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Warby Parker opening new Tampa store and exam suite at International Plaza, according to city filings

The eyeglass retailer and its parent company recently filed building plans and construction permits with the city of Tampa.
The Warby Parker showroom at Tampa's Oxford Exchange after it opened in February 2016.
The Warby Parker showroom at Tampa's Oxford Exchange after it opened in February 2016. [ JUSTINE GRIFFIN | Justine Griffin ]
Published Sep. 23, 2019
Updated Sep. 23, 2019

TAMPA — Trendy eyeglass brand Warby Parker and its parent company Jand Inc. have filed construction plans and building permits with the city to open a new storefront at International Plaza.

But unlike the existing Warby Parker inside the Oxford Exchange retail and restaurant space, plans for the new glasses store filed this month show it won’t just be a showroom, but will have an eye exam suite.

Warby Parker and the owners of International Plaza could not immediately be reached for comment.

The once online-only eyeglass company announced new full-service stores opening at malls in Philadelphia, Pa. and Edina, Minn. within the last couple of months.

Last year, Warby Parker raised $300 million in funding and said it planned to continue expanding its physical footprint.

After it was founded in 2010, the brand rapidly gained popularity with its free at-home try-on program. Customers select five frames online that are delivered by mail to wear at home before committing to a purchase.

RELATED STORY: What you need to know about the Warby Parker store opening at Tampa’s Oxford Exchange

Most frames — lenses included — cost $95. Some are priced at $145.

Following its online explosion, the company started growing its physical presence in New York City to attract more customers, especially those skeptical of buying eyeglasses online.

The Warby Parker showroom at the Oxford Exchange opened in 2016. The retailer had more than 60 stores last year and now has more than 100 between the U.S. and Canada. There are eight in Florida alone.

The small shop at Oxford Exchange is often cluttered with people plucking dozens of frames from the shelf to try on before ordering their selection online, which store clerks can do with an iPad. Sunglasses or prescription-free frames also can be purchased in-store.

Building plans for the new Tampa location on the mall’s second floor call for a marble-top sales table and clear white oak shelves and benches.

But there will be competition: International Plaza already has a LensCrafters store, which also provides in-store eye exams and houses dozens of popular designer brands.