This is Carolina: Florist creates nativity mecca with over 2,500 sets

Tabor City Christmas nativities

TABOR CITY, N.C. (WMBF) - It’s not every day you meet a florist who has been in business for 44 years. It’s also not every day you meet one who owns more than 2,500 nativities.

If you go to Tabor City, NC, you’ll meet him. His name is Rodney Gore of Gore’s Florist.

Gore lost thousands of dollars worth of his nativities in hurricanes Matthew and Florence, but he opened back up for business for the 2019 Christmas season in downtown Tabor City. He said sharing his message of love through the nativities is greater than what he lost.

His nativity collection is the ‘Christmas and Nativity Expo,’ next to a produce market.

“I had them in my house and you couldn’t put your fingers anywhere without touching one.” Gore said. “This was the first nativity I had in the house and it came from Rose’s in 1963. I started buying nativities, I’d take two and I’d take one home and sell the other one here (at the flower shop). And it just started growing and growing and growing.”

Gore said he grew up knowing he wanted to be a florist. He opened his shop in 1975, but he didn’t know he’d find such love and meaning for nativity sets.

He has nativities that are worth thousands and others, he said, he bought at yard sales for a quarter.

“It’s amazing what you’ll find. Like yesterday, I bought eight or nine little nativities at a flea market,” Gore said.

He also likes to go to the famous I-27 Yard Sale.

“When I see one I know automatically whether I have it," Gore said.

No matter the cost or who gave them to him, Gore said his nativities are all priceless to him.

“There’s always room in the inn and there’s always room in my heart,” Gore said with a smile.

You can see Gore’s Christmas and Nativity Expo by appointment only. You can reach him at (910) 640-8701.

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