Photo by Eric Best

Eyewear retailer Warby Parker will stay in North Loop after leaving Askov Finlayson

Updated: July 2, 2018 - 11:55 am

Eyeglass shop is going out on its own after three years as a store-within-a-store concept

National eyewear retailer Warby Parker plans to open its own North Loop store after operating a store-within-a-store partnership inside Askov Finlayson for the past three years.

Warby Parker said Thursday that it will close its 250-square-foot showroom in Eric and Andrew Dayton’s men’s apparel and lifestyle brand later this year. The new location will be on North Washington Avenue in the neighborhood.

Eric Dayton said he was happy to see that the retailer won’t move far.

“It’s a great indication of the strength of the neighborhood that they see the opportunity to expand within the (North Loop),” he said. “Warby is the type of national brand presence that is going to be important to other brands and retailers that are considering the neighborhood.”

Photo courtesy of Warby Parker
Photo courtesy of Warby Parker

The partnership with Askov Finlayson was the eyewear brand’s first brick-and-mortar presence in the state. Since joining the neighborhood, e-commerce menswear brand Bonobos opened a “guideshop” showroom in the North Loop near Washington & 2nd.

Dayton said that Askov will fill the space with its own products. The boutique recently hired Christopher Windham, previously a senior designer at Under Armour, to be its design director. He said the brand is expanding into outdoor apparel and gear.

Dayton said Warby Parker’s leave will come at a good time for both companies. Askov, he said, is bursting a bit at the seams.

“We weren’t in any hurry to see them go, but it was the right timing for us and the right timing for them,” he said. “We’re at the point where we’ll take all the space we can get.”

Dayton said the boutique’s biggest room for growth is online sales. The brand partnered with Target earlier this year to launch a North-inspired collection that was sold exclusively at 40 Minnesota department stores around the time of the Super Bowl and Great Northern Festival. The collection of more than 50 items sold out.

“It was an interesting test of what it looks like to bring Askov out of our single retail location and extend it beyond the North Loop,” he said.

Askov Finlayson is located at 204 N. 1st St. next door to the Dayton brothers’ Bachelor Farmer restaurant and café and Marvel Bar. The Warby Parker showroom is open 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sunday.