Crye-Leike to Serve as Major Sponsor of St. Jude Benefit

Memphis, Tenn. –  Crye-Leike, the largest real estate company in Tennessee and the Mid-South, has committed to a major sponsorship toward the construction of what will be the world’s largest gingerbread house. The gingerbread house, which will stand five and one-half stories high or 57 feet, 3 inches tall, will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

The gigantic gingerbread house is being built by Roger Pelcher who holds the current record for a 52 footer he built in Des Moines, Iowa in 1990. That one took 2,200 sheets of gingerbread and 1,650 pounds of icing.

Crye-Leike representatives were on hand at the official “ground baking” ceremonies on Tues., Sept. 4, 2001 in Memphis, Tenn. when construction began for this year’s planned record breaker.  Construction is expected to be completed by mid-November, in time to serve as Santa Claus’ official headquarters. The gingerbread house, which is located in the Center Court area of Wolfchase Galleria, a 1.1 million square foot shopping center, is projected by officials to be recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The house will display around 2,500 sheets of gingerbread, 4,000 pounds of royal icing, along with about 3,600 pounds of chocolate on the chimney – not to mention hundreds of pounds of peanut brittle, assorted Christmas candy and colored popcorn.

Donation packages of gingerbread sheet pans are for sale to benefit St. Jude. The packages range in price from $25 to $100. Those making donations will receive special commemorative items as well as tickets to special events. For more information on the sheet pans, call 901/372-9409.

Pelcher, who learned to make gingerbread houses from his father, owns Unique Ideas, Inc., based in Lakeland, Tenn, and is general manager of Chickasaw Country Club in Memphis. His Memphis project will be his third record-setting gingerbread house. He built his first house in 1983 for the Stouffer Hotel in Mobile, Alabama. It was 13 feet tall and was the original Guinness record. Construction photos can be seen on his Web site at www.worldrecordgingerbreadhouse.com.

After someone else built a 31-footer, Pelcher eclipsed that mark with the 52-footer. He says this will be his last project. “The fact that this project could help benefit St. Jude got me going again,” he said.

“The sponsorship of a gingerbread house was a perfect match for Crye-Leike, being a full service real estate company with over 50 percent in residential sales,” said Dick Leike, co-founder and co-owner of Crye-Leike. “Our company always looks for ways to support the communities in which we serve. Crye-Leike is proud to be a part of this spectacular fund-raising effort for the children at St. Jude.”

Crye-Leike (www.crye-leike.com), a full service real estate company, is the nation’s 13th largest real estate company. It has a network of over 2,200 sales associates and 56 branch and franchise offices located in 27 counties throughout a four-state Mid-South region in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and North Georgia. Crye-Leike attained sales of $2.9 billion and 20,406 closed transaction sides corporate wide in 2000.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is the world’s premier center for research and treatment of leukemia and other catastrophic childhood diseases. Their world-renowned physicians and scientists have revolutionized leukemia treatments in children since 1962. St. Jude is the only cancer center funded by the National Cancer Institute that is devoted solely to children and the only private cancer center in the United States committed to caring for and supporting children with cancer regardless of the family’s financial or health care resources.

Wolfchase Galleria, which opened in 1997, has 1.1 million square feet of shopping and offers more than 120 specialty stores, four restaurants, a movie theater and a fantasy carousel.

Along with Crye-Leike, Realtors, other major sponsors of the gingerbread house include: Linkous Construction Co. Inc.; NAFTA Food and packaging; Formus Architects; Body Smart; Bank of America; ADT Security; Champion Awards; Skipworth Photography; Otolaryngology Consultants of Memphis and the Wolfchase Galleria.