Byers’ Choice Spreads Holiday Cheer around the Globe from PA
Located in Chalfont, Pa., Byers’ Choice handcrafts Christmas Carolers that spread cheer and warmth by connecting collectors with their favorite holiday tradition — singing holiday songs. We spoke to Dave Daikeler, sales operations manager at Byers’ Choice, about the company, its success, and the unique touch artisans bring to its products.
What makes your company unique?
Byers’ Choice truly is a great American success story. It all started in the late 1960s when Joyce Byers wanted to make decorations that were unique and captured the spirit of Christmas, so she started crafting Carolers out of bits of clay, scraps of clothing, and anything she could find around her house. Gradually, more and more people heard about these unique decorations, and Byers’ Choice eventually grew too large for Joyce’s kitchen. What started as a hobby has become an international hit, selling across the United States and in countries including Iceland, England, Germany, and Australia. Today, we operate at our facility in Bucks County, where 80 artisans help us craft our Carolers with the same love and care Joyce did all those years ago.
To ensure our artisans capture this same passion, they go through a mentorship program to learn the process and tricks of the trade. It takes a few months to get a feel for the work, but we’ve found it creates a great deal of camaraderie, adding to the family atmosphere in our facility.
Our artisans will also find that both Joyce and Bob Byers Sr., as well as their sons Jeff and Bob Jr., are engrained in the work. They want our input. They want our creativity. They want our talent, and it helps everyone fully embrace the family Christmas experience.
How do you embrace the holiday spirit?
The company, its employees, and the Byers family always strive to bring smiles and create memories for all generations with the Carolers. One of the ways we capture this nostalgia is by bringing our favorite holiday characters to life, such as Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, and Tiny Tim. Some of our Carolers return year after year, but for the most part, they change annually.
New Carolers are introduced each year. No two Carolers are exactly the same, as each artisan brings their own special touches. The one you are holding in your hand is the only one like it in the world! For those looking for an even more unique Caroler, the gift shop at our facility features exclusives only sold right here in Pennsylvania.
Our facility also has a Christmas Museum and Visitors Center, which attracts nearly 50,000 guests annually. Visitors can catch a glimpse of the artisans at work at our observation deck, window shop down a recreated London cobblestone road, and check out Carolers over the years, as well as the Crèche Room — a collection of over 200 Nativity scenes from around the world.
Over the holiday season, we transform our manufacturing facility into a theater that fits up to 700 people for performances of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” What makes our performance unique is it’s a one-man show performed by the famous author’s great-great-grandson, Gerald Charles Dickens. The Pennsylvania Tourism Office recently interviewed Byers’ Choice. To learn more about their famous carolers, visit the visitPA Facebook page to watch the video.
What makes you proud to be a Pennsylvania business?
The company still holds to its starting roots: produce a quality product at an affordable price, and serve its customers and community. We’ve found PA is a great place to stay true to this commitment.
Bucks County is a very diverse area with a strong passion for the arts. It’s helped us find workers who are inspired and have the creativity and talent to make our Carolers. The gorgeous area also attracts a great deal of visitors who visit our facility and spread joy beyond the borders of PA when the Carolers travel home with them.
The Byers family has always loved Bucks County and wants to give back to their neighbors. Bob Byers Sr. was a founding member of Bucks Beautiful, which works to preserve and enhance communities across the county. The family also created the Byers Foundation to support the nearby community and other larger national organizations. Locally, the foundation has supported the James A. Michener Arts Museum’s effort to preserve the art and cultural heritage of the Delaware Valley and helped build the Kids’ Castle in Doylestown. Bob Byers Sr. has served on the National Advisory Board for the Salvation Army, and a portion of the proceeds from the sales of the Salvation Army Band Carolers is given directly to the Salvation Army.
What makes me particularly proud is I’m not just working for a company and earning a living — I’m working for a company that is invested in its employees and its community.
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David Daikeler grew up in Montgomery County, is a graduate of North Penn High School, and earned a bachelors degree in business administration at Delaware Valley University. Through his youth, David was an integral part of the Bucks County Playhouse Technical Staff and worked with stars such as Gary Burghoff, Andrea McArdle, William Conrad, and many others. He started at Byers’ Choice in May 1992 and has grown with the company for those 25 years, eventually becoming the sales operations director.