The Ryan Sisters and history of Hartsville Hollow
The shop which became known as Hartsville Hollow started out as a dream of three sisters, long interested in supporting and promoting the work of local artists and craftsman. The sisters, Sheila Richer, Molly Gray and Eileen Ryan, all retired or semi-retired professionals had long explored possible locations which would work as a special space for their enterprise.
One day while driving along Route 5 between Fayetteville and Chittenango, they found the perfect spot – the 1850's one-room limestone schoolhouse standing vacant, just waiting for them. The building, listed on the national register of historic places, is nestled in the tiny hamlet of Mycenae, which used to be called Hartsville. Hence the name Hartsville Hollow.
It was late spring 2010 when the lease was signed and the trio set an ambitious goal of an opening date of September 1st. Display pieces had to be procured, bugs and spiders had to be evicted, floors painted, walls washed, etc. etc. Oh, and those windows!
Town and Village rule and regulation challenges were surmounted and conquered at last and signs were ready to be hung.
All that had to be done was to gather the artists. This created some anxiety at first. What if no one was interested in working with us? Before we knew it, people were coming to us bringing their wonderful works of art with them, entrusting them to us.
On September 1st, 2010, the signs were up and the doors opened to the public. Since then Hartsville Hollow has welcomed over 100 artists to work with us. Customers as well as craftspepole have become friends. We are now starting our second year and are looking to more adventure and even more success.
Sheila Richer is a retired teacher, having spent thirty six years with the children of the Syracuse City School District. Since retirement she has enjoyed spending her time in her gardens and catching up on her reading.
Six years ago her son Doug and daughter-in-law Shannon gave her the greatest gift ever - her grandson, Ian. Since then her life has been full of adventure and new discoveries every day.
Sheila also has had fun with working with jewelry, calling her creations "Shenanigans by Sheila". Stop in to Hartsville Hollow and say "Hi!" and join in the "shenanigans".
Molly Gray lives with her husband Ken Graty in Minoa, NY. Both she and Ken are retired, she as an educator and he as a research and development engineer at Carrier Corporation. Both are well known in the community for their charitable works and community involvement.
They have raised two daughters, Ann and Clare. They also have two grandchildren, Sylvia and Rowan. Clare and her husband, Kevin Chick, and the two children live just across the road from the shop!
Both Molly and Ken are talented artists. Molly enjoys folk art projects and Ken works in wood. Both produce the fanciful and remarkable. Stop in and visit. You'll make a new friend.
Eileen Ryan is the youngest of the three sisters and the only semi-retired of us. She divides her time between the shop and teaching in the general studies department at OCC. She did retire from being a full time professional at Hutchings Psychiatric Center, but sitting still is not an option.
She has one son, Zachary, who is studying at Binghamton University in Engineering, and share a house in the Valley area in Syracuse with Sheila.
Not only does she dabble in varied art projects but we have teasingly named her our CFO, our Chief Financial Officer, since she has a much better head for business than her sisters.