Christmas Tree Shops to Prohibit Salvation Army Red Kettles at Stores

CCB MEDIA PHOTO Christmas Tree Shops store in Hyannis

Christmas Tree Shops store in Hyannis

HYANNIS – The parent company of the Christmas Tree Shops will no longer allow the Hyannis chapter of the Salvation Army to put their iconic red kettles in front of their stores during the holiday season.

Captain Cynthia Brown, Corps officer of the Cape chapter, said they were recently notified by parent company Bed Bath and Beyond that the kettles could no longer be placed at their stores in Hyannis and Sagamore.

Brown said the amount of money collected each year at the Christmas Tree Shops on Cape Cod represented nearly 25% of their total kettle collections.

“Hyannis, actually, is our top kettle money maker for all our efforts. When you see us out at Stop and Shop, the mall, that Hyannis Christmas Tree Shops was our top kettle last year,” said Brown.

The decision by the chain to pull the plug on the red kettles could have a serious impact on the Salvation Army’s ability to provide services this year, according to Brown.

The Christmas Tree Shops parent company issued a statement last night that said they have a non-solicitation policy that needs to be consistently upheld at all of its locations.

Salvation Army“The company as a whole receives many requests throughout the year from a number of quality organizations like The Salvation Army that would like to solicit our customers in front of our stores.  To be both fair and consistent in upholding our non-solicitation policy, we will not be having customer solicitations in front of our stores this holiday season,” according to the statement.

It went on to say that while it was important that the company be “fair and consistent with all organizations in this area, we also recognize the valuable work The Salvation Army accomplishes in Massachusetts for people in need.”

Bed Bath and Beyond said that instead of allowing the red kettles to be placed in front of the Christmas Tree Shops stores this year, they will make a donation to the Massachusetts division of The Salvation Army this holiday season.

It was unclear how much money would be donated.

Captain Brown issued a plea to the community to help the Salvation Army make up the difference for what they’ll lose by not having kettles at the Hyannis and Sagamore Christmas Tree Shops locations.

“The money I raise on Cape Cod stays on Cape Cod. It doesn’t go to administrative or anything like that. It goes directly to the need,” she said.

Brown said the money collected in the kettles during the holiday season funds needs ranging from Cape Codders requesting rental and heating assistance to food for their pantry.

“It’s really a community-based system that the Salvation Army has always had,” she said.

The Christmas Tree Shops began with one store in Yarmouth Port in the 1950’s and was later bought by Chuck and Doreen Bilezikian, who expanded the company and store offerings. The chain was purchased from the Bilezikians in 2003 by Bed Bath and Beyond.

According to their website, there are now more than 70 Christmas Tree Shops located in 21 states around the country.

By MATT PITTA, NewsDirector


  1. This year, Browning launched a new phase of his campaign, urging the Salvation Army to issue a public apology for the harm it’s done to the LGBT community, rather than trying to pretend that its anti-LGBT past (and arguably present) is just a “rumor.” Such apologies are hardly unprecedented; Browning notes that the Salvation Army “has apologized for the exact same behavior before in other countries, as well as apologizing for other bigoted and discriminatory actions against ethnic groups.” As long as the group refuses to apologize and refuses to inform the public that it’s made a big change to its doctrine and policies, “they’re just whistling in the wind and hoping that their outreach on social media helps to quiet down the outrage one confused person at a time.”

    Nevertheless, Browning lauds the “worthy” organization for being “organized around a religious philosophy that is one of the most generous and Christ-like: to help the poor and needy.” He told ThinkProgress that he would “donate to the Salvation Army immediately if they apologized.” But until they’re willing to “publicly declare that they help all Americans without discrimination,” he qualified, “they’ll never live up to the ideals of their savior.”

  2. Who is Browning?

  3. If Bed Bath & Beyond Corporate does not want any solicitors but allowed the Salvation Army in the past then I say the donation that they make should match the amount that they collected last year 🙂

  4. Hailey Elland says

    So that will end my shopping at the Christmas Tree Shoppe….very simple.

  5. That’s just doesn’t make any sense. Let your customers be happy to help the needy and BBB should match the contribution.

