“River City Christmas” brings winter spirit to Conway


Photo by Caroline Surface

“River City Christmas” on Third Avenue decorates outside the store all year long.

An old-boarding school building in Conway, South Carolina is now repurposed to spread Christmas cheer to customers.

Located on Third Avenue in Downtown Conway, the 1900s building was a two-story, 12-room boarding home for children called “Conwayborough.” It became “River City Christmas” in 1997.

Grace Hardwick has owned the River City Christmas business for 25 years. She said the shop started because of her love for the Christmas season.

“My husband said that if he loved Christmas as good as I do, he would take the upstairs of that building and turn every room into Christmas,” Hardwick said. “So, my friend and I started, and it just grew from room to room.”

River City Christmas operates all year long with the busiest months of business being from September to January.

Approximately three years ago, Hardwick opened their second location on Main Street, which focuses on other items themed around many different holidays. This includes Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Thanksgiving, Veteran’s Day, Father’s Day, and more.

“We pick up gift items we can sell through the other months. In the Main Street store, we try to keep every occasion, every holiday,” Hardwick said.

Both River City Christmas locations offer handmade candles, soaps, wreaths, bows, ornaments, and all things Christmas. However, in addition to decorations, the Third Avenue shop serves gourmet coffee and refreshments for customers while they shop. River City Christmas provides a place for Christmas shopping for Coastal Carolina Students as only a 10-minute drive from campus.

“I love Christmas shopping because I look forward to trying to find something that is perfect for each person,” junior Emmy Cicala said. “There is always a festive feeling in the air.”

Both locations are open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.