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.”
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.
“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.”
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