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Local hardware store collects letters to Santa

CARLSBAD — Crown Ace Hardware stores are helping boys and girls get their letters to Santa, and receive a return reply.

Each store has a North Pole express mailbox decorated by staff inside its entrance.

The Carlsbad store has a cheery white mailbox mounted on the front counter, and provides paper and pen for letter writing on the spot.

A peek inside the mailbox found it was full of letters on Sunday.

“The mailbox is one of the first things our customers see when they come into the store and the kids absolutely love it,” Skip Snead, Crown Ace Hardware marketing and advertising coordinator, said. “Most of the time the kids take the time to write a genuine letter to Santa.”

The company’s letters to Santa program began in 2011 as a feel-good marketing campaign that was designed to give back to the community.

Snead said it is truly about the holiday spirit, and is not titled with the company name or marked with its logo.

“It was the idea of our former marketing director Julie Devin, and we plan on continuing the tradition for years to come,” Snead said. “Offering this chance for children to send a letter to the North Pole and receive a reply from the North Pole is one of our favorite things we do each year.”

Letters are collected at 16 Crown Ace Hardware stores in Southern California, including local locations in Carlsbad and Encinitas.

After letters are gathered at store sites, they are forwarded to the company corporate office. Their marketing and human resources teams work as Santa helpers and personally respond to each child.

The company goes one step further and provides a genuine North Pole postmark for early letters, and a North Pole stamp for those received after Dec.1.

“Letters received in our office by Dec. 1 are literally sent to the post office at the North Pole, and mailed back to the children post office marked from the real North Pole,” Snead said. “As far as we’re concerned, we want the kids to believe the letters are sent straight to Santa.”

Last year 800 letters to Santa were collected company-wide.

Snead said this year 500 letters have already been received, and expectations are the final total will top last year.

Letters are collected through Christmas Eve.

According to the Crown Ace Hardware website letters dropped off with a self-addressed envelope by Dec. 15 will receive a reply from Santa.

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