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Christmas in July kicks off at Shell Factory

July 5, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

Even Santa Claus needs to take some time for fun in the sun.

Jolly Old St. Nick has come down south for what you would call a working vacation this past week, spending four days visiting the Shell Factory, meeting with the children who offered a rough draft of what they want for Christmas.

Their tastes may change in the coming months, but if they do, they can be rest assured that can send a letter to Santa to tell him what changes to make on their lists.

That is just how the Shell Factory kicked off its eighth-annual "Christmas in July" promotion, which in eight years has slowly become one of the most anticipated shopping events of the year, according to marketing director and CFO Rick Tupper.

"We have 20 percent off all collectibles and gifts. We have a lot of brand new merchandise in there," Tupper said. "During a time when a lot of Christmas stores are closed, we've bulked up the inventory in there and we're ready to go."

Anne Sheridan, who operates the Christmas Store, said among the new items there are some sure to make Jimmy Buffett fans happy.

"Palm 56 decided to cater to Margaritaville this year, so we have incredible things from them. We also have so many Coastal ornaments, beautiful glass ones, and Painted Pony is coming out with a lot of American kinds," Sheridan said. "We also have a lot of snow globes that are over the top."

Sheridan added the kids can write to Santa and place it in his special mailbox. They can expect an answer.

"He got letters from more than 1,000 kids last Christmas and he sent every one of them back, mentioning the letter and something they wanted, so it's very personal," Sheridan said.

Tupper said this year is different because there's so much more going on, Tupper said. The Fun Park is busy and the Nature Park has never looked better, and they're still pushing other promotions as well.

"We have a Girl Scout troop coming in soon, and we're still trying to push the birthday parties. Those will be real cool," Tupper said.

The Shell Factory and Nature Park is at 2787 N Tamiami Trail, North Fort Myers.

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