1. Business

What you need to know about the Warby Parker store opening at Tampa's Oxford Exchange

Warby Parker, a designer eyewear company, opens a showroom in Tampa's Oxford Exchange on Saturday. JUSTINE GRIFFIN | TIMES
Published Feb. 19, 2016

Shelves lined with square eye glasses, round glasses, some tortoise shell colored, and others with titanium frames now make up half of what used to be the bookstore inside the Oxford Exchange.

Warby Parker, a New York City designer eye wear company, is the latest brand to move into the Oxford Exchange, a hip and collaborative space that houses work spaces, a restaurant, a bookstore and two cafes near downtown Tampa at 420 W. Kennedy Blvd. The eyeglass and sunglass showroom opens to the public on Saturday, but that didn't stop Oxford Exchange patrons from trying on a variety of frames on Thursday, as employees worked on the final touches inside the showroom.

"All of our stores are very different from one another, but there's something about the Oxford Exchange that really stands out," said Kaki Read, communications manager for Warby Parker. "We don't open a lot of showrooms like this, but the partnership seemed so natural."

The showroom in Tampa is the company's 27th retail location, and the second to open in Florida. Warby Parker came to Florida in 2012 when the company opened a kiosk in the Standard Hotel in Miami.

Warby Parker opens freestanding stores and kiosks and showrooms in collaboration with other businesses across the country. The brand is known for its affordable prices on trendy eyeglasses and sunglasses. Prices in the Tampa showroom ranged from $95 to $145 for frames.

Read spent a few minutes with the Times Thursday to talk about the new showroom.

Tell me what is the Warby Parker experience like, for our readers who may not be familiar with the name.

Customers who have a prescription for eye wear are recommended to bring it with them when they visit us. But if you don't have it handy, that's no problem. Our associates can call your doctor and get that information for you when you're ready to place an order. We'll have five people staffing this new showroom in Tampa. So there will always be someone here to help you find a frame you like. We have two opticians on staff who can adjust your frames, take eye measurements and help find frames that fit specific needs, too. Orders are delivered within 10 days once they're placed in a store. But you can take non-prescription sunglasses home with you immediately.

What is Warby Parker known for?

We're known for having a lot of different looks. Each year we release four seasonal collections of designs, but last year, we released around 20 collections in total. So there's always something new to try on or check out. We collaborate with artists and non-profits too, like and the musician Beck.

What's different about this showroom in Tampa?

We sell books in our stores too. What's different about the showroom in Tampa is that we work with Oxford Exchange to curate our book selection, whereas in our other stores, we sell books from some of our favorite independent publishers.

Contact Justine Griffin at or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.


  1. Isabella Yosuico of Safety Harbor with some of the Mighty Tykes wrist and ankle bands she invted to help her son Isaac, who has Down Syndrome, and other children with weak muscles. SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    A product to help special needs kids leads to big loans, a lawsuit and a bungled bankruptcy
  2. The Pinellas County Commission moved closer Tuesday to granting a total of $20.6 million to three museums: the Salvidor Dali Museum (top), the Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center (bottom left), and the St. Petersburg Museum of History. Photos courtesy of Pinellas County
    The Dalí Museum, St. Petersburg Museum of History and Tampa Bay Watch are on track to receive bed tax dollars for expansions.
  3. West Port Colony apartments in St. Petersburg C2 Design Group Inc, Chris Stevens
    The complex off Fourth Street N is convenient to both Tampa and downtown St. Petersburg.
  4. According to a forecast by PNC, business leaders feel sunny about the coming six months.
  5. Lithia Motors Inc. has acquired three dealerships from the Williams Automotive Group including Wesley Chapel Toyota near the Interstate 75 and State Road 54 interchange in Wesley Chapel. [Times (2007]
    Wesley Chapel Toyota, Wesley Chapel Honda and Tampa Honda dealerships change hands
  6. Tampa-based consumer data company Bridge is working to solve a specialty retailing problem that goes back to the end of Prohibition, and it’s getting help from venture capitalists at Florida Funders.
    Bridge specializes in providing detailed consumer data that helps producers of liquor, beer and wine target their advertising.
  7. Florida gas prices are down slightly over the week, according to AAA, the Auto Club Group. Pictured is a man filling up his car in 2017 in St. Petersburg. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times  (2017)] SHADD, DIRK  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Diminished demand and higher crude oil availability pushed pump prices lower.
  8. Cigar aficionado Kellan Webster, 48, from Conway, S.C., visits King Corona Cigars Bar and Cafe in Ybor City for the first time. The historic spot will now soon have a sister location at International Plaza. [Times (2017)] Tampa Bay Times
    The Ybor staple has been under new ownership since 2017.
  9. Joseph Erickson, 53, won a foreclosure auction for a condo at Happy Fiddler Condominiums in Indian Rocks Beach last year only to have a man claim he is the true owner of the property and should get the  $350,000 that Erickson has already paid for the condo. JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |  Times
    A Land O’ Lakes man had already spent money on renovations when he got two shocks about his new condo.
  10. Florida had 381,300 jobs in the manufacturing sector in September. [Times 2016]
    No matter how many times you hear that the country doesn’t make anything anymore, don’t believe it.