When Jef Anderson and Noel Eberline open their Madison Street shop later this year, their primary goal will be to make customers feel good about the space they enter.
Pleasure will likely permeate anyone whose home accessorizing tastes are partial to mid-20th-century found objects and knickknacks. You can categorize the store’s inventory of home furnishings as vintage, academic or utilitarian, both Anderson and Eberline said.
“It’s more of a lifestyle store,” said Eberline. “You’re going to feel like you’re in a unique space.”
The Oak Park couple is calling their business Yearbook, located at 7316 Madison St., in Forest Park, where the knitting store Chix with Stix is currently situated.
“It’s named for the various time periods and styles … that are essentially going to be morphed together,” said Anderson.
Eberline and Anderson have gone to great lengths to garner Yearbook’s wares and are reluctant to elaborate on the cross-country “buying trips” they have embarked upon to amass the inventory. They have apparently built a nationwide network of sellers and locations and are hell-bent on keeping it all a secret, perhaps for fear of encroaching competition.
“I can say we look far outside of Chicago,” said Anderson in a recent phone interview. He and Eberline were at the tail-end of a weekend buying trip during the Easter holiday. To no avail, we prodded the furtive gatherer for information on his whereabouts.
“Literally some of the stuff could be coming out of a closing warehouse or from an Amish farm or from someone’s barn,” said Eberline in an earlier conversation.
He emphasized that they have scoured the country to find these objects and did most of the work to acquire them.
“We become aware of things and we seek things out,” Eberline said.
Anderson said he and Eberline, his partner of eight years, have wanted to open a business like this for some time. Anderson is a graphic designer who has worked as a stylist and designer for Bloomingdale’s and Marshall Field’s, and has done some consulting on eco-friendly design projects. Eberline is a project manager at a tech company.
Anderson said he thinks Forest Park’s Madison Street commercial strip is the right location for the pair’s first business venture: visually, conceptually and economically. The rent is practical, the store space will accommodate their business and there is enough room to offer the home-design consulting service that will also be a component of Yearbook.
“The office in the back will double for a design office. … If we are working with clients we can bring them in there and talk,” Anderson said.
“We want people to come into the store and love how they feel in the space because it’s engaging,” Eberline said.
Anderson and Eberline will move into the space on July 1, but Yearbook is tentatively slated to open in September.