Guys, I have big news!
At the stroke of midnight tonight, Dan and I will be toasting the end of one of the most rewarding chapters in my life. And, the beginning of a new adventure. Just a few days ago, we signed the final paperwork to sell Nell Hill’s to a wonderful young couple. I am so excited about the future of Nell Hill’s, in Katie and Brandon’s capable hands. Katie will be introducing herself to you soon and sharing her plans for Nell Hill’s.
When I started Nell Hill’s 37 years ago, I never thought the day would come when I would hand off my “baby” to someone else. Now, I’m ready. The one thing I love even more than Nell Hill’s is Dan. For years, he’s patiently waited while I worked way too many hours and said no to way too many vacations with him.
Now, I’m excited to put all my energy into my new job: Stay home and drive him crazy! He doesn’t know what he’s in for, poor guy. Soon, he may be wishing I would go back to work. Lucky for him, Katie has asked me to stay on in the new year, so I will still be working at Nell Hill’s part time through 2019. Today’s Style at Home blog, though, will be my last. Look for blogs from Katie soon!
New Year’s Eve is a night where we look back and celebrate what has been. My heart is so full as I reflect on the nearly four decades spent with all of you at Nell Hill’s. I remember …
- Laboring to cut huge wedges of imported cheeses with my mom’s dull butter knife, to tuck into the baskets we sold at the Gourmet Corner, before we became Nell Hill’s. The fact that I didn’t know a thing about gourmet food, except that I liked to eat it, did not dull my enthusiasm as I blundered about, building the business.
- Being “discovered” at the Kansas City Junior League Holiday Mart. As we sold out of inventory, my parents ran back and forth between Kansas City and Atchison to restock our booth. We couldn’t believe our good fortune.
- The daily arrival of SUVs filled with girlfriends who made the hour-long trek to Atchison to shop and just spend time together. They packed in as much laughter and fun as they could, finding treasures for their homes, before they zipped back to pick up their kids at school.
- Standing on my porch, welcoming guests to my spring, fall and holiday open houses or book signings. We never pulled off one of these grand shows without an adrenaline-fused photo finish. I can’t believe my staff and friends didn’t mutiny!
- Working with customers every day at the store, helping them bring their vision for their home to life, solve some of their most frustrating decorating challenges or prepare for a party or event.
Because of all of you all, Nell Hill’s has been much more than a store. It’s been a celebration of friendship, with our homes as the convener. It’s three generations of women– grandma, daughters and granddaughters – starting their holiday season here. It’s young people building their lives, picking out their first sofa or table for their new home. It’s friends planning dinner parties, dropping by to get table top ideas to fuel their creativity. It’s laughter, encouragement, inspiration, fun.
There is no other way I’d rather live my life, than helping make these magic moments happen. I am so grateful to every member of my team, who have put up with my crazy ideas. To the customers who have trusted us with helping make their houses into homes. To all the lifelong friends I’ve made at this special place. To Dan and Kelly for sticking with me, even when all there was to eat in the house was popcorn and champagne because I worked late instead of going to the grocery store.
Now, I can’t wait for the next chapter.
So many great things still await us all. Come by and see me at the store in 2019 and meet Katie, the wonderful new guardian of Nell Hill’s. See you soon!
Mary Stephenson saysJanuary 1, 2019 at 11:30 am
Congratulations on your retirement!! As everyone has said, we will really miss you, but understand moving on. I was at your Atchison store so many times with my friend (and Mike’s cousin) Nancy Ellison, now deceased. And of course George worked for you. I’m sure visiting your stores kicked in when our Victorian home was in two magazines and many homes tours. As we moved last year to a newer home, of course I bought two beautiful chairs from you. Also my sister, Karen and her western Kansas friends would try to stop by. I hope you can travel. We do often and love it. Best of luck in the future.
