Eyewear retailer gets elbow room with larger Washington Avenue storefront
Warby Parker has opened a new stand-alone showroom on Washington Avenue after leaving Askov Finlayson earlier this summer.
The New York-based eyewear retailer’s North Loop store, its first stand-alone location in the Twin Cities, is several times larger than its previous store-within-a-store inside Eric and Andrew Dayton’s menswear boutique located just a few blocks away on 1st Street.
The full-sized store, which opened Aug. 11 in the former home of Roe Wolfe boutique, keeps its library décor with hundreds of books assorted by color for decoration, in addition to several titles that are available for purchase.
Warby Parker offers gender-neutral eyewear and sunglasses arranged by fit and shape. The store is the brand’s first to open with its new line of kids classes, which come in Jr. sizes for kids ages 8 and up and Jr.Jr. sizes for younger children 4–7. The shop carries an exclusive North Loop frame, the brand’s best-selling Haskell frame in a Whiskey Tortoise color with mirrored blue lenses.
Warby Parker hired Bill Rebholz, a New York-based illustrator who graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design to design a mural for the store’s back wall. The piece features the Stone Arch Bridge, cyclists, music and plenty of eyewear, even a pair with three lenses that Prince was known to wear.
The shop will have an in-house optometrist in the back for eye exams. Warby Parker is currently hiring for those positions.
Warby Parker joins a block known for attracting national retailers and e-commerce brands. The stretch of Washington Avenue was home to Kit & Ace, formerly located above where Warby Park is now. In 2016, menswear company Bonobos opened a “guideshop” near the corner of Washington & 2nd. Bike gear retailer Chrome had been in the storefront next to Warby Parker, but it closed the store in 2016.
The brand first opened in Minneapolis in 2015 after bringing its mobile store — a yellow school bus — to the Twin Cities in 2013. The company participates in a buy-one-give-one program, and it says it has distributed more than 4 million pairs of glasses since being founded in 2010.
Warby Parker, at 113 N. Washington Ave., is open 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon–6 p.m. Sunday.