Online optical retailer's Westend line of glasses evokes sites around the city.
At first glance, the line of stylish eyeglasses might appear British, with names that evoke the estates of landed gentry: Argyle Park. Windsor Place. Parlin Manor. But look again, and you’ll see some names you might recognize. Victorian Village. Grandview Heights. Harrison West.
That’s right, Columbus. You now have your own line of specs. This month, the online eyewear company DiscountGlasses.com launched a new line of frames, dubbed Westend, with each selection named for a place on the city’s map.
Why Columbus? First of all, says marketing director Bob Drumm, this is where DiscountGlasses.com is based. The company started as Campus Optical, a university-area shop owned by local optometrist Peter Clarkson, who is the founder and president of DiscountGlasses.com as well as its parent company AC Lens. Both companies are now owned by the Atlanta-based National Vision Inc., a publicly traded company and one of the nation’s largest retailers of low-priced glasses and contacts.
But the more important question, says head buyer Elise Buchholz, is “Why not Columbus?”
“Columbus is underrated,” she says. “We wanted to show everyone that Columbus is this really unique, cool place.” The city has its own style, she continues. “It’s a little quirky, and it’s not defined by age.”
Buchholz named her favorite frames in the collection for the place where she lives, Grandview Heights. They’re round with a slight cat-eye tilt, styled in tones of gray. For the names of other frames, she scoured the map. Wellington Woods. Surrey Hill. Kennybrook Bluff. They’re all here in Columbus, despite their English countryside lilt.
All of the frames in the collection can be ordered with prescription or non-prescription lenses, tinted or non-tinted, and since the lenses are manufactured here (the frames are made in China), orders from Central Ohio residents can be filled and delivered in as little as two days, says Drumm. The company is hoping the Columbus market will respond to the line, which has a more upscale, sophisticated look than some of DiscountGlasses.com’s other lines, which include Picklez (for kids), Barbie and the more mainstream adult line Lunettos.
“Columbus loves Columbus,” says Buchholz. “We really want to get the support of the city.”
So far, the Westend line includes 15 frames, but the company plans to roll out six more styles in July and an additional batch in November. “We’re calling it the year of Westend,” says Buchholz.
Which reminds us: Why Westend? Columbus has a West Side, but does it have a West End?
Buchholz admits she made the name up. Yet it’s just as local as the rest of the brand. “It’s named for two roads near our offices,” she says. “Westbelt and Dividend. I joined them together.”
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