I’ll admit, when it comes to eyeglasses, I’m a skeptic. I’ve never found them to be particularly cute on me, and—worst of all—every pair I’ve owned has been pretty uncomfortable. I started wearing contact lenses when I was 13, and I’ve never looked back.
So imagine my pleasant surprise when a visit to Ridgedale’s new Eyebobs shop yielded an epiphany: It’s all about the bridge of my nose. “You have a narrow bridge,” the salesperson (Eyebobs calls them “framists”) said, with just a quick glance at my face. “Do your glasses slide down easily?” Affirmative. My glasses, when I do need to wear them, never sit up as close to my eyes as I need them, making my vision slightly distorted and giving me headaches. She nodded matter-of-factly and quickly showed me a few frames with petite nosepieces, which fit the proportions of my face much better. I was happy to see that Eyebobs carries some of the chunky, funky frame styles I’ve always favored—even though, until recently, their focus was solely on reading glasses (instead of prescription lenses), it’s clear they’re broadening their scope and attracting customers of all ages and style preferences.
So what brought the 19-year-old Twin Cities biz to Minnetonka? Eyebobs CEO Mike Hollenstein says, “The management team at Rigedale truly loved our concept and wanted us to be part of their exciting new approach to retail … We have many customers in [the metro] and loved the idea of [providing] more convenient options to try the glasses on” in more suburban locations.
That move aligns with Eyebobs’ goal to reach more customers with different optical needs, too. Hollenstein says, “Prior to 2017 with the introduction of prescription lenses, our customers were over 40 and wanted to make a statement with the eyewear they put on their face. After introducing prescription lenses, we found that our frames appealed to people of all ages … Our target customer is the individual who doesn’t want to simply blend in. They view glasses as a fashion accessory and something that defines their personality.”
When Eyebobs was founded by Julie Allinson, she created fashionable readers that were sold in partnering retail locations (including locally at spots like Judd Frost and 44 North Boutique). After customers kept asking for prescription lenses and sunglasses, Eyebobs got into that game, too—and soon opened its first brick-and-mortar store concept at their headquarters in Minneapolis. That was “after doing prescription glasses for customers who simply stopped in and asked if we would take care of it for them,” says Hollenstein.
So customers can stop in to the Ridgedale shop for sunnies, prescription lenses and those beloved readers (we know people who’ve gifted pairs to their fellow book club members at Christmas). Eyebobs also offers blue light lenses, which help protect eyes from harmful blue light emitted by tablets, phones and computers; no prescription needed.
Hollenstein says, “Customers … will be greeted by one of our best-in-industry framists who will make sure they leave with the perfect pair of glasses…even if it takes them out of their comfort zone.”
I can speak to that; as a former contact lens devotee, I was delighted to find frames that were, well, right on the nose.
12401 Wayzata Blvd., Minnetonka
Suite 2139; 952.852.7144