, opening the store to the public in September and wrapping up around Christmas.

However, Kyer said it has become increasingly more difficult to set up shop due to fewer landlords willing to enter into a short-term lease.

He added he was close to not having a store at all this year and because of that, he’s considering ending his run of pop-ups.

“I knocked on doors and asked people if I can rent half of their space — I tried to be creative,” Kyer said. “I lucked out this year, but I don’t think I’ll get that lucky again next year.”

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Mary Hamzoian, the city’s economic development manager, said Friday that Magnolia Park is economically thriving thanks in part to successful businesses like Porto’s Bakery, Morphe Brushes and Tony’s Darts Away driving up the area’s popularity.

Hamzoian noted the neighborhood’s success has resulted in some landlords who have vacant spaces looking for stable, long-term tenants instead of temporary ones such as Kyer.

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Kristopher Kyer’s Christmas Corner, on the 3500 block of W. Magnolia Ave., has a wide variety of holiday items, in Burbank on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. Kyer has had his Christmas memorabilia pop-up store on and off for the last 16 years but he says this may be his last year.
(Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)

“There’s no guarantee that next year this time another vacancy will be available,” Hamzoian said. “There might be several available next year, but it all depends on the market, what’s happening in the area and how strong the economy is.”

Despite the uncertainty of finding another location next year, Kyer’s spirit was high as he chatted with customers in his store Thursday morning.

There are shelves dedicated to hand-painted porcelain figures of Santa Claus, a table full of nutcracker figurines sporting different garbs and a silver tinsel tree.

There’s also a Christmas tree decorated with ornaments that date back as far as the 1940s, each vintage bauble sporting a price tag.

Kyer has special Christmas-themed table runners from Venice, Italy, that he imported for his store.

“I travel all over the world and find one-of-a-kind things relating to Christmas,” Kyer said. “People that come here say that they feel like they’re in a museum.”

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The store was filled with several shoppers moments after the doors opened at 11 a.m. on Thursday.

As customers combed through seasonal items, Kyer, who sported a top hat trimmed with holly, strolled around the store greeting new and longtime patrons and feeding off their excitement.

“This store lets people decompress and relax after a long day or week,” Kyer said. “If you can find any respite to escape, I think this store offers that.”
Glendale resident Amanda Hamaday was one of the customers Thursday perusing the various sections of the store.

Within about 15 minutes, she had a few ornaments in hand she intends to gift to others.

“I’ve been down Magnolia [Boulevard] so many times, and I never knew this store was here,” Hamaday said. “As soon as I saw it, I just had to come in.”

Studio City residents and neighbors Christine Lamb and Karen Ng said they were disappointed to hear that this year might be Christmas Corner’s last.

“Everybody wants to buy everything online, but you have to walk into a store like this to appreciate what you’re getting,” Lamb said.

Ng added that she and her neighbor grew up in an era when large department stores and malls would decorate their storefronts with lavish Christmas decorations, and that stores today don’t go to the extremes like they used to.

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“It’s not the same anymore,” she said.

Kyer said he might consider moving the pop-up to a different location in Burbank or another city if he feels there will be a demand, but he believes Magnolia Park is the right location for the store.

Should this year be the last of Kyer’s Christmas Corner, Kyer said he’ll plan on taking a trip to Germany next December and float down the Danube River to see all the decorations.

“I’ll be a little depressed, but I’ll cheer myself up with that trip,” he said.

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