Minneapolis success story Eyebobs set to open at the Mall of America

The glasses maker is expanding.
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What started 17 years ago out of frustration at the lack of choice for reading glasses is now a trend-setting retailer set to open up in America's biggest mall.

You may have seen Eyebobs' distinctive reading glasses, complete with irreverent, funky frames with names like "Luna See" and "Board Stiff," in stores including Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus over the years.

Well now Eyebobs is embarking on a retail expansion of its own, opening an 868-square-foot store in the Mall of America on June 7, with another to follow soon after in Orlando.

Eyebobs has had a physical space since October last year, when it opened a "retail lab" at its headquarters on Glenwood Avenue in Minneapolis.

But this marks the first foray into an independent mall, a move led by recently-hired CEO Mike Hollenstein.

"Retail gives us the opportunity to bring our one-of-a-kind customer service experience to a whole new audience. And we can’t wait to arm even more consumers with the confidence to be their true selves."

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You'll be able to find Eyebobs on the 1st floor, near to Nordstrom, and it'll be staffed with stylists offering "no B.S. personal styling to help them select the frame that best suits their personality," the company said in a news release.

Expect to find custom prescriptions, and "grab-and-go" options including readers and sunglasses in Eyebobs' inimitable styles.

The story of Eyebobs

The company's humble beginnings date back to 2001, when founder Julie Allinson found to her frustration that there was little middle-ground between bargain-basement, pharmacy frames and uber-expensive luxury options.

It sparked an idea in her head that became a passion, as she along with an optician friend launched a line of reasonably-priced reading glasses for people like her, "the irreverent and slightly jaded."

The company developed a cult following, finding that those who liked their glasses tended to buy several pairs, with some customers even modifying them so they could hold their prescription frames.

Fast-forward to 2016 and retail expert Hollenstein was brought on board, since when Eyebobs has launched its own line of prescription eyewear, that includes progressives, single-vision prescriptions, blue light frames, all-day readers and polarized sunglasses.

Since Eyebobs launched in 2001, eyeglasses have undergone a renaissance as a fashion accessory, something the company hopes to capitalize on even further with its new retail locations.

"With plans for three-year revenue growth of over 30 percent at the conclusion of this year, now is the perfect time for eyebobs to disrupt the traditional brick and mortar eyewear experience," Hollenstein said.

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