Maggie Mae’s and Nature’s Corner close after more than 40 years

Steve Chapman

Business will continue to cater as owner slows to enjoy semi-retirement
Maggie Mae’s and Nature’s Corner, a tea room and gift shop located in Miller, closed their doors on Saturday, Dec. 29, after more than 40 years in business. Marsha Hill, who owned both businesses, said she decided to close the businesses so she could take a little more time for herself and her husband, Jack.
“I just decided a few months ago, that I just wanted to slow down and enjoy life a little bit more,” she said. “I’d always told people I would work until I couldn’t, but I always thought that was just a little bit silly, not to be able to enjoy life when you got to your ending point.”
Hill started Nature’s Corner, her gift shop, in 1976, about a year after she and Jack moved into the area from Nebraska. When she started the business, she sold plants, gift items, and ceramics she made herself. Then, in 1996, she added Maggie Mae’s, her tea room.
Hill mentioned that when she opened Maggie Mae’s, she began with a simple lunch menu.
“I started out with just sandwiches and soup,” she said.
 “And then, as time went on, I started adding … quiche and other specials. Now, 22 years later, in the tea room, I was serving a lot of different things. I had different specials (on) certain days, and then we still had our regular menu.”
Most small business go under before five years, and Hill acknowledged the odds were against her keeping her doors open in a small town.
“(Cheryl Reynolds) used to tell me, ‘When you’re starting a business, location, location, location is the key for survival.’ And then, Cheryl would always say, ‘And, there’s Maggie Mae’s.’ Because, I was against all odds of surviving. I was in a small town, (and) I was not on a main road. I was a destination point.”
Hill attributes the longevity of Maggie Mae’s and Nature’s Corner to her being willing to do whatever it took to stay in business.
“Hard work, dedication, passion, all of that is what it takes to survive,” she said. “A lot of people don’t want to put that much dedication into a job.”
For Hill, the hardest part about closing Maggie Mae’s and Nature’s Corner was having to say goodbye to her customers.
“I think, through the years, you make friends with most of your customers, and I enjoyed that part,” she said. “Just visiting with the customers. I had a lot of good customers, and many, many of them have been coming since the very beginning of the tea room.”
With more personal time, Hill said she and Jack plan to do more of the things they enjoy.
“We would like to do some traveling, and we have our little vintage campers, and my husband has his vintage truck, and we love to go camping with them,” she said.
While she is taking it a bit easier, Hill isn’t going to retire completely. She plans to continue catering out of the kitchen of her shop. Her business is now called Maggie Mae’s Catering.
Maggie Mae’s Catering, Hill said, has a variety of menus, and can cater for a large variety of events.
“I do weddings, reunions, and birthdays, and all kinds of things,” she said.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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