It has been four years since Akron’s talking snowman returned to the mall it called home for about 35 years.
Today, the signs are still there that Archie the Snowman remains a holiday icon.
The 20-foot-tall talking snowman was a part of the holiday season for about 35 years at Chapel Hill Mall. Children would tell Archie what they hoped Santa would bring them for Christmas. Some noted that Archie would know their names before stepping onto the stage to greet him. In the end, each child would be grab a piece of candy before saying goodbye.
Year after year the tradition continued until Archie retired from the mall around 2013.
A 2011 social media campaign launched by a couple of friends, Tommy Uplinger and David Burkett, was created after the pair wanted to share the memory of Archie with their own children.
It wasn't long before the idea of bringing the snowman back to life was made a reality after thousands expressed interest in his return, including the city of Akron.
It wasn’t the original Archie, but a new 15-foot-tall version was built to continue an Akron tradition that began in the late 1960s.
The snowman made it's official return to Akron at Lock 3 park in 2012. It continued for one more year before Chapel Hill Mall announced it would be returning back to its original home in 2014.
"It makes me feel great to know that he's back to where our memories took place," Uplinger said. "That's where he belongs and I hope he's there for another 40, 50, 100 years."
It’s been a challenging year for the mall with the loss of Macy's and Sears. But representatives at the mall said the return of the snowman has helped to reach out to customers.
"Like a flower, it will blossom up," said George Herring, assistance operations director at Chapel Hill Mall. "Hoping that we get more people to see Archie and the stores."
Herring said he once spent time as the voice of Archie and remembered a tearful moment shared with a child when they asked if their mom could overcome her cancer diagnosis.
"That was really touching to me," Herring said.
Joanna Wilson spent a few years researching Archie's legacy beginning before the snowman's return, capturing his lasting impact on Akron in her book “The Story of Archie the Talking Snowman.”
"Without our traditions, who do we become?" Wilson said. "What are we? We've seen so many changes here in Akron, it's nice to keep the important ones alive."
On Friday, Ritchies Sporting Goods in Tallmadge unveiled Archie the Snowman shirts which were inspired by the original design created during the launch of Uplinger and Burkett's social media campaign.