WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2013

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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[forum] R O B E R T T O TA R O writer BOB TOTARO and his wife Phyllis have owned J. Todd Galleries in Wellesley since 1982. onto our day jobs and hired two women with art history backgrounds. We spent A Reflection Upon Doing Business in Wellesley every evening and weekend working with them, without them, around them, beside them, and behind them as Phyllis and I put in a solid year of 100-hour work weeks. Our two instructions to our co-workers it was the middle of the night, and I had kept my wife Phyllis awake for about the one were simple: Listen carefully to the cus- hundredth time grumbling about my job. "One of these days, I'm going to resign and open an art tomers, and don't turn down any request. gallery," I said. Having heard this on too many occasions, she finally called my bluff, forced me Our idea was to learn everything we could out of bed, and insisted, "So, then let's get up, get dressed, and go find a location for your new and to stretch our capabilities as much as venture!" I apologized for keeping her up and promised to be quiet and let her sleep. But she possible. I can honestly report that today we couldn't have been more serious and within a half hour we were cruising through Wellesley are still listening and learning and stretch- Square at 3:00 in the morning. That trip to Wellesley was the beginning of what has been (so far) ing and growing. a 31-year-long "ride." In the early days, our Wellesley and The only open retail space in town at the time was what is now our front showroom. We Weston customers asked for goods and learned later that the tenant, a clock shop owner, had abandoned the space just two hours earlier. services that we didn't offer. Thanks to The next day I contacted the landlord, who promptly turned me away as he didn't want to sign their ideas and encouragement, we gradu- on a brand-new business. I met with him again and yet again and was still unsuccessful at win- ally expanded our repertoire to include art ning him over. I begged for one more meeting and showed up at his office with a full year's rent restoration, appraisal, more complex pic- in a stack of $100 bills, which I counted out aggressively on his desktop. I finally had his atten- ture framing services, estate liquidations, tion, and we were off and running. and a full line of corporate art consultation Today we occupy the spaces that had previously been held by five separate businesses and we services. We l l e s l e y We s t o n M a g a z i n e | f a l l 2 0 1 3 are one of the longest-term tenants in our building. We opened the doors on August 2, 1982 with As we now interview prospective new just 43 pieces in inventory, numbered 1 through 43. Today our inventory numbers are well past owners of the business, and we explain the 45,000. Our "ride" to Wellesley has been wonderful indeed! evolution that has occurred, a couple of As much as Phyllis and I loved art and had collected it actively in the twelve years prior to opening the gallery, we knew little or nothing about the art business. So for the first year, we held 46 things have become crystal clear to us. First, we're realizing just how important the

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