Shop reopening returns Christmas magic to Manteo

Posted May 11, 2008
Updated May 12, 2008

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— It is Christmas in May on Roanoke Island again since a popular, landmark store reopened its doors on Saturday.

The Island Gallery and Christmas Shop closed in 2005 after creating fond memories for many Outer Banks visitors for nearly four decades. The owners said the shop would be closed permanently.

However, co-owner Edward Greene now says he has learned that forever is not as long as you might think.

"It was driving us crazy to hear people say how much they missed us," Greene said, "so we're going to try to recreate our special shop."

Greene teamed with his friend and co-owner, Richard Laceree, and on Saturday, the iconic Christmas Shop reopened its doors.

"We still have a lot to do to get it all back together again," Greene said.

The shop's original building has sat mostly empty for three years, its shelves holding memories rather than merchandise.

Greene and Laceree envision new designs for the store: the Outer Banks Fudge Co. in one corner, a Christmas display in another, local artwork on the walls.

"I sometimes wonder how many miles a day I walk, because the building is so large," Greene joked.

Despite the hard work the pair have and will put into getting the building ready for reopening, both said they are eager to see the Christmas Store come to life again.

"Personally, it's very stimulating, very challenging," 83-year-old Greene said. "And just the thought of people coming back again, it keeps pushing me on."

"People's dreams can come true if they put their hearts in the right place," Laceree said.


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  • phideb2 May 14, 2008

    Heaven help the poor conservative soul that needs an explaination re the concept of a different sort of diversion at the beach!

  • wakegrrl May 14, 2008

    This is fantastic news! I remember walking through the Christmas Shop as a child and thinking what a magical place it was. I was lucky enough to be at the OBX right before it closed so I did get one last visit, but now I can take my child and see his experience as well.

    Proud, I don't know if I can really put into words how the Christmas Shop is different from the other Christmas shops out there...but it is distinctive and special.

  • CestLaVie May 12, 2008

    Proud: It's something different to do. Not all of us are dumb enough to want to lay on the beach for hours & crisp our skin to "look good". And not all of us like to fish or boat or waterski or whatever. We like to go to the beach to take it easy, eat out, walk along the beach, take in a movie, see any local sites, take naps, eat out........!

    This Christmas shop was a class act & nicer than the other run-of-the-mill places found at many beaches. Personally, I think all the Christmas Mouse locations have cheap products & are a ripoff.

  • hedgy_one May 12, 2008

    I am so glad the Christmas Shop is opening again. It was one of my traditions, too! Now, if we could get "Jeannine's Cat House" (that was next door) to reopen my OBX experience would be complete... I always brought my cat home presents from there!

  • LaLa-Land May 12, 2008

    I'm so happy to hear this good news. I remember going through it when I was a child and it was just magical. We happened to be down there on one of there last days of going out of business a few years ago and it was so sad - got some good deals though.

    Thank you for opening back up! I want my kids to have memories of that great place.

  • ProudConservative2 May 12, 2008

    I have never understood the popularity of Christmas shops at the beach. Explain this somebody.

  • Outside the Beltline May 12, 2008

    This is really good news. I went to the Christmas Shop all the time when I was a kid. Now I'll be able to go back with my family. Let's hope it stays around for a long, long time.

  • Clinton May 12, 2008

    Great great news!! I can hardly wait! And just in case there are some people that can not get to the outer banks to experience this - here is their website (although it is still being worked on)

  • TriangleMommy May 12, 2008

    This is fabulous news! I know my husband and I are so excited and can not wait to walk through the wonderful, store once again!

  • khoggard May 12, 2008

    I, too, am glad to hear that they have reopened. The shop was a part of an annual summer trip to the beach. My son never really got to experience it but now he will. I cannot wait to walk back through those doors into the Christmas wonderland that I remember.