WESTFIELD, NJ — Paper that covered the storefront’s windows at Central Avenue and Quimby Street came down on Wednesday, and sidewalk cement in front of the establishment’s entry was still drying.
Warby Parker comes into the space left vacant after the clothing retailer Cold Water Creek closed up shop in 2014 and raised some local concern with a too-big-to miss “Store Closing” sign.
Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker, which has 85 locations nationwide, said he hopes the new design for the store's exterior, which includes a bird with bright blue feet, will make passers-by smile.
“We wanted to keep as much of the facade's original structure as possible, while breathing new life into some of our favorite elements,” Blumenthal said.
“The cupola atop our store is now a shade of bright blue (our favorite color) and we've adorned with a custom (also blue, of course) weather vane featuring our unofficial mascot, the blue-footed booby.”
Exclusive to the Westfield location will be a sunglasses model that will appear to change colors when viewed from alternate angles, he said.
“We designed an exclusive pair of playful sunglasses that customers can only purchase in our Westfield store,” Blumenthal said. “Jones in Lemongrass Crystal is a luminous frame with a flattering round fit that's outfitted with flash mirrored iridescent lenses.”
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Apparently, the look of the eyeglasses store is important. Warby Parker hired Washington-based illustrator Keith Negley to create a series of murals shown inside and outside of the store, Blumenthal said.
“Special to our Westfield store only, he created a series of murals on the store's exterior and inside behind the ‘Reference Desk’ that pay tribute to spirited reading,” Blumenthal said.
Did you say “reference desk?”
The interior of the store, viewed briefly by this reporter on Wednesday, shows details reminiscent of a library, including a marble-topped table labeled “reference desk,” brass accents and, of course, collections of eyeglasses on oak shelving.
Why choose Westfield?
“Many of our employees live in or are from Westfield,” Blumenthal said. “And as soon as we set foot in its charming downtown ourselves, we wanted to open a store there.”
Perhaps an attempt to lure the public to its Saturday opening, Warby Parker has partnered with Boxwood Coffee Roasters of Westfield to provide hot chocolate and other treats, the company said.
The Westfield location at 126 Central Ave. opens to the public for the first time 11 a.m. — 7 p.m. on Saturday.
“Westfield and the reception from customers in the neighborhood has been so warm and welcoming,” Blumenthal said. “Some are new to the brand, while others have shopped with us online or in our other stores for a while. We can't wait to open our doors officially on Saturday with treats from Boxwood Coffee.”
Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at email@example.com; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh