Nell Hill's

After my post on the Tablescapes luncheon, several folks commented that they would look forward to adding some of those retailers to their lists when they headed in to see Nell Hill's.

It has been my oversight not to have posted about Nell Hill's until now.  (Who's Nell?  What is she talking about?)  Nell Hill was Mary Carol Garrity's maternal grandmother and it seems she passed along some good pioneer spirit.  Thank heavens.

Mary Carol lives in Atchison, Kansas and 18 years ago she opened Nell Hill's and made it a destination shopping spot.  People, ok, mostly women but not all, travel from far and wide to make a pilgrimage to Nell Hill's.

Why?  Because Mary Carol has an eagle eye for a great look at a great price.

When I was at the shop in Atchison a couple of weeks ago, their legendary holiday decorations were out in full force.  I'm not exaggerating when I tell you women were standing in line from the back of the shop to the front to pay.  And having fun.

I have been traveling to Atchison to visit Nell Hill's for years.  It's always fun to be there when Mary Carol is there because she has such a presence.  She is effervescent.  And nice.  But now, while I will still make the trek to Atchison, I can get a dose of Mary Carol a little closer to home.

Last November, Mary Carol opened a new location in Briarcliff Village, just north of the river from downtown Kansas City.  Not more than 15 minutes from my carpool line.

It's not the same as the Atchison store, but just as appealing.

It's infinitely larger and chocked full of great values.

There are very few places to buy upholstery in Kansas City anymore and Nell Hill's is a great spot to pick up an upholstered piece.  They do sell right off the floor but are happy to help with custom orders as well.

(Ready for the 2 degrees of Kansas City separation?)  One of the "theys" is Mary Carol's manager, Nancy, who was my much beleaguered boss for a while when I was fresh out of college.  At a clothing shop.  Not the perfect fit, and I was often "sick."  A testament to her countenance, she has always been lovely to me despite my irresponsible youth.

When I hopped up to the Briarcliff location I asked Mary Carol if having two shops in two cities was difficult.  "I thrive on it," she exclaimed and I could see it was not spin.  You can feel her energy for the business.  "I love retail; I always have."  In fact, she began working in her family's clothing store when she was ten.

The Briarcliff shop also carries fabric by the yard.  Really, really cute and reasonable fabric.

Are you getting tired?

Worn out at the thought of the time and effort it would take to run two distinct and popular spots?

Mary Carrol writes books, too.  And a syndicated column.   And has a line of paint.

Don't let it make you feel like a slacker, take advantage of it instead.  Guest room feeling a little tired?  Family room need a sprucing up for the spruce?  You can get it all at Nell Hill's and still have  money left over for lunch with your girlfriends.  At either location.  Or both.

Top six photos of the Atchison location courtesy of Blish Connor; the remaining pictures are from the Briarcliff store.