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Published Tue, Dec 18, 2012 08:00 PM
Modified Tue, Feb 12, 2013 11:49 AM

Wagner House has the best looking storefront in Downtown Clayton

- newsobserver.com
Owner of the Wagner House, Brenda Avent, and her staff spent about a week putting up decorations at the house, which won best decorated storefront for the second year in a row.
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- Correspondent

CLAYTON -- Local shops were recognized last week for their efforts to spread holiday cheer.

The annual Downtown Clayton Storefront Decoration Contest was held Dec. 6 with an anonymous, out-of-town judge reviewing all the storefronts from Robertson Street to U.S. 70.

Brenda Avent, owner of the Wagner House, won Best Overall for the second year in a row. Using an all-white theme, she and her staff spent about a week decorating the house both inside and out. Lighted trees adorn the front yard complimented by wreaths hanging on the balconies and windows. Avent said after earning the nod last year she didn’t expect to win again.

“I do all this for me, if not anyone else,” she said. “I like to see the house all pretty.”

Lee’s Produce took home top honors for Most Traditional. Erin Lee said their theme is kept the same each year using many of the products the business sells. Christmas trees, holiday wreaths and garland serve as the backdrop for Santa and his sleigh along with inflatable characters along the property. The key, she said, it to keep things simple.

“We put out the same things every year and all the kids really respond to it,” Lee said. “I’m very traditional, myself. We have customers that bring their grandkids over every year to look at our displays.”

Lee, who begins the decorating process in early November when the first shipment of trees arrive, was excited to learn their efforts had been recognized.

“I was very surprised because everyone does such a good job on their decorations,” said Lee.

Two new categories were added this year: Best Florist and Best Non-Profit. Flowers by The Neuse was cited best in its division for a “peacock look” put together by owners Billy Shaw and Jimmy Hill. Shaw said the staff created the look with green, cerulean blue and magenta ribbons, festive ornaments and 400 twinkling lights.

“Honestly, it actually took only an hour to put it together,” explained Shaw. “We really enjoy doing this and trying to make it as festive and creative as possible. We want to put together something that people have never seen before.”

Shaw said about four staff members participated in decorating the storefront. Last year the group won for Most Creative.

Category winners will receive a rotating plaque to be displayed in the winning business throughout 2013. The plaque will have a photo of their storefront decoration and the business name engraved as the 2012 winner in their category.

“We’re always excited when we when something,” said Shaw. “We’ll keep the award in the front of the store so everyone can see it.”

Other winners included Lipscomb Learning Center for Creative and Mosaic Community Garden for Best Non-Profit. Honorable mentions went to The Coffee Mill, Studio Bleu, Chiropractic, Annie V’s and North Carolina Paper Company. Honorable mentions for interior displays were awarded to Hidden Treasures Thrift Shop, Signage of the Carolinas, Annie V’s and The Coffee Mill.

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