This may come as a surprise to some, but my wife, Jamie, and I did not initially seek to become caretakers to the most inquisitive monkey in the world. Our story is far more circuitous.
Jamie is an artist, child therapist, and a mother of three young children – Aiden, 8, and our twin girls, Addison and Emerson, 5. Although my professional career has had a functional focus within sales and marketing, one of my brothers summed up, at least my thought process for opening up this store, with, “you were always happiest when doing something entrepreneurial.” And, he’s right. Thus began our quest in 2009-10 to find the right mom-n-pop business for us.
Through our search, we had almost committed to a few other business opportunities along the way, but for one reason or another we decided against each of those ventures.
Then George showed up…
Almost immediately, we fell in love with Curious George, his family of friends, the Rey’s amazing journey to Harvard Square, the store’s location, and the concept’s marketing potential. Now, to make the venture work, we needed to work through a bunch of bedeviling details.
As we developed and communicated our business plan, we needed to navigate a path reliant upon limited assets from our savings, friends and family, and bank loans. For us, success necessitated that the store be called what it is…the world’s only brick and mortar Curious George store. As fortune had it, the institutions responsible for the Curious George branding rights agreed, and granted us this permission.
Jamie and I believed strongly that a viable future in retail required a few other things – as a one-of-a-kind store, we needed to introduce the store as a “destination” store. As Boston visitors come to town seeking out the unique — Freedom Trail, Fenway Park and Faneuil Hall — we needed to make sure that these visitors learn about our store, and the once in a life time opportunity to visit. Additionally, we needed the ability to create unique/collectible merchandise to support this destination experience. Lastly, we wanted a fun, interactive, easily navigable store, for young families, and ensure we had items that resonated with Curious George fans of all ages.
Our dream of opening this store and website would never have leaped off the drawing boards without the support of institutions and individuals that love Curious George, Harvard Square, and understand the unique relationship they share. We remain deeply grateful to representatives of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, NBC Universal, the Harvard Square Business Association, the City of Cambridge, Harvard University, and the Cambridge community.
And to you, thank you for expressing interest in our store and our ecommerce site. We are eager to hear your suggestions on what we could do to make both experiences as enjoyable and fulfilling as possible.
As Jamie often reminds me, stay curious, it is a life-long virtue.