Embellish boutique in downtown Chattanooga changes hands after 16 years

Staff photo by Mary Fortune / Embellish owner Terri Holley, left, has sold the business to Ann Trammell Newton, who has been shopping at the store since she was a boarding student at Baylor School.

Having successfully scrambled through the pandemic to keep her business alive, Terri Holley is handing off ownership of the boutique clothing and shoe business she has built over the past 16 years.

"This time last year, I wasn't sure if my business would even survive," said Holley, who sold Embellish in Warehouse Row this week to longtime customer and fashion expert Ann Trammell Newton. "I don't have any plans. I'm going to take a breather."

During 2020, Holley tightened up inventory, cut expenses and positioned the boutique she first launched in 2005 to weather the pandemic crisis. Those moves also made the business a more attractive target for a buyer, she said, and she posted a video to Instagram letting her followers know she was considering a sale.

"I just said, 'I'm hoping someone out there has the same dream I had 16 years ago,'" Holley said.

As it happened, Newton was feeling ready to leave Atlanta, and hoping to shift gears from her styling business, A.T. Style.

"I'm so excited," Newton said. "I was so ready to get out of Atlanta."

Newton, who is from Griffin, Georgia, has been shopping at Embellish since she was a boarding student at Baylor School.

She majored in fashion merchandising at The University of Alabama, and started her career in New York, interning with fashion designers Diane von Furstenberg and Oscar de la Renta. Newton went on to be an account executive for Vince Camuto, and moved in 2017 to Atlanta and launched her business.

Holley first opened Embellish on Frazier Avenue in 2005. She had been working as an independent stylist, and opened Embellish as a boutique shoe store to offer fashion enthusiasts easy access to shoes from top contemporary designers.

In 2009, Embellish moved into a larger space in Warehouse Row, and in 2015, Holley acquired Chattanooga's Willa Collection, a boutique on the North Shore, and combined the two stores at the Warehouse Row location in 2017.

As she considers what's next, Holley said she will remain an avid supporter of the business she created.

"I plan to do everything I can to support Ann Trammell and the business," Holley said. "I will be an ambassador for Embellish."

Contact Mary Fortune at mfortune@timesfreepress.com. Follow her on Twitter at @maryfortune.