Craft & Caro has come a long way from the days when Anthony Caro operated the online men’s accessories store out of his childhood home in a Boston ’burb. “You could only walk through a little path, because I had all the inventory in my bedroom,” he says with a laugh. “My parents didn’t want me storing inventory all over the house.”
He’s got plenty of room for copper pens, cherrywood koozies, luxe beard-and-mustache wax, sleek canvas rucksacks and other stylish swag in Craft & Caro’s new 1,660-square-foot store, opening in June in the Innovation and Design Building. Caro already has a small studio at Roxbury’s Market at Casablanc, and he plans to retain that space as a sort of “secret shop,” shifting the inventory to “match more of the alternative youth culture that’s happening in that building.” That leaves him free to channel the new store’s focus in a timeless, refined direction—and expand Craft & Caro’s offerings to include clothing.
“I feel strongly that high-end men’s fashion in Boston is super lacking and there’s a huge hole in the market,” he explains. “With Louis Boston closing, pretty much one of the only options, if you want not-New England preppy clothing, is the Tannery. Boston needs another option.”
Caro wants to carry brands that are hard to find elsewhere in Boston, focusing on Scandinavian lines like Norse Projects and Sandqvist. “We want to bring in really niche, high-end brands,” he says. “That’s another really big part of what we like to do, bring in stuff that you can’t get anywhere else.”
To that end, the new store will also include a periodicals rack, which Caro plans to stock with a selection of rare design and culture magazines from around the world. That the store is multifunctional is key, Caro says, because Craft & Caro may rely on a relatively small pool of regular customers from the Innovation and Design Building’s resident businesses—set to soon include Reebok and America’s Test Kitchen—since the neighborhood doesn’t get a lot of outside foot traffic. “It’ll be a different retail strategy, but we’re excited for that,” he says. “It just means we’ll have to keep it fresh and active in here, so that the same people coming by here every day don’t get bored, so there’s something new to look at.”
One thing they’ll have to look at will be a mini-gallery on two walls of the shop, which will host large-format work by local artists that will rotate every month or two and open with an in-store launch party. The art might expand to national artists as well, as Caro has been in touch with a large pop art gallery with spaces in New York, San Francisco and London about possible future collaborations.
All the art on display will be available for purchase—as will just about everything else. “One of the ideas of the space is that almost everything in the space is for sale,” Caro says. That will include furniture lent by local purveyors as well as decorative elements like locally made terrariums, kokedamas and little cement pots; pop-ups with featured makers are also a possibility. Ultimately, the idea is to make Craft & Caro a dynamic destination for the growing population of young professionals popping up at the sprawling Seaport complex, a former military warehouse now filling up with labs, studios and startups. “They’re trying to make it attractive for young tech professionals, which is really the focus of the building,” Caro says. “We’re part of that.”