A 'pop-and-pop-run business' thrives

Marc Gurton, co-owner, of 13Forest Gallery at 167A Mass. Ave., Capitol Square in East Arlington, met me between snowstorms. He and his husband, Jim Kiely, share ownership of 13Forest. His cozy gallery is just a block walk from the Capitol Theater; all items are made by hand.

I wanted to know how 13Forest had grown from its original location in Medford Square to East Arlington.

"Building relationships with artists" and being a "family business" are what fulfill Gurton. It’s a "pop-and-pop-run business," he says, as the co-owners collaborate in all respects.

Following a successful 20-year career in corporate accounting, Gurton felt his enthusiasm for his job wane, and a need for a change was inevitable. In 2006, the New York native was fortunate to have the time and finances to visit friends in England, France, Ireland, Italy and Tunisia.

Gurton planned the February trip that year to coincide with the three-day St. Agatha festival in Catania in Sicily, near Mount Aetna. Standing up for her faith to the Romans, St. Agatha is known as “the patron saint” of breast-cancer survivors and firefighters. He vividly recalls the 2006 festival, as men in white tunics and black hats led a procession of hundreds of thousands through the streets.

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