For 38 years, Debbie (Kohel) Berwig has been making the original Kohel’s all-fresh, hand-tied Frazier wreaths, continuing her late father John Kohel’s tradition of excellence in all things evergreen.
Berwig got her start early in life.
“My father had always been in the evergreen business,” Berwig said. “I worked in the woods with dad starting when I was five years old. I began making wreaths at age 16. Dad did the garland, and we had lots of fun.”
Berwig’s brother-in-law, Glen Zabel, has taken up John’s old garland machine and now works to make the garland, while Zabel’s wife, Mary, helps him with both garland and boughs. With their help, and the support of her husband Bill, Berwig runs the business, making swags and wreaths to suit any request.
“We offer all sizes and varieties,” Berwig said. “Wreaths start at 24 inches and go up from there – 30 inches, 36 inches, 48 inches, five foot and six foot sizes – we can order any size ring. The 24-inch wreaths start at $13 and prices go up from there.”
Berwig stressed that hand-tied wreaths are hard to come by, and customers appreciate the Frazier wreaths. “Our customers keep coming back because the quality and craftsmanship of hand-tied wreaths is so rare.”
Berwig’s craftsmanship has been noticed by the Wisconsin Christmas Tree Growers Wreath Competition, where she won first place among hundreds of entries 10 years ago. “I only entered the contest one year, and was fortunate to win first place,” Berwig said. “It was amazing – there were so many other competitors, and it was an honor to win.”
The Sears Tower has even recognized Berwig’s talents, as she crafted a huge wreath that decorated the tower eight years ago. “It was incredible,” Berwig said. “It had to be hauled down there on a semi-truck and trailer!”
In addition to wreaths, Berwig decorates sleds and sleighs, as well as filling pots, crafting crosses, stars, and centerpieces. Garland is sold for $1 per foot, and is available in many varieties of boughs, including Norway, Spruce, White Pine, and Balsam. Decorations can be as traditional as a red ribbon with white cones and berries, or can be crafted with all sorts of specialty decorations.
This year, Berwig moved her business-known as Debbie’s Wreaths-from a prominent location on Hwy. 45 to E7372 Neitzke Rd., slightly farther off the beaten path. Despite the move, Berwig said business is better than ever.
“I have so many customers that come back year after year,” Berwig said. “There are people that come from Illinois, Michigan, and all over Wisconsin just to get their wreath. It’s really amazing, and things are going very well; business is good!”
Berwig said the business is based on tradition and she is happy to continue her father’s passion and provide high-quality wreaths to her customers.
“This has been such a family tradition for us-Dad was in the business for over 60 years,” Berwig stated. “The tradition has carried over to the customers as well-we are seeing the children and grandchildren of people who originally ordered evergreen products from Dad. It’s really a wonderful thing. I know he’s here in spirit enjoying every wreath that is made.”
To order a wreath, call 715-823-3273 or visit Debbie’s Wreaths at E7372 Neitzke Rd., Clintonville, WI 54929.