Winnetka, Community

Closing time for Ellen’s on Elm — Winnetka’s 15-year-old unique gift shop

Fifteen years ago, Ellen Holthaus decided it was time to be her own boss.

Now, that time is over.

Within the next few weeks, Holthaus will close her unique and beloved gift shop, Ellen’s on Elm, 847 Elm St., just west of Chestnut Street in downtown Winnetka.

“It’s definitely bittersweet,” she said. “It’s been a great journey, but I am kind of ready. I’ve been working very, very hard and I’m anxious to get my life back.

“I know I want to work, but I’m ready to give up my own business. Let somebody else be the boss for a while.”

Ellen Holthaus opened her shop on Elm Street 15 years ago.

Holthaus said Ellen’s on Elm will close in late November or early December, depending on the progress of the shop’s liquidation sale. Currently, everything in the shop — from the engraved cutting boards to the shelving units — are significantly discounted.

Ellen’s on Elm made its mark offering original gifts often referencing towns on the North Shore, such as a kitchen towel that says “Christmas in Glencoe” and a cocktail class with Winnetka’s zip code, 60093.

Holthaus said Ellen’s on Elm — led by store manager Virginia — carefully curated the selection, working with various companies that provide custom work.

“Together we’d come up with ideas and create new things customers would be excited about and I would say we achieved that,” Holthaus said.

Many of those customers have made recent stops to Ellen’s on Elm, visiting Holthaus and her team since they heard of the store’s closing.

While Holthaus is looking forward to retirement and finding a new adventure, the recent customer visits serve as a reminder to the impact her shop has made in town.

Ellen’s on Elm will remain open during November and maybe December during a liquidation sale.

“The customer support has been phenomenal,” she said. “The customers who come in the door now to express thanks and gratitude has kind of been overwhelming for me. I knew we were a great sthop but when I hear it in platitudes all day long it really is hitting home.

“I think I am leaving something that will be missed and I appreciate that.”

The Record is a nonprofit, nonpartisan community newsroom that relies on reader support to fuel its independent local journalism.

Subscribe to The Record to fund responsible news coverage for your community.

Already a subscriber? You can make a tax-deductible donation at any time.

joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

Related Stories