Photos by Hillary Ehlen
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Downtown Fargo, not least because of the windows in all of the local shops and boutiques. This year, Zandbroz is making spirits bright with their unique display. We sat down with the owners of Zandbroz to find out what inspires them to go above and beyond during the holiday season.
The Five Seasons
The window displays in Zandbroz are seasonal. You might think that would mean four different displays each year, but in reality, Zandbroz usually tries to flip their displays in February, April, June, August and November. Some larger retailers will even go so far as to flip their displays every two months. However, for small businesses and big box stores alike, expectations run the highest during November and December when customers are shopping for gifts.
What better way to draw people into your store than with whimsical window displays? For Zandbroz, their purpose is not only to draw patrons in, but to brighten their spirits while doing so by giving their eyes something to linger on.
Recycling With A Purpose
For more than 26 years, co-owner Renee Danz has been designing window displays for Zandbroz Variety in Downtown Fargo. As a self-described visual thinker, Renee likes to use unexpected objects in her designs. “You can get away with repeating something maybe twice, but it’s not the same. What I do is recycle things,” she shared.
Ensuring that the materials in their displays can be repurposed is of the utmost importance to Zandbroz. After taking their windows down, hardly anything goes to waste. Instead, props are put in storage until they can be given new life in yet another display. As a result, Renee has built up quite the inventory over the years. However, you probably wouldn’t be able to recognize them the second, third or even fourth time around due to the fact that they are utilized differently in each subsequent iteration.
Making Spirits Bright
Although she is a visual thinker, Renee usually has a saying or a theme that corresponds with her designs. For example, the theme of last year’s holiday window display was “Eat, Drink & Be Merry,” so she created sculptures out of paper plates and water bottles to correspond with the theme. This year, however, she wanted the holiday window display to feel a bit more modern and abstract.
“I wanted to make a completely different kind of statement this year,” Renee said. To do so, she used tomato cages, tracing paper and netting to create the base for her design. She also draped lights throughout to literally illustrate the theme, “Making Spirits Bright.”
While Renee Danz is responsible for designing the window displays at Zandbroz, Josie and Shelley Danz help out with the in-store displays. “When Renee has an idea, I feel like you just have to go with it,” Josie said. “You’ve got to trust her because it always turns out,” Shelley added. Greg Danz, co-owner of Zandbroz, said that his favorite thing about the holiday window displays is seeing everything come together.
Let Your Heart Be Light
Winter can feel especially dark for some. This is why we must appreciate those magical places where both the people and the atmosphere are warm and full of light. So, next time you’re out running hectic errands, we encourage you to stop and take in the sights, including the window wonderland at Zandbroz Variety. The same goes for the displays in all local shops and boutiques. We promise that your heart will feel lighter for it.