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Store owners transform Square into mythical town

Somewhere in the imaginary snow-capped mountains of Pilot Point, the grumpy old Grinch is stomping his feet in disapproval of the town’s sudden display of Christmas spirit. Over the weekend, several store owners transformed their storefronts into colorful depictions of Whoville, the famously Christmassy town from Dr. Seuss’s beloved children’s classic “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

Nicole and Tracey Lane came up with the idea over a month ago. The sisters-in-law own and operate Notoriously Yours on The Square, and for the past eight years their building has changed consistently with the seasons. From spooky black cats and witch’s brooms to shimmering tinseled garland, they’ve got seasonal decorating down to a science.

This year, they knew they wanted to do something big for the kids. With the help of their “little helper elf” Lori Stephens, they decided to transform The Square into a wacky and whimsical wonderland.

“We wanted to do something themed that the kids would love,” Tracey said. “A lot of kids will be at Christmas on the Square, and we wanted to make it fun for them. Our little helper elf suggested doing Whoville. We actually had to watch [“The Grinch”] because we’d never seen it before.”

After doing some research in the form of movie watching, the Lanes recruited their neighbors at the General Store and The Purple Door to be a part of the plan. Bobbie Jezek, who owns The Purple Door, participates in the decorating every year.

“Nicole is extremely creative,” Jezek said of her daughter. “She comes up with the most outrageous ideas. We’re all involved in the decorating, but 99 percent of the work is done by Nicole. She’s the one with the vision.”

After Stephens pitched the Whoville idea, Nicole got to work drawing up zany decorations. She crafted colorful archways by hand to adorn the fronts of the buildings, then she and Tracey spent four days decorating the storefronts.

Not only did the duo tackle their own storefront and that of The Purple Door, they also went across the street to the General Store to recruit its owner, Allison Martin.

This is Martin’s first year as a storeowner on The Square. She said she was eager to do something special.

“Usually, I do more classical Christmas decorations,” Martin said. “I like to decorate very elegantly. But when they told me they wanted to do something whimsical for the kids I was totally onboard. Then they came over with the cutout and I just said, ‘Oh my gosh, I love that!’”

The Lanes helped Martin decorate her store’s exterior after she injured her knee. The project isn’t entirely finished yet, but despite there being more to add, Martin said her storefront already looks magical.

“Tracey and Nicole are so good to me,” she said. “I just love them.”

The Christmas on the Square event Dec. 1 is expected to have a big turnout this year. Inclement weather in October caused Bonnie and Clyde Days to be canceled, and many activities from that are now being held at the Christmas event instead. Tracey said she expects a lot of kids to be out and about, and that’s a big part of why they chose to go bigger than ever before.

“We love decorating the front,” Nicole said. “Everyone seems to enjoy it. We see people out there taking family photos. We usually try to come up with something new every year, but I think we’ll be keeping Whoville for a while. This was a big project.”

And Whoville wouldn’t be complete without the nasty old Grinch himself, prowling around the square with a shriveled up heart three sizes too small. He can be seen on occasion at Notoriously Yours, having lots of fun while up to absolutely no good. Tracey and Nicole can often be spotted alongside the Grinch, decked out in black and green “Grinch Squad” pullover jackets and with Who-Person hairdos. The trio tends to have a lot of fun.

“It’s all about the kids and the fun,” Jezek said. “It’s fun to watch people come and look at the decorations. It makes people happy, and the whole point of this is to make people happy.”

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