SOUTHLAKE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – While the real Saint Nicholas is busy at the North Pole he has plenty of helpers here in North Texas.
Many of them work for a local man who has built his company around a Christmas tradition.
Several Christmas characters are gathered in an office building in Southlake for training.
“Always be posing,” said Mitch Allen. “One of the great poses is to put your hands on your glasses.”
The man in charge is the only one without a beard.
Allen owns Hire Santa, a company specializing in renting Santas for public and private events. Each undergoes a background check and receives professional training.
Allen started as a Santa back in 2008, when he dressed up for a company party. He enjoyed it so much he began working parties, photo shoots and other events.
“Then I started to get more business than I could do myself,” said Allen.
That’s when he started Hire Santa, building a stable of men in red to work events across DFW.
Santa Vince got his start eight years ago, after he retired. “I was going to rent a suit, see what it was like and I loved it,” he said. “And now I have five suits!”
He’ll work six or seven days a week right up until Christmas Day. Some families hire him for their parties every year.
“Sometimes it becomes a tradition. I do one the day after Thanksgiving and this will be my fifth year doing it.”
It’s Santa Joel’s second year as the man in red and he says he’s hooked.
“With the children it’s a laugh a minute – you really just don’t know what you’re going to get from them.”
After years as a part-time stage actor and singer, being Santa comes easily to him, though he wears a different kind of suit during the week.
“My day job is with Lockheed Martin,” he said. “I’m on the engineering staff for their F-35 program.”
While these Kris Kringles are filling their calendars now, Allen says he stays busy year-round recruiting new Saint Nicks.
“Finding Santas is one of our biggest problems,” said Allen. The Santa supply can’t keep up with demand so Allen made his pitch on Shark Tank and struck a deal with Barbara Corcoran for helping growing the business.
Hire Santa is now a global service, with more than 1,000 men in red ready to work. “We’ve sent Santas to China, the Carribean, Mexico, Canada, literally all over the world,” said Allen. “It’s is very special to be part of a business that brings love and joy to the world.”