Warby Parker, the eyewear startup that has become the $1.2 billion definition of hip brands, will open its first Twin Cities store within the new Askov Finlayson flagship opening in August. The 250-square-foot showroom will offer the brand’s full collection of sunglasses and optical frames, which start at $95 including prescription.
Warby Parker started out just five years ago as an e-commerce company, able to deliver high design with low prices by selling directly to consumers. Similar to TOMS, Warby donates a pair of glasses for every pair sold. As Warby Parker’s valuation has ballooned past the billion-dollar mark, the company is focusing more on bricks and mortar stores. There are currently a dozen physical stores, and it’s been reported that could nearly double by year’s end. Warby Parker has a mix of stand-alone stores and showrooms within like-minded boutiques and hotels, such as Imogene + Willie in Nashville and the Standard Hollywood in Los Angeles.
Minneapolis has been on the company’s radar for some time—two summers ago, the Warby Parker school bus pop-up shop parked in Uptown as part of its cross-country tour. “Minneapolis is quickly establishing itself as a hotbed of design intelligence, and Askov Finlayson is a prime example," Warby Parker co-founder and co-CEO Neil Blumenthal said in a statment. "Andrew and Eric Dayton founded their company with an eye toward style, integrity, and doing good in the world. We couldn’t think of a friendlier partner for putting down roots in Minneapolis.”
The new Askov Finlayson will be located next door to the current store at 200 N. First St. in the North Loop. More than double the size, it will house an expanded collection of Askov Finlayson apparel and new lines. Among the exclusive collaborations to debut at the new store: a collection of bags and accessories designed in collaboration with Duluth-based Frost River, a hand-painted paddle custom designed by Sanborn Canoe of Winona, and new duffle bag colors from the ongoing Askov Finlayson x Best American Duffel series.