For one Kings Mills store, Christmas isn’t just a day in December. It’s a state of mind.
That’s the motto of Ron and Mary Greene, who run the Kings Mills General Store and Christmas Shop at the corner of Wilson and Columbia roads. The business is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
While the official headquarters of Christmas is probably up north, the Greenes do their best to compete.
The 3,000-square-foot white clapboard house features thousands of Christmas ornaments and trimmings from floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall. Even the shop’s bathroom doubles as storage space.
From Santas to nutcrackers, the shop features a variety of ornaments to suit every taste — no matter how eclectic.
Looking for green glass Christmas pickle ornaments? You’ll find them here. Spongebob and Elvis? They’re there, too, alongside rows of sports- and pet-themed trinkets and baubles with military, nature and Western motifs.
“We try to literally have something for everybody,” said Mary. “There’s no place in the whole Tristate area that has the selection we do.”
Ornaments range from $2 to more than $200 for exclusive lines like hand-painted Patricia Breen glass ornaments, which are sold in less than 20 stores nationwide and have a wait list. Most items are under $10, said Ron.
For the Greenes, the most magical time of the year begins in mid-April when the shop opens. November and December are the shop’s busiest months, but Augusts ranks a close third thanks to tourists visiting nearby Kings Island and Great Wolf Lodge.
Ron got the idea for the shop after working in his uncle’s Christmas Shop and Island Art Gallery in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
It was there, in 1977, that he met Mary at a picnic on the beach. Emboldened, Ron asked the attractive West Side native to dinner.
“I’m a nice Catholic girl from Cincinnati. I wouldn’t have gone off with him if I hadn’t been going to the Christmas Shop for six years,” remembered Mary with a laugh.
When Mary returned to Cincinnati, Ron followed. The couple celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary Dec. 9.
In September 1983, the couple purchased the Kings Mills General Store and began selling general gifts and holiday items.
The building, which had operated as a general store from the early 1920s, featured the warm and nostalgic ambiance the Greenes had been looking for.
The couple fixed up the deteriorating building and spent years searching for the antique cabinets and pieces upon which to display their trove of Christmas treasures.
“We wanted to make it safe, but we also wanted to keep the creaking floors,” said Ron. “There’s just something about being in a nearly 100-year-old building that’s kind of neat.
Thirty years later, the shop has become a retail attraction for tourists and a holiday tradition for locals.
“We have people who say they’ve been here with their parents and now they’re bringing their kids,” said Mary. “Once you come here, it becomes a destination.”
For Ron, 73, and Mary, 65, theirs is a business that’s all about spreading cheer and making spirits bright.
“It’s a pleasant atmosphere,” said Ron. “People come in here and even if they’re not so wonderfully happy when they walk in, you can’t help but feel lighter. It’s a feel-good place.”
If you go
Kings Mills General Store and Christmas Shop is at 5687 Columbia Road, Kings Mills. Contact: 513-398-1677; www.kingschristmas.com.