WESTPORT, Conn. - Technology and tradition come together under one roof at Eyeglasses.com, a new optical store in downtown Westport that boasts a large in-store inventory and an even more extensive virtual inventory.
Owned by Westport resident Mark Agnew, Eyeglasses.com started as an online-only eyewear store 14 years ago. However, realizing many people prefer shopping for glasses in person, Agnew decided it was time to open his first storefront.
"After all these years, about 99 percent of eyewear shopping is still done in store," said Agnew, a 17-year Westport resident. "But, there are some aspects of online shopping that are extra useful in an actual storefront, so the concept is two bridge the two worlds."
The store's physical inventory consists of 800 to 1,000 men's, women's and children's eyewear, Agnew said. If a customer doesn't find the perfect pair in-store, they can search the store's virtual inventory, which includes 250,000 pairs, he said.
The 2,000-square-foot store, located at 147 Post Road E., includes two computer search stations from which customers can access the online inventory. Customers - alone or with help from the store optician - can search the virtual inventory by frame style, designer, color, material, shape, size and more.
"Some people have very specific characteristics they are looking for and have a hard to finding that at an eye doctors office," Agnew said. "For example, we had a customer the other other day looking for red frames. Most stores only carry a few red frames, but a search of our virtual inventory turned up over 400 pairs. She was delighted."
When customers find a pair of glasses they'd like to try on from the online inventory, the frames are ordered and shipped to the store, free of charge, Agnew said. Customers are not obligated to buy these frames, he said.
When it comes to pricing, Agnew said his inventory is priced at the manufacturer's suggested retail price, which he said is about a third lower than most optical stores. Some of the stores most popular brands include Prada, Tory Burch, Nicole Miller, Ted Baker, Tiffany, Oakley, Ermenegildo Zegna, John Varvatos, Brooks Brothers and Ray Ban.
In addition to eyewear, Eyeglasses.com offers eye exams, and prescription lens and contacts. A licensed optometrist is on site every Monday and Wednesday.
The store is currently open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.