Lynn Reardon saysJanuary 1, 2019 at 11:36 am
Mary Carol, you deserve this. Thank you for making the world a nicer, better and prettier place. xoxo Lynn Sullivan Reardon
Lauren saysJanuary 1, 2019 at 1:19 pm
I just hope for the sake of Kansas city and all that Nell Hills has given us that the new owners keep the spirit alive. Remember what Nell Hills is about.
franki saysJanuary 1, 2019 at 2:23 pm
Reading this…and my GASP…brought my hubs rushing downstairs to check what had happened…I am just “thunderstruck”…”how can this be happening…” when we are “Forever Young”… Needless to say, you have brought countless hours of enjoyment over the years…and one of my “fav memories” was meeting you in your store whilest back for a family reunion…I AM SO VERY Reset the regulator by turning off the burners on your gas grill. Turn off the propane tank and disconnect the hose from the tank. With your gas grill lid open, turn the burner knobs to high for about two minutes, and then turn them off again. Reconnect the hose to your propane tank and slowly turn on the gas. Follow your grill’s lighting instructions. for you…franki
franki saysJanuary 1, 2019 at 2:25 pm
OMG…THAT WAS A TOTAL ERROR…MY HUSBAND’S handiwork…so very sorry….franki…see, I AM DISTRAUGHT… xxx franki
Diana saysJanuary 1, 2019 at 3:27 pm
I too gasped to read the news, but understanding the desire to spend one’s retirement with family and travel. Blessings to you, Mary Carol and Dan for many more happy years together. You have been an inspiration to so many over these decades. I have fond memories of open houses at your home in Atchison, and spending hours wandering through the stores thinking I needed every item! I display my treasures with joy and will continue to do so.
Janet Doherty saysJanuary 1, 2019 at 5:59 pm
You are a true inspiration and I am so thankful you have shared your talents with us all!. From meeting you 13 years ago in Atchison to getting to say hello last holiday season…it has always been a pleasure to interact with you. Your warmth and kindness could be felt in everything you touched! All my best to you in your retirement…enjoy the free time to reconnect with Dan!
Lots of love,
Terry Miller saysJanuary 1, 2019 at 5:59 pm
Have known you since we met at your first Holiday Mart and KNEW something special would happen from that great start! Over the years my various homes have always had lots of MC treasures tucked, hung, draped, plumped and displayed into them! The next generation was introducing my now grown daughter to you and the Briarcliff store and after that excursion she knew why I had gushed all her growing up years about the girls trips to Atchison! You deserve to retire and enjoy life with YOUR Dan! Some of the best years of my life have been my last 2 years retired with MY Dan! Hugs, love, congratulations and lots of happiness to you dear friend!
Aulois Johnson saysJanuary 1, 2019 at 10:17 pm
How quickly time passes! It seems almost impossible that 21 years has passed since I began shopping at your beautiful stores in Atchison and delighting in your amazing ‘Open House’ events! Since reading about the sale of your business, I find myself reminiscing about the many, many ‘girlfriend shopping/Open House excursions’ taken with so many dear friends through all these years. (Your stores have been the only ones my husband ever really enjoyed shopping at with me!) I vividly remember the sadness I felt at the closing of G. Diebolt’s, Garrity’s, and the Nell Hill’s Atchison stores. Joy! ….. Your Nell Hill’s store in NKC has been beyond amazing! Now, it seems impossible to imagine Nell Hill’s without you! You are truly a very special person …. a treasure! You have been blessed with the gift of making everyone feel like a special friend! As I once wrote in a Christmas card I sent to you …. I know your secret! You are one of God’s angels walking among us mere mortals here on earth! I truly believe that!
I wish you & Dan happiness and blessings!
Deena Salvatore saysJanuary 2, 2019 at 9:59 am
I’m both surprised and saddened by your last blog Mary Carol. I have loved being part of your wonderful creation. I will miss you, but in fairness to her, I look forward to meeting and getting to know Katie. We live in NJ and I’ve asked my husband so many times to take me to MO so I could shop at your store. I’m looking for the perfect easy chair for myself (my first) for our family room. Wish I could enlist the help of Nell Hill’s. I have all your books and love nothing more than settling down with a cup of tea and salivating over their pages. I wish you and Dan the best of luck. You’ve made something wonderful that so many have benefitted from. Now is your time to sit back and reap the benefits. Happy New Year and God bless!
