In the early 1990s, Jenny Hill was working as a nurse. In her spare time, she enjoyed sewing and helping friends decorate their homes. She and a neighbor, also a nurse, have attended a fabric show in Atlanta before and came back with more fabric than they needed. Much more. Hill sold it in his house and in a flea market, while working and raising two young children. The initial $ 1,000 investment in the hardware officially surpassed his hobby status when his accountant advised him, “Come in or out.”
Hill opened Interior Yardage in 1994 on Southland Drive. She has walked the street several times. The first location was on the second floor of an office building, until Hill realized that “no one wants to go up the stairs, including me,” she said.
In 2001, the opportunity arose to purchase a building in the 300 block of Southland Drive. Hill and her husband, Chuck Hill, had a few rental properties at the time, which they sold and invested the profits in the building and parking lot behind.
Within a year of moving into its new location, Interior Yardage had surpassed what Hill could handle on her own. She needed to hire someone to run the business while she looked after customers, products and projects. “It was a monumental task, to find someone to hand over all your money to,” she said. So Chuck quit his job in medical sales and joined her in the business.
“We quickly found out that the first year of marriage wasn’t as difficult as the first year of working together,” she said with a laugh.
They have five to seven employees at all times who manufacture window treatments, offer design advice, and sell lamps, artwork, home decor accessories, storage furniture, and upholstery. Lee Sharp, Liz Rose and Dana Mayborg have been with the company for over 20 years. “A lot of people think Lee owns the business,” Hill said.
“It was fun to watch it evolve, because if you’re buying draperies, there’s a good chance you need a lamp to go with it,” she said. “Because Lexington is centrally located and there are so many communities around us that don’t provide this type of service, we get a lot of business out of town. It’s great to serve a lot of outlying communities.
Interior Yardage was hired to line the benches and motorized curtains at the Marriott Residence Inn at City Center during its construction in downtown Lexington. Hill has also undertaken some projects for banks over the years, but the bulk of his clientele is residential, local and regular. Some have second homes in Florida or South Carolina, which bring measurements to Interior Yardage for custom hangings. “The drapes are easily shipped,” Hill said. “We have carried out many projects outside the city.
Some of her customers today were children in the 1990s. They remember playing in the back corner of the store while their mothers were shopping. “We have now entered the second generation of Interior Yardage customers,” Hill said. “That’s wonderful.”
Last year, as people stayed at home, Hill’s business saw an increase in new projects and new clients. “They wanted their personal space to be more and more comfortable and aesthetic,” she said. “We have been very, very busy. “
There are inventory issues, however, with some materials being out of stock for months – foam, for one, and embroidered fabrics from India – and some of the checkout furniture that was out of stock for 18 weeks is now out of stock. at 26 weeks. . Hill is patient and conveys this calm to clients.
She grew up on a farm in Bourbon County, where she learned a strong work ethic early on. “I’ve been taught that if you want to do a job, you do it right. I’ve been taught to be honest and take pride in what you do, and if you don’t do it right then don’t do it at all.
One of Hill’s goals each year has been to open an account with a new supplier when she goes to market, ensuring that she never runs out of a skill set or of a particular product. “We have a strong network of Southland Drive business owners. Businesses thrive here, ”she said. “There’s this theory that Southland Drive could be the next Chevy Chase, and I hope so. We have lovely houses.
A few years ago, a client asked Hill if she would be interested in selling her business. She wasn’t interested at the time, but the idea was planted. Now she’s ready to think about it. Her eldest son lives in Austin, Texas with the Hills’ new granddaughter. “I can’t wait to be a grandmother with her; I want to be able to go visit her and get to know me, ”she said.
Business is good and family is even better. “We have been blessed, that’s all I can tell you,” she said.