Bobby from Boston’s Legacy Continues

Bobby Garnett's daughter Jessica runs her late father's South End store.
bobby from boston

Photo by Emily Sotomayor

Many of us knew that he had been sick for a long time, but when news came of Bobby Garnett’s death, a collective gasp could be heard around the city.

Garnett was a beloved figure in this town, and not only because of the well-curated vintage clothing and accessories he brought to our shelves, but also because of his constant smile and endless ability to chat with strangers. Those whose regular weekend routine included visits to Garnett’s South End store, Bobby from Boston, wondered what would become of his extensive collection. Thankfully, on this front, we can now exhale, because Bobby’s daughter Jessica Garnett Carrion has agreed to carry on his legacy.

It wasn’t a decision that came easily. After all, she grew up being awoken morning after morning in the dark hours to scour flea markets with her dad.

“His whole life revolved around this business, so I wanted to do my own thing. At one time I wanted to be a chef! But working here and going to the shows and meeting people, it’s growing on me,” Carrion says.

Not that she’s a stranger to the world her father inhabited. She’s been working at the store since 1998, and before that she has memories “as a kid of always running around the stores on Newbury Street and in Allston.” Carrion even spent time in Montreal, when her father had a store there. “I went for a month and worked there. I even learned some French,” she says.

bobby from boston 2

Photo by Emily Sotomayor

Now that she’s at the helm, Carrion wants to respect her father’s vision, but implement some of her own ideas as well. “I’ve been trying to figure out how to keep the store the same as it was, with his ideas, but also with my ideas now too,” she says.

One big change she made was to close the smaller space adjacent to the main room where the women’s clothing was previously displayed. A furniture store will occupy that space in the coming months. But this doesn’t mean Bobby’s will no longer carry women’s vintage—quite the opposite: Carrion has dedicated the back of the store, a space originally used for storage, to women’s apparel and accessories. She took down a wall and moved around some cases, and the result is a store that’s more open and filled with light.

“Women would walk in and say ‘Oh, it’s just a men’s store,’ and walk out. I see people come in now and they walk straight back to the women’s section. They can see from the front of the store to the back. They can take everything in at once,” Carrion says.

She also has plans to make the store easier to shop by rotating stock seasonally. And someday, she wants to start designing.