  6. I can do without the Christmas Tree Shop and Bed,Bath&Beyond. I’ll spend my money elsewhere.

  7. Doug
    I don’t live in Cape Cod [drove thru it once-lovely] but in Portland Oregon Salvation Army has served everyone. I mean, is it or is it not, its foundation.

    I worked for a similar serving agency and never saw or heard of discrimination to anyone. And word travels fast on the street.

  8. Geraldine Chambers says

    I worked for the Corporate office of Christmas Tree Shops for 10 years. The Bilezikian’s , founder of CTS, were the most giving people I had the pleasure to work for. They could never do enough for their employees or the Community of Cape Cod. It was a dark day for me and many others when BBB became owners of the Christmas Tree Shops. Their philosophy was not the same as our beloved Chuck and Doreen. This story does not surprise me, although, I don’t know the particulars of this story, I’m saddened to see the Christmas Tree Shops name in a bad light. The red kettle is a sign of the Holiday Season and does not take away from any profit a business may make. The best feeling of the holiday season is giving. I love the feeling of dropping money in the kettle, it is what the season is all about. Did I hear the word Scrooge???? If the shoe fits!!!

    • Agreed! Dorothy Bilezikian was a wonderful & giving woman and were very generous with local non-profits and the community….sad when small businesses go to Corporate America, which could care less about the community! Of course BB & B will make a “tax-deductible” donation…just another corporate write-off to them!

  9. I will not shop at Christmas Tree Shop or BB&B!!!! I work for a major corporation and we only support one non profit organization. We don’t cave to demands of supporting multiple non profits. The CEO of Christmas Tree Shop needs to grow a pair and do the right thing!!! Let the Salvation Army continue their fundraising campaigns.

  10. I think all the negative comments about Christmas Tree and BB&B are totally unfair. I’m an an assistant store manager for a different retail chain, and the number of requests we get to solicit in front of our store is completely out of control. You would not believe it! The only answer is to ban it completely, because how in the world can you say yes to one and no to another? It’s just a no win situation unfortunately, because inevitably you are going to anger the group that you said no to. I applaud that they are doing the right thing, by making a contribution instead in recognition of the past history of this. What else can possibly be expected of them? Put yourself in their shoes.

  11. Our Regional Manager was at our store today, we were talking about this, and she had some insight about it. Apparently a store in California (I think she said Target) got sued because a charity claimed they were being discriminated against when the store would not allow them to solicit. So now all the stores are looking at this issue carefully because of the concern about being sued. So don’t blame the stores, blame our crazy legal system! Obviously Christmas Tree would not throw out the Salvation Army without a real good reason, knowing the negative publicity that they would get!

  12. Would love to see a follow up story confirming that BBB & Christmas Tree shops is making a donation to Salvation Army that will make up for the loss of funds typically collected at each of the locations they are prohibiting Red Kettles. I am extremely disappointed in their decision to not allow the Red Kettles going forward.

  13. BBB should be ashamed of their decision!

  14. When I was a child of a Widowed Mother with 8 children to provide for at Christmas-time, the Salvation Army saved our Christmas! At the time they offered toys and my mother was able to pick presents from their tables for each of her children…I have never forgotten that.

    Much Later, after a divorce, as a single-mom working for a local social service agency struggling to make ends meet, with very low pay, they helped our family with heat one winter.

    I have always put whatever I could in every local kettle I saw and was happy to do it knowing it was going to help my neighbors…(“Therefore, by the Grace of God, Go I”….)

    Shame, Shame, Shame on Bed & Bath – or whatever Scrooge-Idiot decided this would be a good policy to enforce at Christmas-time!!!

  15. IF the Salvation Army is guilty of discriminating practices against the LGBT community, then maybe BBB is taking a stand. But by donating instead of allowing solicitation, BBB appears to just be Scroogy. IMHO. Bring back the Bilizekian family, God bless them!

  16. How sadly ironic. For a chain whose name and brand was built on Christmas, to ban an icon of Christmas giving, is not only pathetic, it should be a corporate embarrassment.

  17. Before ya’ll get too caught up in the sky is falling mentality, what is stopping you from just writing out a check to the red cross? Do you really need a red kettle? A check means it is even tax deductible!!! Win-win. No need to bellyache over nothing.

  18. oops write that check to the Salvation Army. Still a tax deduction.

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