In addition to being a co-owner of St. Nick’s, Ira Sealy is also an artist and an “out-of-the-box” entrepreneur. Back in 1994 he drew up plans to have a metal sculpture of Santa Claus constructed and contacted builders to execute his plan while he was at a Market Expo in Dallas, Texas. He reasoned that the large sculpture would attract attention to the St. Nick’s storefront on Santa Fe. Thus, “Santa Kong” was born — or manufactured — in El Paso, Texas, and each year it is placed on the rooftop of St. Nick’s to the delight of passers-by and shoppers.
Sealy notes, “I had the drawings and talked to a number of people about constructing it. The bid from El Paso outstripped everyone else’s calculations and ‘Santa Kong’ became a reality.” The piece arrived months after the drawings were turned over and came to Colorado via tractor-trailer. The metal piece was festooned with Santa clothing and lights and has become a yearly occasion for celebration for over two decades.
Weighing in at 1500 pounds and standing a towering 25 feet tall, “Santa Kong” makes it easy to spot St. Nick’s from the Santa Fe thoroughfare, and it is a favorite landmark for children and adults alike. After all, it denotes the very best spot for purchasing Christmas gifts and collectibles and it continues to act as an oversized symbol of the seasonal sensibility that has made St. Nick’s a Christmas destination since 1976.
Come feel the magic. Or, in the case of “Santa Kong,” simply come see it!