WTIC 1080 Holiday Store History
The WTIC Holiday Store began in 1990. It was the idea of WTIC Program Director Jack Mitchell that the radio station sponsor a holiday program which would enlist the community in a unified effort while at the same time benefit people in need.
The store was put together on a whim, using a donated store front on Pratt Street. WTIC AM radio personalities broadcast live from the downtown location - seven days a week from 5:30 in the morning until 6:00 in the evening throughout the month of December. Expectations were to fill the 700 square feet of space with non-perishable food, clothing, toys, household items, and money. All donations would go directly into the hands of those in need, being distributed through Salvation Army social services programs. The community's response was greater than anyone had anticipated. The store was filled to the ceiling more than twenty-five times.
In response to pleas made by WTIC radio personalities, donors pulled up at the curb with car and truck loads of goods; area school children came throughout the day to sing Christmas carols, shout energetic cheers and stage holiday skits. Many downtown businesses let their employees out of work for several hours daily to volunteer at the store. It was truly a team effort! Needless to say, no one ever dreamed that the Holiday Store would turn into the huge success that it became. The local media deemed it "The Miracle on Pratt Street."
Each year the Holiday Store has grown, providing more and more goods for The Salvation Army to serve our neighbors in need. Corporate volunteers, families, school children, and donors look forward to the WTIC Holiday Store with great anticipation every December. The listening audience has become "the army behind the Army." The store has brought together folks from all walks of life and united them around a central cause just like Jack Mitchell envisioned it. For The Salvation Army, the store is nothing short of a miracle. Together we are making a difference!