Arts and Entertainment

The Edwards era will continue at The Little House this holiday season

Bettie Edwards in her store, which will be open again for the holiday season.  - Susan Riemer/Staff Photo
Bettie Edwards in her store, which will be open again for the holiday season.
— image credit: Susan Riemer/Staff Photo

Island merchants are gearing up for the holiday season, including one merchant who had planned on the Christmas season of 2012 being her last in business.

Bettie Edwards, the owner of The Little House for the past 37 years, expected to close her store and sell her building this year after listing it in April. But the place didn’t sell, and now Edwards is rearranging and stocking the shelves in preparation for holiday shoppers.

“I guess it was not time for me to retire,” she said recently. “We decided to fire up again.”

When Edwards announced last fall that she planned to close up shop, she believed her building would sell, she said, and when it did not, she found herself unable to move on to the next phase in her life.

“This is a big chunk of my retirement,” she said, looking around her store.

Also, Edwards, known for her Christmas cheer, said it did not make sense to her to simply close the building.

“I didn’t want it to be empty for the holidays,” she said. “The house had to be a home.”

And so since early this fall, she and her staff have set about making changes.

“We shook it up and turned it around,” she said. “It’s a fresh start. It’s just putting the energy back.”

Little House shoppers will notice many of the same gift items as in the past, she said, but in refurbished rooms. The former soap room has become “The Girly Room,” painted pink with sparkles on the walls and stocked with an abundance of girl-themed gifts. The former toy room has become the pirate room, festooned with maps on the walls and pirate regalia, including flags, eye patches and party favors. Children may even receive a personal letter written to them from a Pirate, if a parent inquires.

New toys will come in, too, Edwards said, and she will offer activities for kids in the coming months, such as Silly Saturdays with activities typically geared for girls, as well as a possible cookie decorating day at the store and face painting.

Mostly her customers are happy to learn she will remain in business, she said, though a few have wondered if she had planned on staying all along.

That was definitely not the case, she said.

“I am 68 years old,” she said. “I was ready to take that step.”

Still, she said, making the decision to leave last year was very mixed, and she said she is happy to still be at the helm of the store, which she will keep until it sells.

“It’s a good thing. I love what I do,” she said. “I am 100 percent now.”

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