Imperial Christmas Store Returns

WHEELING – Many Ohio Valley residents will be delighted to see an old favorite holiday tradition return to downtown Wheeling when the Imperial Christmas Shoppe reopens this weekend.

And the timing couldn’t be better, since the Perkins Restaurant & Bakery Fantasy in Lights Parade hits the streets of Wheeling at 6:30 p.m. today.

The former Imperial Display was damaged Easter morning 1996 in a devastating fire that burned down several stores on Main Street.

With those stores went the Christmas tradition of shopping at Imperial for unique Christmas trees and decorations. After 16 years, the Christmas Imperial Shoppe has been brought back to life in a renovated storage house resembling a “Christmas wonderland” located next to the Imperial Teacher’s Store at 2347 Main Street.

“There’s nothing like it in the valley,” said Cathy Jackson, owner and manager of the store. “We used to be the Christmas spot to go to. People come in and tell me they remember going to the old Imperial after the parade when it was uptown. They would go to the old Imperial and look at all the decorated trees. We’re trying to bring back those memories that people had from 30 years ago.”

The Christmas store, once known for its spectacular, pre-decorated trees, has brought that tradition back with uniquely decorated trees in traditional forest green or even bright red for more adventurous buyers. Those who enjoy decorating a tree themselves can choose from a “tree forest” of undecorated lighted and unlighted trees available for sale.

“We’ve always sold trees and lights. We were best known for the quality of our trees, and now we’ve expanded the Christmas to a full-service Christmas store,” Jackson said.

In addition to Christmas trees, the shop sells a large selection of nativity scenes, outdoor decorations and lights, including energy-saving LED lights, tree skirts, Santa suits, stockings and “blow molds” of snowmen, Santa Claus and other favorite Christmas characters to put on the front lawn.

The store will have an open house 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Also, the store will host Santa Claus every Saturday throughout the season.

“We have the Christmas store in the teacher’s store, but all the customers would come in and reminisce about the old Imperial,” Jackson said. “We just hope to fill a niche in the valley and bring back the old Christmas feel.”