While the owners of one Excelsior Springs fixture makes plans to relocate from the community after 38 years, the sisters remain excited about what the future holds.
The owners of Annie’s Furniture and Home Accents said they want to emphasize they have no plans to go out of business. They simply plan to relocate their thriving business and begin an exciting new chapter in their lives.
Jill King-Hilke said the sisters want to thank Excelsior Springs for all the time their customers-whom they view as family-have spent with them over the years.
“I want the people (of Excelsior) to know that we are very appreciative and very thankful for letting us serve them,” she said. “It was a great honor to serve them.”
A LABOR OF LOVE
Clarence King Jr., known simply as Junior and his wife Norma Ann began Annie’s on Aug. 2, 1982. Norma always wanted a store of her own. Joy King said her parents often traveled to Branson where Norma would pick up knick-knacks.
Junior worked as a builder. Joy said he worked on Excelsior’s Kings Addition. Streets can still be found named for all three of Junior’s children, as well as his wife and father. A pillar in the Excelsior Springs community, Junior also served as Mayor during the 1970s.
In an article published in The Liberty Shopper News right after the store opened, Norma said the family tried to select merchandise their customers could mix together to develop their own style for their homes.
“Our customers love to develop a style that is all their own, so we are always changing the displays and showing them lots of alternatives,” Norma said.
Joy began working at the store at the beginning. Jill came on a few years later in 1984. Jill encouraged her parents to include more furniture and home décor options. The family added more merchandise, such as the popular Yankee Candle line. They added additions, including a warehouse, to the building.
Over the years, Annie’s won honor after honor. They won the Best in the Northland Award twice. Joy said they hope to win it again. They became the first to participate in the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway, which raises money for the hospital that treats children with pediatric catastrophic diseases. The family participated in the event for about four years, Jill said, which she described as a high compliment and honor.
They decorated a room in one of the Kansas City Symphony Designer’s Showhouse where someone bought every item from their showroom.
Joy said many told them they like the Annie’s room the best. People from all over and even from Ethan Allen said they loved their design.
Jill said they’ve done houses on the Plaza.
“We’ve had a great time here,” she said.
However, the sisters said one thing never changed, the love this family holds for their customers.
On Dec. 12, 2010, the family lost Norma. Junior followed on Sept. 22, 2014. This forced the sisters to readjust to a new life without their best friends.
“They were our rocks and they were our best friends,” Joy said. “Our Mom was the glue to our family and my dad didn’t know a stranger. He was an awesome father.”
The decision to move Annie’s did not come lightly, Jill said. It did not come in the past few months … or even years. The sisters said they simply listened to their customers, many of whom live closer to the Kansas City area.
They also plan to start taking some time off. Jill said she would like time to enjoy the last four years her 14-year-old daughter spends at home. Joy said she hopes to have some time to learn more about herself and her talents.
“We’re ready for more great times, we’re just ready for a new chapter and are excited about doing what we’re doing,” Joy said.
As for now, the business will remain the same. The sisters have put their building up for sale, but do not know when it will sell. At times, they will mark things down and hold sales, Jill said. However, the sisters said they will always take care of everyone who walks through the door. Their parents always did and the sisters plan to always honor them by doing the same.