If there is such a thing as an iconic local who represents the best in what it means to be from the Outer Banks, truly it is Eddie Green. Most everyone who resides here, or has been travelling to our area for many years, knows of him and his rich accomplishment. If you don’t know him personally, you are likely aware of or have shopped in “The Christmas Shop” in Manteo, which is his creation.
Unfortunately, his business is closing this year, and as he points out on his website, one of the reasons he’s retiring is, “Because I’m 90 years young.” It’s a real shame that he’s closing his doors, but it’s hard to argue after the store has served our community for 48 years. This means parents who remember coming to the Christmas Shop as kids can no longer bring their children. Instead, they will come to understand this experience from parents who recount these special memories.
Besides owning this very successful business, Greene has meant so much more to those in our Outer Banks communities. There are many improvements to our lives that locals take for granted that in one way or the other can be attributed to his devotion.
On October 1, 2015, Eddie Greene received the honor of being named the “Citizen of the Year” presented by the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce. When asked to speak, he pointed to one achievement above all others that he felt was most important. “One of the things I was participating in was the Community Foundation,” he said. “And it thrills me every time I see them handing out grants and scholarships.”
Founded in 1982 by a number of notable Outer Banks residents, including Andy Griffith, David Stick and Greene, along with others, the Outer Banks Community Foundation is in many ways the backbone of community giving on the Outer Banks, providing grants to a number of charitable foundations and handing out more scholarships than any other Outer Banks organization.
Before he opened The Christmas Shop, it will surprise many to know that Greene was a very successful professional dancer. He served in the Navy during WWII and came to the Outer Banks soon after his service, first as a dancer and actor in The Lost Colony, and later becoming assistant choreographer for the production. He also toured nationally with a number of dance companies, but as he has said repeatedly, he always knew the Outer Banks was where he wanted to be.
Eddie Greene didn’t have much when he opened the Christmas Shop, but he understood that the key to any successful business is happy employees. As a sure sign of this success, his first employee, Richard Lacerre, is still with him and was at the Chamber of Commerce banquet honoring him.
It is almost impossible to overstate the significance of Greene’s contributions to the Outer Banks community. He was instrumental in bringing the Outer Banks Hospital to Nags Head. He hosted the New World Festival of the Arts, a remarkable artist gathering in downtown Manteo, for over 30 years. Continuing his legacy, this event is now hosted by the Dare County Arts Council.
And through it all, Eddie has maintained a wonderful sense of humor, which may be the defining part of his enduring personality. After a moving tribute delivered by Carl Curnutte, Executive Director of the Elizabethan Gardens, Greene said, “Carl, you made me want to meet someone just like that.”
Finally, as he thanked everyone for all that they’ve done to make his time so special on the Outer Banks he said, “It has been an amazing journey.” We couldn’t agree more.