WICHITA, Kan.—Innovative independent optical retailer Specs Eyewear
, which operates six locations in Kansas, is expanding its Eyewear Junkie concept with the opening of a second stand-alone location at a shopping center here, according to the company’s co-owner. The new Eyewear Junkie location is expected to open around mid-January.
The Eyewear Junkie format, which Specs Eyewear debuted in Derby, Kan., about a year ago, features solely private label frames, according to Jason Bell, one of the co-owners of Specs Eyewear. The company’s current locations include the initial Eyewear Junkie store and one Specs Eyewear location in El Dorado, Kan., that is a combined Specs Eyewear-Eyewear Junkie location.
Bell said the move to re-format the El Dorado location into both concepts, which took place about two months ago, has been well received in the market and offers a competitive response to online retailers that offer private brand frames at discount prices.
The concept behind Eyewear Junkie, according to Bell, is to offer fun and fashionable private label frames at lower price points than the brand-name assortments that the company’s traditional locations feature. Bell said the initial thought was that the lower-priced frames assortment would appeal to value-conscious Millennials (who often shop online). But what that he and co-owner Monte Ysidro have discovered is that the lower-priced frames appeal to a wide demographic, even people “in their 70s and 80s,” he explained.
The company is looking for additional expansion opportunities—particularly in Kansas City—but none of the prospective locations have worked out, according to Bell. “We’ve tried to get up there a couple of times,” he added. The partners also are looking at opportunities to expand the Eyewear Junkie format into other small towns in the state.
“With the Eyewear Junkie concept, we think there are other small towns that would make sense for that concept,” Bell told VMail
. He noted, however, that there are no specific new locations “on the radar’ right now.