Her shop was nationally known before she stepped away. Now she’s back open in KC

Mary Carol Garrity is back in business.

For decades, Garrity was known as the founder of Nell Hill’s, a popular home decor shop in Atchison that drew customers from across the Midwest and was often featured in national publications, as well as The Star.

She closed the Atchison shop in 2016, consolidating it with a second Nell Hill’s she’d opened in the Village at Briarcliff. Two years later, Garrity exited the retail business entirely after selling Nell Hill’s to a young couple, Brandon and Katie Laughridge.

Owing to a non-compete agreement, the 67-year-old Garrity has been on the retail sidelines for the past five years. But recently she has resurfaced inside Gillham House Antiques and Furnishings with a shop called Diebolt’s — a partnership with a friend, Rebecca Wood.

“We are having a ball,” Garrity said. “We’re selling mainly tabletop things — tablecloths, candle holders, glassware. It’s about half vintage and antiques and half new stuff.”

Gillham House is home to a collective of antique dealers, most of whom previously sold their wares at Bottoms Up in the West Bottoms. They moved to 3235 Gillham Plaza, across from Costco, in 2023. Garrity and Wood joined up in mid-April, leasing a 400-square-foot room inside.

They named it Diebolt’s after an Atchison clothing store Garrity’s father once owned. Wood also has retail in her background. Her father owned a department store in Jefferson City and her mother had a stationery shop, Garrity said. Wood has been working with Garrity on and off for about a decade.

At Diebolt’s, the pair cycle in new table settings and pieces every few weeks.

“We’re seeing a lot of repeat customers — younger gals moving into their first apartments, or newlyweds who are really interested in our vintage pieces,” she said. “There’s a lot more interest in mixing and matching old with new.”

The space has the feel of the early days at Nell Hill’s in Atchison.

“It’s crowded and quirky and a little crazy,” Garrity said. “We like the concept of being very small and quaint. I’ve been describing it as a petite bazaar.”

The hours are petite, too — 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Friday and Saturday.

“For a retired retailer,” Garrity said, “it’s kind of the perfect job.”