Hip eyewear brand Warby Parker heads to Detroit

Ian Thibodeau
The Detroit News

Downtown Detroit will look a bit more hip by the end of the year.

Warby Parker, the New York City-based company that specializes in hip eyewear, said Tuesday it will open a store in downtown Detroit.

It will be on the first floor of an eight-story building at 1449 Woodward, next to the recently opened “athleisure” store, Kit and Ace and across the street from Détroit is the New Black.

“We’re very excited to have a retail store opening soon in Detroit,” a Warby Parker spokeswoman said in an email.

The brand’s eyeglasses and sunglasses range in price from $95 to around $150 with prescriptions.

Warby Parker says on its website that by designing glasses in-house, “we’re able to provide higher-quality, better-looking prescription eyewear at a fraction of the going price.”

Styles with names like the “Oliver,” “Otis” and “Lionel” range from round-wire frames to bulky, square throwbacks in an array of colors.

For every pair of glasses the company sells, it works with nonprofits to donate a pair to someone in need.

Warby Parker has a heavy online presence, and will ship shoppers several frames to try on before making a purchase.

According to a building permit issued by the city, the renovations will cost an estimated $419,000. The Detroit store will be one of nearly 40 brick-and-mortar locations in the U.S., including several in New York and Southern California.

Warby Parker will fill a Bedrock space on the continually growing shopping drag in downtown Detroit. Bedrock is the real-estate arm of Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert.

“We’re excited to add Warby Parker to our growing retail portfolio in downtown Detroit,” said Dan Mullen, Bedrock executive vice president. “This brand entering the Detroit market is a significant sign of Woodward Avenue’s continued momentum as a major shopping destination.”

Another growing brand, Bonobos, told The Detroit News in August it is looking to open a store in Detroit, but did not have a location or area pinned down. Bonobos, which brands itself as “the largest internet-launched clothing brand in the country,” recently shot photos for a catalog in downtown Detroit.

(313) 222-2359

Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau