Jef Anderson and Noel Eberline, owners of Forest Park’s Yearbook Studios, have leased a new space just off Madison Street, 408 Thomas Ave., as the pair continues to work on transitioning their business away from retail and into design. 

As reported by the Review, Yearbook, which opened in 2011, announced Aug. 10 it would be shutting down its Madison Street shop in early September. More and more, Anderson said, Yearbook’s design business, which includes work with other local shops like the Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor, has been expanding. 

The need for additional design space, which in their current location is tucked away in the back of the store, was the impetus for the move. The new shop should be open around the end of September, Anderson said.  

“The intention was always to have a retail design business combined with a studio,” Anderson said in an Aug. 19 phone call. “Over the course of the six years, the design stuff has just taken off in a way that neither one of us was expecting. The design focus just seems to be the way of the future for us. We decided it was time to say farewell to the store.”

The Aug. 10 closing announcement quickly garnered lots of reaction, including dozens of comments on social media.

The pair wanted to stay in Forest Park and cited a strong relationship with customers and the local business community. Anderson said they didn’t want to reconfigure the existing space. 

“We were looking for a brand new slate for us,” he said. “We wanted to start fresh.”

The new space will be an open format with design desks and a large conference area, Anderson said. 

“We’ll be able to move around the furniture really easy,” he said. “I’m really excited about it. It’s just so much room.”

The Thomas Avenue location faces Constitution Court and was formerly a dry cleaners. 

“One thing we especially love that’s super unique it’s all open windows in the front and there’s light coming in from the back,” Eberline said of the new space. “It just feels super open and airy.”

Yearbook’s current store manager, Anderson said, will most likely be “moving on.” But a junior designer who works with Anderson will be making the transition. 

Shedding the retail portion of the business will allow the group to be “more lean” and invest in design equipment, like computers. 

He said Yearbook hopes to continue some of its “signature events,” including its so-called “study halls” in the new space.