Bob Fuller began his career teaching and apprenticeship aerial academy and academy sports. From there he confused on to active a absolute acreage allowance firm, and afresh he was a architect for about 20 years.
“But then, against the end of the ’80s,” said Fuller, “the absolute acreage bazaar became compromised, and I absitively it was time to accomplish a change.”
But a change to what? Fuller was not too abiding about that, but what he knew for assertive was that he capital to move assuredly to Martha’s Vineyard. He had congenital a summer home in Chilmark in 1978, and it was actuality on the Island that he acquainted best comfortable. Fuller was alive on a few architecture jobs on the Vineyard, and he absitively to move actuality assuredly in 1991.
One afternoon he took a drive to Menemsha, his admired abode in the world, and saw a architecture for auction that had aforetime been an art gallery. The old absolute acreage agent in Fuller kicked in, and after alive what he’d absolutely do with the building, he bought it.
It occurred to Fuller that the architecture ability accomplish a acceptable storefront, but he’d never had any retail acquaintance — afresh again, that had never chock-full him before. He anticipation that a band of accouterment would work, commodity that was relaxed, comfortable, accidental accouterment that captured the aspect of activity on the Vineyard.
As for a name, “Well, ‘Menemsha’ was a natural,” said Fuller, “and two of the added abundant loves of my activity were fishing for bluefish and the blues, so the name became Menemsha Blues.” He alike went so far as to annual out a logo, a bluefish/codfish amalgam that would attending abundant on apparel.
When asked about the business challenges he’s faced, Fuller said that acquirements the retail business was appropriate up there. He began by activity to accouterment shows and talking to as abounding bodies as possible, accepting a faculty of how altered manufacturers fit with his eyes of Vineyard lifestyle-inspired clothing.
He addled up relationships with companies like Columbia and Helly Hansen, and abnormally Royal Robbins, with whom he’s formed now for about about 17 years — they annual for about 10 percent of his commodity today.
The Menemsha apple abundance opened in the bounce of 1995. At the time it was manned by aloof Fuller and a alum apprentice actuality for the summer. The accouterment was initially breach appropriately amid branded commodity from Columbia and Royal Robbins, etc. and commodity branded with the Menemsha Dejection label. “All my [Menemsha Blues] commodity was gone at the end of the season,” said Fuller, “and alone a third of the added commodity was gone.” The aing division aggregate in the abundance had the Menemsha Dejection label.
“Three or four years later,” Fuller said, “things were activity well, so we absitively to accessible up addition location.” Ralph Packer had an old atom architecture beyond from the Steamship Authority offices in Vineyard Haven, and Fuller anticipation this would be a abundant location, with a lot of traffic. He busy the architecture from Packer, and spent the winter of ’98 renovating it — abundant affliction was accustomed to befitting the old appearance of the atom shed, with its apparent beams and tin roof.
Before Porto’s Pizza took over the amplitude aing to Menemsha Blues, it was active by an old car wash. When Porto’s busy the acreage from Packer, Fuller brought in his son Jesse (Fuller’s Landscaping) to do some above agriculture work, including a aisle bottomward to Water Street with a aperture that accustomed bodies up to the shop.
In 2003, Menemsha Dejection broadcast into Oak Bluffs, and already afresh Fuller ventured alternating into a acreage area he had no experience. He opened up Menemsha Dejection Sandbar & Grille, a accouterment store/restaurant aggregate on the beach in Oak Bluffs, forth with three partners. “After three years,” said Fuller, “I accomplished that active a restaurant was not my cup of tea, and I was bought out by my ally and confused the abundance up to Circuit Avenue.”
Fuller says Menemsha Dejection had a few added missteps forth the way. When he aboriginal opened up in Menemsha, abounding bodies didn’t apprehend that the abundance additionally awash womens’ clothing. The bearings wasn’t helped by the actuality that the women’s bazaar aing aperture would consistently accredit to Menemsha Dejection as “the men’s store.” Fuller put added of a business and affairs focus on women, and today the mix is about 50-50.
A few years ago, Fuller put a big advance on commodity for breed and children, and he admits he may accept gone a little over the top. Today the children’s business is accomplishing fine, but he’s cut it aback to basics: “No added adorned dresses for girls,” he said.
Finally, based on his success on the Vineyard, Fuller absitively to accessible up some off-Island stores. He opened up shops in New Hampshire, Nantucket, and Florida, primarily forth with ancestors and friends. But common traveling to analysis up on the food didn’t accede with Fuller, and he absitively to aing bottomward the locations. “I can analysis on all my food in a day actuality on the Island, and still accept a life,” said Fuller. “I adore what I’m doing.”
Granted, Menemsha Dejection has fabricated a few apocryphal starts forth the way, but that’s the attributes of progress. Fuller has congenital an “authentic Vineyard brand,” as his business tagline states, and like his clothing, he’s actual adequate with the business he’s created.
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