Shop reopening returns Christmas magic to Manteo

Posted May 11, 2008 3:10 p.m. EDT
Updated May 12, 2008 10:20 a.m. EDT

— 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.