Article originally appeared on the Washington Business Journal: It’s open: Warby Parker in Shaw is here
Anyone thinking of getting new hipster glasses should head to 9th and U streets NW this weekend, where uber-popular eyewear retailer Warby Parker is now open.
The store is the brand’s second opening in Washington in as many months: a Georgetown location opened at the end of September.
Warby Parker Shaw sticks close to the brand’s signature library inspiration for its stores, with open shelves for the eyeglasses made of solid walnut and checkered terrazzo tile flooring. (The design must be the secret for attracting the young creative class — the effect of Warby’s store is not unlike that of watch and leather goods retailer Shinola, which opened nearby on 14th Street NW last month.)
Opticians are available for questions behind the “reference desk,” and card catalog-style drawers store items behind it. Leather banquets and a chaise lounge encourage people to sit and hang out, and a handful of books from independent publishers available for sale are also there for skimming.
At 1,675 square feet, the Shaw location of Warby Parker is larger than Georgetown, and includes a full-service eye exam room and on-staff eye doctor. The store also has a custom photo booth with background artwork by Alia Penner — including, because it’s D.C., the Lincoln Memorial surrounded by cherry blossoms, natch — as well as illustrations by Maira Kalman decorating the walls.
Warby, which began as an online-only business and also distributes one pair of glasses to someone in need for each pair purchased, has been on a growth spurt. Shaw is Warby’s 18th location, and D.C. is one of only a couple of markets where the brand has more than one store. The company’s headquarters in New York and Los Angeles are the only other markets with multiples.
Stores have been opening slowly at The Shay, one of two high-profile developments in north Shaw from JBG Cos. Right now, Warby Parker and lululemon spinoff Kit and Ace are dominating two of the most prominent corners, but they will be joined later this year or early next year by a host of other trendy brands: menswear retailers Read Wall and Frank & Oak, urban bicycling and skating outfitter Chrome Industries, fashion brand Steven Alan, Australian skincare line Aesop and local retailer Lettie Gooch, among others.
Rebecca Cooper covers retail, restaurants, tourism and the arts.