St. John Tradewinds News

Nest Closing Shop at The Marketplace, Expected To Re-Open in New Location

Nest owner Missie Hensel hopes to reopen by November in a new spot.

After seven years of providing top-notch gifts and essentials for the home, body and spirit, Missie Hensel is closing the doors to her popular shop at the end of June.

Nest, located on the second floor of The Marketplace, has been the go-to destination for everything from letter press stationary to eco-friendly bamboo clothing since Hensel opened the shop on December 2, 2004.

Hensel’s lease will expire at the end of June and the last day to stock up on all those Nest needs, like Caldrea dish soap, Pacifica candles and Mole Skin notebooks, will be Friday, June 24.

If all goes well, however, Nest fans will only have to wait a few months before being able to shop for everyone on their holiday lists.

“I’ll be closed for a couple of months,” said Hensel. “I’d love to everyone to get their Nest fix before it temporarily closes while I’m in the process of negotiating a new space.”

While Hensel declined to share Nest’s expected new location, it will not be in The Marketplace shopping complex, she explained.

“I can’t say,” said the Nest owner about the new store location. “But look for Nest in a bigger and better space, probably by October or November.”

With an even bigger space and larger square footage, Hensel is excited to be able to expand her offerings and she’s hoping to hear what her customers would like to see in the store.

“I’d love to get suggestions from customers about what they would like to see, in addition to the regular Nest line up,” said Hensel. “This is part of the fun. I hope to have this new bigger space and I have so many ideas to fill it.”

A former sales representative for stationary and gift cards, Hensel vacationed regularly on St. John and discovered there was a niche not being filled.

“I had been coming down here for six years from Maine on vacation,” said Hensel. “I was a sales rep for a stationary and gifts company and I love cards. I felt like there was a niche for locals and tourists in that vein.”

With her belief and determination and loyal dog Goya — who passed away in March — by her side, Hensel took the leap to entrepreneurship back when there were few tenants in The Marketplace.

“I had it in mind that I wanted to open my own store,” said the Nest owner. “So I took the space in The Marketplace, sight unseen. I had no idea what the outcome would be.”

“The space was a bare metal structure,” she said.

Hensel turned that bare space into a beach cottage that seemed to jump right off the cover of Coastal Living.

“I designed a cottage with beams and wainscotting,” she said. “I shopped for the whole store and had not even seen the store.”

While she never actually saw the physical space of Nest before ordering the first line of merchandise, Hensel crafted a story line of what would be in the shop and then brought that vision to reality.

“I kind of created my story of what was going to be there,” said the Nest owner. “That is what I love to do, putting together this story and making things work.”

It might be the calming blue hues carried throughout the store, or the aromatherapy candles or the dainty jewelry or the lacy lingerie, but customers know that distinctive “Nest” feeling as soon as they walk through the doors.

“It’s a peaceful place to be and people feel comfortable,” Hensel said about the shop. “There are no pushy salespeople and people can casually walk around and just look at things.”

Usually a browse through Nest will send one to the counter with at least that perfect birthday card or maybe a new Ranifly Bikini. It’s hard not to find something to take home at Nest, to which Hensel’s many loyal customers can attest.

“I have such a loyal following and I am grateful for everyone who comes through the door,” said Hensel. “My locals are great and I have repeat tourists who come in every year.”

Now with seven years in the business under her belt, Hensel has learned to trust herself and keep a dedicated sales team in the store, she explained.

“I learned to trust my gut, that my taste will appeal to other people and people appreciate my taste,” said Hensel. “I like to surround myself with beautiful things and I love having a beautiful place to shop. I couldn’t have done any of this though without my staff.”

Looking back, Hensel is thankful for being able to launch Nest at The Marketplace and looking ahead, she seems as excited as a school girl about the possibilities for a new space.

“I am grateful for The Marketplace,” she said. “They were great for me getting started but I am expanding and I need to take that next step. I look forward to the moment when I can once again greet all my friends, new and old, and the only thing different will be the doors.”

No matter where Hensel opens Nests’ new doors, the store’s first location on the second floor of The Marketplace will always bring memories of her beloved Goya.

“Goya was such a part of that store,” said Hensel. “He was in there every day and people would come in just to see Goya. Or Goya would go out into the hallway and bring people inside.”

Be sure to stock up on all those Nest needs before June 24. For more information call 715-2552 and be sure to email Hensel at missie@nestvi.com to tell her what should fill the new Nest.