Community Gifts: The Outdoor Toy Store Has Been Growing For Over 25 Years | City and Dress

Miller Welding Services’ larger-than-life sculptures on West College Avenue were born in the spirit of Christmas. Bob Miller and his employees came up with the idea for these sculptures about 25 years ago, with the concept that they were meant to be Christmas presents. The first sculpture they made was the rocking horse in 1995. Around Christmas, 10 minutes before closing time, Miller and his employees came up with the idea.

Bob Miller (left) and his Miller Welding Services team ponder what giant toy they will build next. (Photo by Darren Andrew Weimert)

Over the years, other sculptures have started to appear, including a jack-in-the-box, a tricycle, a helicopter, and the most recent, the Nutcracker. Miller says they are not difficult to build and take three to four days to make a sculpture. The crew normally uses leftover materials from the jobs to create them. Around Christmas, Miller puts lights on the sculptures to illuminate West College Avenue. He says he likes to bring his grandchildren to see them. People came to his shop asking him when he was going to turn on the lights so their children could see them.

Miller says the rocking horse still rocks and the jack-in-the-box appeared when they first did it. Once someone offered to buy one of the sculptures, but Miller refused. People have asked to borrow the tricycle sculpture for competitions and student films. Originally, the team wanted to make a sculpture every year; however, they often ran out of time. Miller says there might be another sculpture soon, but they don’t have any plans yet.