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.
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25 thoughts on “Nell Hill’s

  1. Nell Hill’s is great when you want a lot of look but don’t want to break the bank. They also represent Hickory Chair, for when you do.

    A friend of mine is one of Mary Carol’s designers at the store at Briarcliff, and he turned me on to the paint line. Really, really good colors. “Front Porch” is the light blue I’ve been looking for for years.

  2. Stores like that scare me. They haunt me and make me want to blow torch my own home.
    We have some “shoppes” like that here, and I have to force myself to just keep driving, til after the election anyway.

  3. Hi! I don't know HOW on earth I "got here" tonight (DH is out of town, so I'm "playing"), but I HOPE I write down your blog address correctly so I can return! I "found" MCG's Nell Hill's when she was relatively starting out (we were stationed at Ft. Leavenworth, KS & EVERYBODY who loved design, etc., took trips there! I tried to convince her to let my DH & I buy "stock" in her Nell Hills, etc., because we adored her AND knew it would be a good investment!)~~~ Everything you said is TRUE, especially that she IS genuine & ENTHUSIASTIC~~ the woman's like the energizer bunny & I love her to pieces! ~~~ I don't have a blog, just a spot at Rate My Space under "Mom of a German Shorthair", but DID want to tell you what a thrill it was to "FIND" your enjoyable blog, read about Mary Carol & see pics of the "original" place… AND to hear such nice things about such a GR888 gal! SOOO, "Thanks for the memories!" (We're in the AZ desert these days)~~~ Warmly, "Linda" from RMS

  4. BTW, just went to google Kansas City Spaces to subscribe (I used to LOVE that magazine when we lived there!)~~~ It’s nowhere to be found! Can you assist me? THANKS! Linda

  5. David – I totally agree – a great spot to pick up a terrific trend piece that you might not want to make an investment in, but that jazzes up the place a bit. Thanks for the tip on the paint – I feel like I can see that elusive blue in my head.

  6. Linda – so glad you found it! Great to hear your MC story. btw – I was the mom of a shorthair once. Murphy. She was a handful.

  7. love the holiday shots! And heck no I wasn’t getting tired! Pics of fabrics, furniture, pillows and oodles of accessories – a girl after my own heart!

  8. Now I’m kicking myself for not signing up for my college’s trip to Kansas City. Forget visiting old friends, I could have shopped!!

  9. We were fortunate enough to be invited by friends to a dinner in Mary Carol’s home this past year.

    There’s a difference between a house and a home, and much of that has to do with the welcoming and hosting. She’s as gracious and fun as she is talented.

    I have friends who have followed her for years, and now I see why… it’s not just the goods, but it’s the gal. She’s a KC prize, that’s for sure.

    – MC

  10. I so agree with Linda’s comment about your PR position with the Chamber of Commerce,my head is spinning after your wonderful photos. You are the most interesting person! I,too,want to trek from Dallas to KC!Thanks for your wonderful posts.

  11. Mrs. B….once again you have not disppointed me! Lovely, lovely, lovely!!! Makes me want to open a shop too……and call it Fleur-de-lees!! What fun that would be!

  12. I have been to Nell Hill’s in Atchison when Mary has been there. What energy and what an “eye” for Decor. The books, her columns, amazing!I need to visit her shop here in KC.

  13. I have had one of her books for years. I often refer to it when I get restless and need to re-arrange things! She has great ideas for tablescapes and creative display of collections. What a treat to see her shops. Thank you.

  14. I’m a Mary Carol fan as well and would trek there at least once a year. I was so happy to have the KC store open — not as much of a trek and although not the same — there is something about the old rabbit warren quality of the old shop versus the new, it is still a great place to shop for decor.

    And everytme I go I spend way too much money!

    She is a wonderful person and when she sees you, she is so nice and you feel that she truly remembers you from your last trip.


  15. How fun to visit your blog and see your post about Nell Hills. I visit it almost every time I go home to visit. I especially love her shop at Christmas. It’s overload stimulation. Once when I was there I bought a book and she autographed it. She was very sweet. I believe I have all of her books. I also need to visit her new store. Next time you visit head around the corner for lunch. Can’t remember the name, but it’s small town goodness.

  16. I never seem to have the time to get to the Atchison Nell Hill's when I travel to KC from OKC, so I am glad to hear the new store is worth a trip and I will be able to visit it at the end of the month when I am in town. I worried the new one would not measure up! I moved to OKC from Upstate NY in 1999 and all the other moms I was meeting at my daughter's school were always talking about their latest trip to Nell Hill's, they would pull a trailer up and back to carry all the booty. When I got a hold of the books I understood why they went and now I look forward to finally getting to check out the store!

  17. I always enjoyed the day trip up to Nell Hills in Atchison, at least an annual pilgrimage, and now the Briarcliff Shop is so convenient.

    Mary IS a little ball of fire, adore her and her talents!


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