By Kip Tabb | Outer Banks Voice on August 11, 2020
Rebuilding from the ashes of a devastating fire, the new Christmas Mouse in Nags Head — while still several months from re-opening — is taking shape and springing to life.
“These things get put up pretty quickly on the outside, but the innards take a while,” said Rob Marshall, whose family owns the chain of Christmas Mouse stores. “It’s probably not going to be until next spring.”
A fire in April of last year destroyed the iconic store that has been a part of the Outer Banks since 1987. Although the original structure was over 8,000 square feet filled with Christmas decorations and collectibles, it didn’t start life as a retail store.
“You know before it was a store, it was built as a garage and an office building. The part that burned down by the tower was actually a mechanic’s garage to drive in,” Marshall said.
The interior of the store reflected those beginnings, giving customers a sense of wandering from room to room within a house. The Christmas Mouse that is replacing it may look similar, but there are important differences. “It may be slightly smaller, but it’s basically the same size about 7,900 square feet,” Marshall said. “It’ll be much more open, especially the upstairs,” he added.
Headquartered in Williamsburg, VA, there are eight Christmas Mouse stores. Two are located on the Outer Banks, in Duck and Nags Head. Unlike the local stores, however, most of the other locations are free-standing structures with a similar look. The new store, Marshall said, will use that proven design.
“It will be similar to my other stores to say in Williamsburg or in the South Myrtle Beach,” he said. “Basically, the stores are barns and they have openings in the center of them so that, so that you can see to the upstairs. There will be a bannister around the upstairs. That will make it visible from below.”
There are other differences as well, between the old and new buildings in Nags Head. “It’s gonna be a nice visual from the outside. There’s a lot of windows on the front side and the south side there, too. That will be great to light up the building as well. It will be nice,” Marshall said.
But with some time left before the new Christmas Mouse is ready to reopen, Marshall is taking a philosophical view. “It’s going to look a lot better,” he said. “I’m not sure the result of that [the fire] was what I was looking for, but it is going to look a lot better. There is something positive to come out of it.”