May 6, 2008

Morganthal Frederics NYC

This well-known optical chain has stores sprinkled throughout the city in nearly every upscale neighborhood so going into the Columbus Circle Center was a natural fit for them. The large photo graphics let shoppers know what the store is about from a distance before they can even read the name. The storefront is fairly conventional, reminiscent of a fine French boutique with tall double doors propped open in a welcoming stance.

The showcases and woodwork are of dark wood with light-colored interiors and built-in halogen lighting. This store sells both sunglasses and Rx frames and their inventory is more extensive than what meets the eye. The opticians have a large bank of shallow drawers filled with frames. The service is very personal and professional. They really do their best to determine what you are looking for and to find just the right style to make you look fabulous.

In fact, when my husband and I went to inside to check out the interior, the optician deftly pulled out a few pairs of Chrome Hearts sunglasses. Next thing you know my husband was trying them on and we were all saying, "Wow, those look great on you!" It was all I could do to drag him out of there before we ended up spending $1,000 on those sunglasses! That optician was GOOD!

Seriously, though, this really is a beautiful store and I could tell that no expense was spared on the design. The cubicles are very similar to the ones I've been doing for years. I like the way that the brightest lighting is concentrated on the frames and everything else is like a stage setting for the merchandise. Imagine if just a corner of your dispensary had a look and feel similar to this store. You'd be selling more high-end frames than you ever thought possible.

Solstice Sunglasses NYC

On a recent New York visit I carved out some time to see one of the newest upscale shopping centers at Columbus Circle (59th St.)

The Columbus Circle Center is not as large as those you find in Los Angeles, but it boasts two optical shops. Solstice is strictly sunglasses with mid-range priced styles displayed on the wall and higher-priced styles in locked table top showcases. Brand names are displayed neatly above each row of frames. I was impressed that the check out counter was kept relatively free of clutter.

The back-lit photos are dramatic and eye-catching. Even when the store is full of shoppers you can see these photos from a distance because they are above head-height. The all-glass storefront is a luxury that most optometric offices don't have, but the take-away lesson from this photo is that simple wall displays can be very effective. This designer wisely spent the construction budget on good lighting, graphics and elegant showcases.

Vertical frosted glass panels with a single small shelf on each panel make an eye-catching window display at Solstice. Only one brand name designer is featured at a time with a matching graphic above. This is a good example of how an utterly simple concept makes for great merchandising.