Douglas Stock, who started up D.B. Stock antique carpets with wife Helen in 1985, says he hopes the departure of their Washington Street store in Wellesley this June will serve as a wake-up call for the town about its growing loss of independent businesses and serve as a reminder for residents to consider doing more local shopping.
“Wellesley has changed a great deal during our many years here. Largely gone are the days of independently-owned boutiques. In their place are large, national chains, real estate offices, banks, salons and pizza places. Did I mention real estate offices and banks? Given that Ann Taylor and Clarks have recently departed, and that Talbots had given up part of their space some time ago, perhaps town residents do not even support the national chains,” says Stock, who grew up in Natick and used to shop in Wellesley with his mother at a host of unique stores such as Olken’s and a pre-national chain Filene’s.
Stock acknowledges that D.B. Stock has always attracted many of its clients from other parts of the United States, having exhibited at antiques shows and done national advertising. But he said it was stunning last year to see that it got the same number of new clients from southern California as it did from Wellesley.
“When I realized that toward the end of last year, it was essentially the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Stock says.
“Why furnish an investment? Instead of familiarizing themselves with art and antiques, many affluent younger people now farm everything out to decorators,” Stock says. “Many of the decorators go wherever they receive the biggest commission (generally meaning places with high mark-ups) and where their job is made easier by doing a bland, cookie-cutter beige room.” He adds that many “formal” rooms today in this area have defaulted to last generation Crate & Barrel or Ikea furniture.