WELCOME BACK TO SPARKLE LAND!
Edward Greene & Richard Lacerre
Approximately 90 days ago, if someone had suggested that we should reopen the Christmas Shop we would have said to them "You're Crazy". After all, during the
past two and a half years we had sold out
all of our merchandise, had an incredible
two day auction of 1,000 pieces of antique
furniture and accessories, had several yard
sales of everything from office equipment to
supplies, from vacuum and cleaning supplies
to computers and cash registers! We had
parted ways with the long time worker family
of loving and experienced staff members.
NOW, today approximately 90 days later,
we ARE reopening. We actually
believed that we could put the whole thing
back together in 90 days. And we almost
made it. What a challenge trying to redo
about 12,000 square feet of space, clean
carpets, paint, go on buying trips, come up
with new ideas, reestablish old ones and
create some new ones, polish, collect
furniture, overhaul fourteen heat/cooling
systems, telephone/intercom systems, and
just this morning we started to learn our
new touch, cash register systems. What we
are really saying is WELCOME BACK! Welcome
back to something old, something new,
something borrowed something blue-red-and
green. Over the next few weeks, watch the
trees get decorated, watch all kinds of new
merchandise appear, watch the magic and the
sparkle really shine again. Come back
often, we think you'll be surprised. What's
old? The Christmas Shops, the Gallery, the
Bird Room, the Jewelry Shop! What's new?
Six Antique Shops, the Glass Spinner giving
demonstrations, History Island, a museum
shop, the Outer Banks Fudge Company- serving
coffee and sweets and the T-Shirt Boutique.
Some things old, some things new, some
things borrowed, and our walls are
May 2006 Island Gallery and Christmas Shop
By Sandy Semans -
When Edward Greene and Richard Lacerre announced in June 2005
that they were closing the famous
Island Gallery and Christmas Shop in Manteo, customers from near
and far cried "say it ain't so, Joe!"
Visiting the shop had become an annual ritual of many families
made up of multiple generations who had
visited the store during its almost four decades of "spreading
the sparkle." Christmas decorations, gift
items, art and very rare and unusual antique pieces used for
displays made visiting the store an
adventure akin to going into a museum of oohhhs and aaahhhs. In
2006, several months after the store
had closed, the antiques were inventoried and catalogued in
preparation of what was perhaps the largest auction ever held in
Dare County. But there was still much left to be done to
completely clear the
premises and prepare the property for a new owner. Recently, the
office equipment and communications
lines were moved from the property to a newly-built office at
Greene's and Lacerre's home in Manteo.
And, now, they will have to move it back again - they are going
to put the sparkle back in Manteo.
"In the 1970s, we advertised ourselves as the store of stores,"
said Greene. "And this year, we will be a
store of stores -- small boutiques, studios, galleries, craft
shops -- all manned by new and budding
Greene said that the decision to reopen the business has been
prompted both by wanting to and by
practicality. "I will be 83 in May and had plans to be on the
beach in Hawaii," said Greene. "But given the current real
estate market, it seems that this isn't a good time to be
selling the property."
It's time for the building to once again begin producing income
to cover the ongoing expenses of the
property, said Greene. To some, this might be a bitter sweet
story but given Greene's track record with
the Fates, there's sure to be sparkle on the horizon and unique
surprises both for him and Lacerre, as
well as the admiring public.
During WWII, Greene served as a pharmacist mate in the US Navy,
a job that inspired him to go on to
medical school after the war. But Fate moved in when he signed
up for an elective course in modern
dance. With the help of a counselor, he found a dance school
that accepted the GI Bill for his tuition.
A few years later, while studying in New York City, he was
approached about coming to Roanoke Island
to be in a play -- The Lost Colony. After that first
introduction to Dare County, although he continued
performing on the Broadway stage as well as traveling
productions, Greene knew he wanted to settle in
Manteo. It took a dozen years, but at last he returned to buy a
1200-square-foot cinder block house and
the Christmas Shop was born. With him was Lacerre who worked
alongside Greene for almost the next
four decades. Today, the building which has been added on to
often, encompasses approximately
30,000 square feet.
In a story about the closing of the store in 2005, the Sentinel
reported that "because his hasn't been a
path of predictability, no one can say what his future holds,
but one thing is for certain, whatever it is, it
will have its own magical sparkle."
How true, how true...and we can't wait!
'Still Spreading the Sparkle'