LANA MUTHLER/THE EXPRESS Ariel Heivly, left, and her mother, Donna Askins-Nelson, stand in front of their beautifully decorated business — Russell Florist LLC at 204 S. Main St., Jersey Shore. JERSEY SHORE — It was the first year for the Jersey Shore Christmas Decorating Contest, with two divisions, one for homes and one for businesses. And it was a great success, with 20 homeowners and nine businesses entering the contest and decorating their properties for judges to admire and inspect. The judges — Mayor Dennis Thompson, councilman Matt Haag and solicitor Denise Deiter — said it was not an easy job picking the winners. They visited the sites numerous times before selecting the top business and three winners in the home division. Even then, they added an honorable mention in the home division because it was so close. Winning the business decorating contest was Russell Florist LLC, whose beautiful winter theme glows with the beauty of a snow-covered forest and includes red cardinals representing people from the past who visited the store. Owners Donna Askins-Nelson and her daughter, Ariel Heivly, worked for 13 hours on the window and outdoor decorations. LANA MUTHLER / THE EXPRESS Winners, judge and committee members of the home decorating contest are from left, back, recreation committee chairperson Bonnie Messersmith, Mayor Dennis Thompson, Phillip Good II, Chris Logue, Ron Confair; middle, councilman Matt Haag, Cyndi Bennett of Revitalize Jersey Shore, Raquel Good, Kathy Logue and Caroline Confair; front, Eli and Elianna Good. “We want it to be magical. We do the bulk of the work when there are no customers in the store. We want to surprise them,” Ariel said as she and her mother stood in front of the display for a photograph. They purchased the business two years ago and both say they […]