STORE SPACES

Online eyewear brand eyebobs jumping into physical retail

BY Marianne Wilson

A Minneapolis-based online eyewear brand known for its fashion-forward stylings and irreverent attitude is expanding into brick-and-mortar.

Eyebobs will open its first retail store on May 19, at Mall of America, Bloomington, Minn. The 868-sq.-ft. space will feature the brand’s signature eyebrow aesthetic and combine edgy design elements with splashes of yellow and twists on some of the world’s most iconic works of art.

The store will showcase the company’s full collection, including prescription frames, as well as grab-and-go options like readers and sunglasses, in distinctive — and sometimes daring — shapes, sizes and color options. Employees will provide customers with personal styling assistance to help them select the frame that best suits their personality.

Founded in 2001, eyebobs gained a cult following online for its boldly designed reading glasses. The company expanded into prescription eyewear in fall 2017.

“With plans for three-year revenue growth of over 30% at the conclusion of this year, now is the perfect time for eyebobs to disrupt the traditional brick-and-mortar eyewear experience,” said Mike Hollenstein, CEO. “Retail gives us the opportunity to bring our one-of-a-kind customer service experience to a whole new audience.”

Eyebobs first tested brick and mortar in October of 2017, when it opened a retail “lab” at its headquarters in Minneapolis. The success of the space provided the company with the momentum to move forward with brick-and-mortar. Eyebobs’ will open a store at Florida Mall, Orlando, Fla., in late summer. It will feature a similar design concept to the one at Mall of America.

 

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Amazon Go expanding to two new markets

BY Marianne Wilson

Amazon is expanding its cashierless store format outside of its Seattle home base.

Amazon Go will open in Chicago and San Francisco, according to numerous media reports. Job openings for store managers in each city were first reported by The Seattle Times. An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the two planned openings to GeekWire. It did not say when the stores would open.

The first (and still the only) Amazon Go location opened to the public in January. Prior to that, it was open a year in a test mode exclusively to Amazon employees.

To shop the store, shoppers launch the Amazon Go app on their mobile device as they enter, and take the products they want off of store shelves. Amazon’s “walk out” technology automatically detects when products are taken off (or returned) to the shelves, and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When customers are done shopping, they just leave the store. Shortly after, they receive a digital receipt and their Amazon account is also charged for the order, according to the website.

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First Look at Raley’s new grocery concept

BY Marianne Wilson

Market 5-One-5 has made its debut.

Opened in downtown Sacramento, the new, smaller-store format is designed around the idea that quality, nutritious food should be easy, accessible and affordable. Every item was hand-selected based on three core values: Organic, Nutrition and Education (ONE).

“Market 5-ONE-5 is about conviction to a core set of principles,” said Keith Knopf, president and COO, Raley’s. “We don’t stock products we don’t believe in, so customers can trust everything on the shelves. Our team members know exactly where our products come from, what is in them, and how they were produced.”

Although the store is part of Raley’s, it will be managed independently, and will have distinct (and often local) vendors. Expansion plans for future Market 5-ONE-5 locations are already being considered, according to the company.

The concept was developed to meet the needs of people who are overwhelmed trying to decipher food labels and translate ingredient lists. (Seventy-eight percent of Americans say they encounter a lot of conflicting information about what to eat or avoid, according to a report by the International Food Information Council Foundation.) It only sells items that meet the highest standards of its core values. This includes minimally processed, organic and sustainably sourced products that are free of unrecognizable ingredients not found in nature.

“Market 5-ONE-5, and what it stands for, has been a vision of ours for a long time,” said Michael Teel, CEO, Raley’s. “Its purpose is to offer our community access to fresh, nutritious and affordable food. Its mission is to help people live healthy, vital lives by taking the guesswork out of understanding nutrition.”

The store offers precooked foods for in-store dining and take-home, and serves wine and beer on site. It has a coffee, tea and juice bar, and a space for indoor and outdoor dining. It will also offer catering services to local businesses.

Market 5-ONE-5 has assembled a diverse team of employees that include chefs, foodies, urban farmers, nutritionists and a registered dietitian, all of whom “will readily offer their guidance, knowledge and expertise on food and nutrition to educate customers,” the company said.

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