It's been a busy few years for Warby Parker. The New York-based eyewear retailer, which first hit the e-commerce scene in 2010 with its at-home try-on service, now operates 15 physical stores around the U.S.--its most recent opened on September 26 in the Georgetown area of Washington, D.C.
After establishing successful month-long pop-up shops at Seattle's downtown Nordstrom flagship and Bellevue Square store, the brand has announced it will open its first standalone store in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood on Saturday, October 3. The Warby Parker Annex, a concept shop with a literary theme, is located at 3501 Fremont Place N (in the former Bliss Boutique space) and will house WP's full assortment of men's and women's eyeglasses and sunglasses to try on in person. (You can also buy non-prescription specs on the spot.)
"Seattle is a great market for us with a very loyal customer base," says Dave Gilboa, WP's co-founder and co-ceo. "We were drawn to Fremont based on its artist community and the coffee shops and bars. It's a unique neighborhood that reminded us of Brooklyn." Gilboa also notes that his sister lives in Issaquah so he's spent a lot of time in and around Seattle.
Beckett frames from WP's fall collection
The Seattle annex store will be the retailer's third--the first opened in New York's Meatpacking District and has since transitioned into a permanent location, while the second (a pool-themed version) is still in operation in Miami. The shop will feature a playful "writer's block" theme, which stems from the company's literary roots: the name Warby Parker comes from names found in old Jack Kerouac journals. There will be a stacked-book window installation and an actual cement block inside on which customers can jot down their own five-word memoirs. You'll also find books for sale from independent publishers such as McSweeny's and New Directions. The reference desk, which debuted in the retailer's Lexington location in Manhattan, is a full-service in-store area where shoppers can pick up their orders, have adjustments made from an optician and chat with WP's retail advisors.
While Gilboa says they're excited to "plant a more permanent presence" here in Seattle, they're unclear on the exact length of time the annex shop will remain open. "It's TBD," he says.
"Opening and running stores is still new to us and we're constantly learning," he says. "It's about hiring the right people and making sure that when a customer walks in every employee is a brand ambassador."
The Warby Parker Annex Store opens on Saturday, October 3 at 3501 Fremont Place N.