Boutique shopping in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.
By Hope S. Philbrick
Hillyer House is an award-winning gallery established in 1970 by the Hillyer-Reed family. Owner Paige Riley collects exceptional works of art from over 400 local, regional and national artists.
I recently talked by phone with Susannah Snyder, manager, to learn more.
What’s the history of the store?
It’s a third generation family store. It used to be located elsewhere. After Hurricane Camille, when so many people lost their homes, the current owner’s aunt started selling furniture out of her own house–it was literally the Hillyer house; years later was turned into a business.
How do you choose the artists?
All of our artists are North American, lots are from the Gulf Coast and across the state of Mississippi. A lot of artists we’ve been carrying for over 30 years. We hear about artists through word of mouth, people come in with their work, or we attend artists’ markets.
How many items do you have for sale on average?
We literally just finished a store-wide inventory! We have a really big gallery and between all our artwork, jewelry, pottery and more we have around 5,000 items, ranging from really big to small pieces. We have a wide variety.
Do you carry a particular style of artwork?
We have a lot of coastal themed artwork. We also have a lot of glasswork and a lot of classic pottery that never really goes out of style.
How often do you get new things?
Shipments arrive almost every day of the week, whether it’s a small box or ten boxes from artists across country. We probably get about seven new orders a week.
Where else would you send a shopper in Ocean Springs?
We always send people to The Walter Anderson Museum of Art. We also talk a lot about food in here, there are lots of good restaurants.
Any insider tips for shoppers?
Take your time around the store. Next to collections we have biographies and pictures of the artists. Oftentimes, the story behind a work is what makes it special. Take time to read and you may see a piece of art in a different light once you know the backstory. It’s fun to take it all in.
920 Washington Ave.
Ocean Springs, Mississippi
– Photos courtesy Hillyer House