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Local brothers turn old factory into Santa's workshop

By IVY KELLER • Dec 24, 2016 at 12:00 PM

MONROEVILLE — In the spirit of the season, some people go above and beyond. That’s exactly what the owners of the former Faulhaber building have done at 21 N. Hamilton St. in Monroeville.

The old factory building has been turned into Santa’s workshop. As soon as the night falls, the silhouettes of elves and toys can be seen in every window.

This magical and unusual sight is thanks to the owners of Old School Warehouse, an antique and salvage company that operates out of the building.

Brothers Jim, Chuck and Dan Schaffer are behind this small Christmas miracle. The three saw the building’s countless windows as an opportunity to do something unusual to celebrate the holiday.

“You get a building this big and you want to do something with it. We had this idea of putting silhouettes in the window, putting a couple of backlights in there,” said Jim, who added it was more cost-effective than stringing up dozens of lights.

“It didn’t take too long — probably two days worth of cutting, and drawing and tracing,” he said. 

Since the lights went up, word has spread. People stop each night to take photos and admire the scene.

“We had people out here last night; it’s getting busier and busier,” Jim said.

Three or four cars stopped by the building Thursday night. 

“The feedback we’ve gotten has probably been tenfold,” Jim said. “Anything you can do to bring something like that to a community makes you feel good too.”

He’s even heard that some local children believe the building is Santa’s actual workshop. The Schaffer brothers aren’t sure when they’ll take the lights down yet, although Jim said he thinks it will have to be soon after Christmas to keep the illusion alive.

With this year’s success, there are already plans to step it up next year.

“People keep telling us we should make it animated somehow,” he said. “Maybe we can make some of their arms move on little servo motors or something. We’ll see.”

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