MATTOON -- The Picket Fence gift shop is scheduled to close at the end of the year after 29 years in business as longtime owner Peggy Kepp prepares to retire.
The store owner and her employees, Pat Beasley and Kathy Gandolfi, are now in the midst of holding a closing sale for the jewelry and accessories, handbags, apparel, insulated cups, candles, baby gifts, home decor, gourmet items and other mercandise that fill The Picket Fence, 901 Broadway Ave.
Kepp said she has always enjoyed going to gift shop markets to find the latest product lines and arranging her merchandise into colorful displays on her sales floor. After she retires, Kepp said she will miss doing this work and seeing the many customers that she has become acquainted with over the years.
"I enjoy the people. I enjoy the customers," Kepp said of her time at The Picket Fence.
Dr. Phil Kepp said his wife has developed a lot of loyal customers over the years. Dr. Kepp added that she has helped many husbands select anniversary, birthday and Christmas gifts for their wives.
"She has the knack of knowing just what the suggest, just the right thing," Dr. Kepp said. "She knows what to buy at markets."
Kepp, now sole owner of The Picket Fence, joined with her friends Shelley Hunt and Carolyn Suerdieck to start this gift shop in 1989 in the three-level house at 901 Broadway.
The Picket Fence also has hosted the annual Herb Festival in April for many years at the southwest corner of Broadway and Ninth Street. The Picket Fence assumed the hosting responsibilities from festival founders Fran Foster and Paula Gordon of the former Weed Barn shop.
In addition, The Picket Fence has collaborated with neighboring gift shops along Broadway to take part in the Herb Festival and offer a destination shopping area for customers.
Kepp said her husband retired from his dental practice in July, so she decided it was time for her to retire, as well. She said they look forward to having more free time. Kepp said they plan to travel, visit their family, play more golf, and take care of chores at home in their retirement.
The Picket Fence is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday each week. More information about the gift shop is available by calling 217-258-6364 or visiting The Picket Fence in Mattoon page on Facebook.