Christmas in July: Christmas Store reopens after six-month renovation

Published 5:18 pm Monday, July 3, 2023

The Christmas Store, a staple of downtown Smithfield, reopened July 1 after a nearly six-month renovation.

The work entailed new wiring, lighting, heating and air conditioning, plaster repair and restoring the historic Main Street storefront’s original wood floor.

Smithfield Foods, which owns the building, was “most accommodating,” said Jim Abicht, who has owned and operated The Christmas Store since 1994.

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Smithfield Foods, the town’s anchor employer, funded the renovations and worked with the Abichts to ensure the work would occur during their least busy time of year.

After the first week of January, the Abichts started packing up their merchandise. The work began Feb. 1.

On hand to celebrate the reopening were Smithfield musicians Dru and Karen Stowe, who donned Victorian costumes and played Christmas carols on a bass and violin inside. 

Jim Abicht concedes that anyone who’s taken an economics class would likely advise against opening a store primarily devoted to a single holiday in a town with just over 8,800 residents, but “this is where we live,” he said. “We worked hard to get it to work.”

The store sells seasonal merchandise devoted to all holidays, though as its name suggests, Christmas ornaments and decorations account for the majority of its inventory and sales.