Yearbook celebrated its fourth birthday at 7316 W. Madison St., on Sept. 10. The gala was supposed to include an outdoor showing of Back to the Future, but that was canceled due to rain. But that didn’t keep a steady stream of visitors from congratulating Jef Anderson and Noel Eberline, on reaching their milestone. They also ate cake and gave a pat to Henry, the English bulldog, who serves as the store’s mascot and who had just turned 3.

When the partners first launched the store, their business was primarily retail. “Basically the concept of the store was a combination of vintage and modern products, arranged to create a comfortable aesthetic,” Anderson explained. “From that, the design studio started to grow.” Now design has risen to the forefront.

“The library is one of our clients,” Anderson mentioned. “We did the logo for their ‘Summer of Exploration’ which gave exposure to the library at various Forest Park businesses. They also hired us to do designs for their centennial.” 

Yearbook’s other in-town clients include Old School, Forest Printing and Team Blonde. “We just finished doing the Chamber of Commerce website,” Anderson said, “It was an outdated site and we created a new logo and brand. We’re creating a strong brand for the whole business district.”

Yearbook isn’t limited to on-line design; they’ve been designing their own line of products. For example, they added vintage logos to China plates produced by America’s oldest dishware company, Homer Laughlin. They sell glasses with the Red Owl logo from a long-gone grocery store. 

“We also have our Volstead Glass series,” Anderson said, bearing Prohibition-era slogans. Their Time/Being books, a “journal of self,” bearing Henry’s bulldog icon, were produced by Forest Printing.

“We also bottle our own maple syrup,” Anderson said proudly. He described Yearbook as “partly a nostalgia shop.” But it decidedly is not an antique store. There is no clutter and the products are arranged in a well-ordered fashion. Product presentation is paramount. 

“We’re known for our window displays,” Anderson said, “especially our holiday display. The vibe is great during the fall and holiday season. We try to make a happy environment for everybody, friendly and familiar. We’re hoping to develop a unique brand that will go beyond the store someday.” 

Yearbook is part of a new wave of Forest Park businesses that reject the corporate model. Although he learned his trade in the corporate world, Anderson did not want to continue designing products he didn’t care about. He wanted a place that sold unique, high-quality products and offered imaginative designs. 

The two librarians he had worked with on the “Summer of Exploration” attended the celebration and enjoyed some birthday cake. Magan Szwarek is the adult services manager and Alicia Hammond is the community engagement librarian. They noted that 30 people came for the June showing of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off at Yearbook. 

Though the outdoor movie season is rapidly coming to a close, they are still hoping to show Back to the Future at Yearbook, before the snows come.

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.