MADISON, Wis.—Ulla Eyewear
has been located at the Hilldale Shopping Center since 1998 and the locally owned and family-operated store has been offering a wide selection of fashionable and colorful frames and sunglasses for both men and women since.
Though they have been at Hilldale for almost 20 years, this recent move is not the first time Ulla Eyewear has changed locations within the shopping center. “We moved into our previous location in January 2014 because the mall was going through some construction and that location was part of the side that was going to be torn down,” stated Margot Lanham, ABOC, sales manager. “Our current owner, who is the daughter of the founder of Ulla Eyewear, had never had the opportunity to put her personal stamp on the practice and our previous location was the opportunity to do that and she allowed the staff to be hands-on.”
Nearly four years later, Ulla Eyewear is once again able to expand its business while maintaining its client base. The new location offers the business more space, allowing them to bring in an optometrist. “We had already outgrown the previous location, and because the business has been growing so much, we had been talking about adding an eye doctor to our staff. The new location allows us to do that,” Lanham expalined.
With the move came modified design elements for the store. In addition to the doctor’s office, Ulla Eyewear added rotating frame panels, an additional dispensing desk and honed in on getting better lighting. “We really took the time and worked with a lighting specialist to make sure the lighting was just right on top of the boards as well as the bottom to show the frames’ colors and richness of texture,” said Lanham.
To celebrate the opening of the new space, Ulla Eyewear hosted a grand re-opening party, which offered attendees champagne, beer provided by a local brewery, sweets and more. Vendors that Ulla Eyewear works with donated frames and the lab donated lenses, which enabled the practice to sell raffles during the event. Customers could purchase 5 tickets for $1 or 20 tickets for $5. All proceeds were split between the Dane County Humane Society
—an open admission shelter saving healthy and treatable animals that come into their care—and Combat Blindness International
—a non-profit organization that aims to eliminate “preventable blindness worldwide by providing sustainable, equitable solutions for sight through partnerships and innovation.”
The move also comes just in time, as Ulla Eyewear plans to launch a new eyewear concept it is calling ReFramed by Ulla Eyewear. Starting in January, the practice will allow customers to sell back their gently used eyewear for in-store credit and for more price-sensitive customers, the ability to wear Ulla Eyewear frames at a reduced cost.
“Individuals can bring in gently used frames they are have purchased from us or elsewhere to leave for review,” Lanham told VMail Weekend
. “Our expert opticians will carefully go over the quality, durability and style of the frame to determine if it meets our criteria. If accepted, we'll offer an in-store credit of $25-$50, which can be used towards anything they'd like in the store and never expires.”
Once customers drop off their frames, Ulla Eyewear will put in no prescription clear or sun lenses (depending on the frame), replace the screws, nosepads and adjust the frame so it's ready to sell. These frames will sell in the store for $199 with a limited warranty. “It is incredibly important to us here at Ulla Eyewear to be meeting the needs of all customers,” Lanham stated. “We know that many people would love the Ulla experience but maybe the price is out of their budget. With ReFramed, we hope to give a beautiful, well-loved pair of glasses another new home.”