Not every city gets a brick-and-mortar Warby Parker. Though the popular glasses retailer does the majority of its business online, a handful of lucky cities have an actual store where customers can walk in and try on a pair of chic, affordable frames. You can count New Orleans among that number as well. Co-founder and co-CEO Dave Gilboa says that the decision to open a Warby Parker here was due to the company's particularly active customer base among citizens of the Big Easy.
After deciding to come to New Orleans, he and his business partners searched for a location for "quite a while" before finding "the one": a traditional Victorian building from the 1800s whose high ceilings and molding - as well as its location on shopping-rich Magazine Street - felt like a natural fit to them. Gilboa is particularly inspired by "great civic gathering spaces" where people naturally come together, and is hoping to recreate that feeling within the building's exposed brick walls and stone floors.
Gilboa says that he and his partners didn't change much about the building in the four months it took to remodel it. "We try to keep the integrity of the buildings we move into, especially if they hold historical significance," Gilboa says. Whereas other commercial owners might have bemoaned the building's mezzanine level, Warby Parker's leadership team was thrilled with it; that floor will be used for customers to have professional portraits of themselves taken with their chosen eyewear.
Above all, Gilboa wants an "inviting space" for New Orleanians to come in, try on glasses, and perhaps get a portrait taken, all while feeling at home in a place that belongs to "not any other city". Sounds like he's got us down pat.
Check out our photos of Warby Parker's new digs right here.
· All Warby Parker Coverage [Curbed NOLA]