After 38 years in business, Mary Carol and Dan Garrity, owners of Nell Hill’s located in The Village at Briarcliff have sold the business to Clay Platte Venture Group LLC, owned in part by Katie and Brandon Laughridge, who will run the day to day operations going forward. According to Lorry Nelson with O’Keeffe & O’Malley who represented Nell Hill’s along with John Sweeney of Reece Commercial, the sale of the business, the retail store, and a nearby warehouse all closed simultaneously this past Friday, December 28th.
Since its humble beginnings as a gourmet food shop, Nell Hill’s has grown to become one of the most popular home interior stores in the Midwest. Garrity has garnered national attention with Forbes magazine dubbing her “one of the hottest little retailers” in America. She has been featured on CBS’s The Early Show and NBC’s Today show, and in The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Midwest Living, Country Living, Victoria, and many more.
One of today’s most sought-after lifestyle resources, Garrity is the author of nine books on home decorating; a weekly decorating blog Style at Home with Mary Carol Garrity, and a column syndicated weekly throughout the U.S. Her favorite place to be is at Nell Hill’s, working with customers to help them create homes that are lovely and livable, and that celebrate their own style.
“We are a little bit of a dinosaur — one of the only family-owned furniture stores left in the area,” Garrity said. “We’re not for everybody. But we are for the people who don’t want to go to a big box store but someone who wants to have a relationship with someone who knows their home and their aesthetics and what their style is and can make educated suggestions from that.”
Brandon has a property management company and Katie will handle the day-to-day operations for Nell Hill’s. She has a degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
The transition will be bittersweet for Garrity as she moves from nearly four decades of home decor. She now plans to travel more with her husband, Dan. Garrity still plans to work part time at the store through 2019 to help Katie with the transition.
“She’s still going to let me play in the sandbox,” Garrity said. “This has been my social life. Most of my friends I’ve made through Nell Hill’s. I’ve felt like one of the luckiest humans. I’ve gotten to do something for the last 37 years that I’ve loved.”
Laughridge plans to continue the popular bi-annual sales — 20 percent discounts on upholstery from Jan. 15 to Feb. 15 and June 15 to July 15; and 20 percent on wood pieces Feb. 15 to March 15 and July 15 to Aug. 15.
Expect a few changes with the new owner. Laughridge will hold more store events and, as the mother of a toddler, she wants to carry more home decor items for children’s rooms.
“Oh, there’s lot of room for improvement and I can’t wait to see what she does,” Garrity said. “She’s got that young female energy that will carry her through. We’re both opening up new chapters.”