Lisa Mercado Fernandez saysJanuary 2, 2019 at 10:44 am
I truly could not imagine my life without knowing you, discovering your books, visiting your store and your gorgeous home twice. It changed me! It inspired me and it reinvented the way I look at the world. I am forever grateful. I am humbled that you befriended me and even helped me with one of my books by doing a post on it. You are truly a gentle beautiful soul and the most joyful person I’ve met. I see God in all the you do and I am so grateful for your friendship and kindness. Here is a toast to the next adventure for you and Dan. Sending all my love, Lisa
Lisa Mercado Fernandez saysJanuary 2, 2019 at 10:45 am
I truly could not imagine my life without knowing you, discovering your books, visiting your store and your gorgeous home twice. It changed me! It inspired me and it reinvented the way I look at the world. I am forever grateful. I am humbled that you befriended me and even helped me with one of my books by doing a post on it. You are truly a gentle beautiful soul and the most joyful person I’ve met. I see God in all the you do and I am so grateful for your friendship and kindness. Here is a toast to the next adventure for you and Dan. Sending all my love, Lisamercadofernandez.com
Judy Mueller saysJanuary 2, 2019 at 6:21 pm
I remember sitting in a doctor’s waiting room when a women started telling me about your first book. After my appointment, I went to the bookstore and purchased a copy. I loved the way you used vintage items in new ways. I’ll miss your blog but you’re going to love retirement. Enjoy!
Cathy Mithelavage Savlin saysJanuary 2, 2019 at 10:01 pm
I so enjoyed the many trips to Atchison with family and friends to find treasures at Nell Hills. And my brother Mick just said New Year’s Eve that he was happy to be an honorary member of “the girl’s club”. Mary Carol, you have added joy to so many. Wish you a wonderful retirement with Dan. Many blessings to you.
Deb Kirstein saysJanuary 3, 2019 at 12:20 am
Mary Carol, Congratulations on your retirement! I have loved coming to shop with you since Atchison almost 20 years now. Loved Christmas at your home there. Love your designs. We will continue to shop with Katie. You will be missed. Blessings in your future! Enjoy!
Becky Robinson saysJanuary 3, 2019 at 12:14 pm
As I sit in my living room reading this post, I realize that everywhere my eye rests has a treasure from Nell Hills! I remember the first time I walked into your store in Atchison in 2005 and I felt like I had died and gone to decorator’s heaven. Thank you for the inspiration and vision you have provided in helping us all make our homes more beautiful and full of the little (and big) things that give it personality and character! I know that NH will not be the same without you, but you have laid a solid foundation for it to continue to grow upon.
All the best for you and Dan in your retirement!
Mary Boverie Castro saysJanuary 3, 2019 at 12:45 pm
I have enjoyed every visit to the store, every blog post and most of all the treasures I have brought home with me. Best of luck to you in the future. Congratulations to all!
Carol saysJanuary 6, 2019 at 5:59 pm
Congratulations on your retirement, although you will be missed terribly. I look at all the “cookie cutter” decorating on the internet and then I visit your site for inspiration and elegance. Such a difference!!!!
I hope Katie follows in your footsteps. Thank goodness I have your books.
Wishing you all the best in your new adventure!!
Linda R saysJanuary 7, 2019 at 10:33 pm
Retirement is an exciting gift. Enjoy every day, the ones filled with travel and adventures and the ones spent lingering over coffee and a good book. And keep wearing your exquisite gold bracelets and cameo ring.
Best wishes for health and happiness to you and Dan.
Alisha saysJanuary 16, 2019 at 8:33 pm
I’m late to the party. When I first caught wind of the news I thought the store was being completely changed into something else. *gasp* I’m glad that’s not the case. I am disappointed I wasn’t able to make the out of state shopping trip to visit before ownership change. I learned how to decorate from reading your books and studying your style. I never tire from pouring over the beautiful pictures of the books or you blog. You are truly gifted. Congratulations on your retirement and such a successful and fulfilling career! Congratulations to you and Katie both for new beginnings! 🙂
Assunta La Hara saysJanuary 17, 2019 at 10:14 am
Happy retirement i love Everything you do God bless you and have a happy life with your husband and God bless you both Suzy
Fran Hynek saysMarch 23, 2019 at 3:30 pm
Congrats! I spent a wonderful weekend at your store after my mom passed away. It was such a hard time, and I needed something to lift my spirits. You and your store helped so much. It sounds crazy, but there is such a thing called retail therapy! Thank you for many fun visits to your home, and a truckload of wonderful furniture and accessories!
Maggie Swartz Mistilis saysMarch 28, 2019 at 10:09 am
Congratulations Mary Carol in your move to your life’s next chapter! I met you about 20
Years ago at the Atchison shop. My family farm was in Everest and we chatted about that, your book , and my southern home in Oxford, MS. I no longer have any living relatives in Everest, but have followed your posts. Best to you!