Abigail Annie’s Interiors to close its doors
After 16 1/2 years as a local source for home decor, gifts and interior design, Abigail Annie’s Interiors in Panora is set to close this spring.
Owned by Mardi Russell and Deb Moylan, the tan and red house at 310 E. Main St. has been home to three businesses under one roof since first opening. In addition to the home decor shop run by the two women, the building also hosts Russell’s decorating business, Interiors By Mardi, and Moylan’s painting business, Painter’s Shingle. For nearly two decades the women have combined their forces and passions for making homes beautiful through all three branches of Abigail Annie’s Interiors. But with intentions of semi-retiring, they have decided to close the retail space, and set their final day of business for April 1.
“I’m feeling sad, ‘cause everybody’s been coming in and saying, ‘You can’t be closing,’” Moylan said, noting that some hopeful customers have wistfully thought the April 1 closing date might be an April Fools’ Day joke. “I hope we’re missed.”
When Abigail Annie’s Interiors first opened, it was in a Victorian house across the street from its current location, where the Panora Casey’s General Store now sits. The store started out as a combined effort between Moylan, Russell and Sherrie Winn, who brought silk flower arranging and Christmas decorating into the mix, but ultimately had to leave the group three years later for personal reasons. Moylan started her work in painting when she was young. Growing up on a farm, “there was always a barn or fence to paint.” Through Painter’s Shingle, she works with basic interior and exterior painting, “faux painting” — a technique used to make a surface look like marble, stone or other textures — as well as murals and more. Russell, a nurse by profession, started a decorating business in Omaha before teaming up with Moylan, and works in a range of interior decorating areas through Interiors By Mardi, from draperies and blinds, to upholstery and carpet. Between the three aspects of the business, customers have had the opportunity for Russell to help with new window coverings, Moylan to come in and paint, and then finish off their new look with items from Abigail Annie’s Interiors.
“With what we do, I paint, and Mardi’s the decorator, it was kind of a revolving door,” Moylan said of the symbiotic partnership between her and Russell’s businesses. “So her job would warrant somebody coming in to paint, or if I came in to paint, someone would say, ‘I need new blinds now that it’s painted.’”
“One business complemented the other,” Russell added.
When Casey’s General Store bought the property in 2010, and Abigail Annie’s Interiors needed to relocate, the residential property across the street was perfect. The store’s layout has always been modeled after an actual house. Instead of shelves holding their unique jewelry, fashion and household items for customers to peruse, products for sale are set up like a home. The house is sectioned off into themed rooms, complete with a “bedroom” holding bedding, furniture and wall decor, a “bathroom” with a decorative tub and accessories, and a “man cave” with items for men, among other rooms. Russell and Moylan change the decor of the “house” every season, move the products, and sometimes even repaint the walls.
“It was more important to us to be in a home setting, rather than a rectangle or a box that you’d have to create rooms within,” Moylan said.
Abigail Annie’s Interiors has been in the same space for the last 6 1/2 years.
The decision to close the retail aspect of the business came about because Russell and Moylan were looking to slow down. They both have grandchildren they would like to spend more time with, as well as plans to travel and do more things they enjoy. However, even after closing down Abigail Annie’s Interiors, they will both continue their individual interior design and painting businesses. They will also continue the work they do decorating and planning weddings for 2017.
“I think maybe we’ll just have a little more flexibility,” Russell said of closing the store. “It’s been a good gig. But we wanted to continue our own businesses, but not be tied down, just slow down a bit.”
The pair decided to try selling the business in the months before it closes. If possible, they would like to see the store remain open under new ownership. But if they are not able to find a buyer, it will close permanently. While there has been some interest, so far, no serious buyers have come forward. To help move out merchandise before the closing date, Abigail Annie’s Interiors started a 50 percent off sale at the beginning of January, which will continue until Russell and Moylan finish there.
“We want to let our customers know how much (they) have meant to us,” Russell and Moylan said in a letter announcing the store closing. “We have been proud to be a local store, and have appreciated (the) support for the past 16 1⁄2 years.”