Online eyeglasses giant opening a store at North Hills

Online eyewear retailer Warby Parker started opening retail stores in 2013.
Online eyewear retailer Warby Parker started opening retail stores in 2013. AP

The popular online sunglasses and eyewear store Warby Parker makes its brick-and-mortar debut in Raleigh on Saturday.

Kane Realty announced this week that the store will open in the Main District Commons at North Hills, next to Chick-fil-A (in the former GameStop location). To commemorate the store opening, Warby Parker has created a limited-edition pair of sunglasses made exclusively for the North Hills location.

Warby Parker started in 2010 as an online operation, with a model that allows shoppers to select five frames that are sent to their home to try out. The frames can be sent back with free shipping until the right frames are found. Warby Parker uses the shopper’s prescription and other information to create the glasses and ships them back. The frames start at $95.

The company opened its first retail stores in 2013. Inc. wrote last year about Warby Parker’s brick-and-mortar expansion, which goes against most current trends of shoppers flocking to online. In that 2017 article, Inc. wrote that Warby Parker had 50 retail stores with plans to open 25 more that year. The company currently has 84 U.S. retail locations listed as either open or opening soon, and two in Canada. The only other North Carolina location is in Charlotte.

In a news release, Warby Parker co-founder and co-CEO Neil Blumenthal explained Raleigh’s appeal: “A lot of innovation, in both the sciences and the arts, is coming out of Raleigh. We have so much respect for the area’s world-class research facilities, universities, museums, and performing arts centers. We are excited to have a second location (in North Carolina), where we know we’ll be in great company.”

The North Hills store opens at 11 a.m. Saturday (Sept. 29).