Notes From the Field: Front is Back

November 18, 2013

By Cheryl Katz

Sixty is the new forty. Biodynamic is the new Bordeaux. Orange is the new black.  And Front, located at 25 Channel Center in Boston’s Innovation District is the new…Front.

Let me explain. Bob’s Your Uncle founders Martin and Michele Yeeles opened their charming shop a few years back as a way to showcase the pairs’ witty products and to utilize an unused portion of their office space. (The design and general operation of their wholesale gift company happened in the back of the space leaving the front for retail, hence the shop’s name.) Still with me?

But as the Yeeles’ product line grew and their wholesale business flourished, running a retail store became increasingly difficult.

Which brings us to the new Front. As very good luck would have it, at just about the same time the Yeeles realized that there plate was more than full, their friend, Laura Sabolefski, returned from a stint on the west coast where she had been the buyer for The Gardener in Berkeley, California. That imprimatur, along with Sabolefski’s years of experience as the manager, merchandiser, and general honcho at Black Ink (along with that store’s founder Susan Corcoran) made Sabolefski just the right person to take over the retail reins.

I visited the store just about three weeks into Sabolefski’s tenure there where I found her hard at work repainting walls, repurposing fixtures, and reimagining the stores layout, to accommodate her display ideas – she’s a merchandising master. As for the merchandise itself, along with the Yeeles beloved products, Sabolefeski hopes to add hand- made, artisan produced – or as she succinctly puts it, “heirloom quality” – pieces to the mix. Though she protested that it was “a bit too soon” I convinced her to share a sneak preview of what to expect at the new Front.