The Founder of the Christmas Tree Shops Has Died

Charles Bilezikian started the retail chain with a tiny gift shop on Cape Cod in 1970.

christmas tree shop

Christmas Tree Shop photo via Wikimedia/Creative Commons

The founder of the Christmas Tree Shops has died of pancreatic cancer at 79.

According to the Associated Press, Charles Bilezikian’s discount retail chain started with a tiny gift shop in Yarmouth in 1970. He bought the first store with his wife, Doreen, and went on to open many more stores across Cape Cod and Massachusetts. The Barnstable store is easily recognizable by Cape vacationers–its windmill and sloping thatched roof greet drivers entering and exiting the Cape via Route 6.

Bilezikian’s obituary notes that he was devoted to his family and that he (unsurprisingly) loved Christmas. He’s survived by his wife of 52 years, two sons, and six grandchildren.

The Christmas Tree Shops chain was sold to Bed Bath & Beyond in 2003. Today, there are about 70 locations across 21 states—more than a dozen of those are in Massachusetts.