Here’s What You’ll Find at Warby Parker’s New Center City Location
Warby Parker is finally coming home. The Wharton-founded eyewear company will officially open its first full size brick-and-mortar store this coming Saturday, January 28th.
The permanent location, which will stock their popular wallet-friendly eyeglasses, will be at 1523 Walnut Street, the former Le Bec-Fin space. Once solely an e-commerce retailer, the brand’s continued expansion is proving that it can offer a mix of online and offline retail.
Warby Parker’s arrival and permanent presence here in Philly has been a long time coming—the brand came together over some drinks at Center City’s now defunct Roosevelt Pub and the team’s first showroom was at co-founder Neil Blumenthal’s Walnut Street apartment. They’ve been headquartered in New York City ever since and expanding abroad, but in Philly their presence has been limited to a small showroom in Old City’s Art in the Age boutique, where customers can try on frames and order them online. Last summer they brought “Class Trip” to The Oval, a school bus transformed into a library-like showroom of frames.
But after catapulting the company into the startup unicorn club—they’re estimated to be valued at over $1 billion—the entrepreneurs have come full circle. Now they’re here to stay, they say. While we’ve already noted that it’ll be weird to see a retailer where a restaurant stood for more than 30 years, this new occupant is just one way the Center City retail landscape is changing.
Here’s what you’ll find at the 11 a.m. launch on Saturday and in-store for a limited time:
- Walnut St,-exclusive goods available for a limited time: The Roosevelt Collection featuring one of their first frames, the Roosevelt in the new colors Sandalwood Matte, Mallard Green, and Early Grey
- Non eye-wear items available for a limited time: lens cloths featuring Philly-based artist and University of the Arts grad Andy Rementer’s in-store artwork (included with any eyewear purchase); custom totes free with a student ID
- Free postcard designed by Philadelphia-based illustrator Molly Egan
- Hand-drawn map of all the best places to sit and read a book in the neighborhood, according to Warby Parker and designed by Jason Polan
- Signed copies of Miles Runs the Voodoo Down by Kevin Lyon, Warby Parker’s suggested reading
- And of course, a Warby Parker Snapchat filter for the launch
Year-round, since Warby Parker’s shopping ethos has long been that shopping for glasses should be like browsing at a library, the space will feature library-inspired design details like dark walnut shelving and plush leather seating. An original mural by Andy Rementer and floor-to-ceiling windows on the façade of the store will complete the literary feel.
And to top it all off, the store will offer popular comprehensive 20-minute eye exams seven days a week.
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