New Brookfield store is Wisconsin Vision's first mall location
Two OnMilwaukee partners, Wisconsin Vision and The Corners, have come together recently. And, since it's Wisconsin Vision's fist mall location, we asked CEO Darren Horndasch a few questions about the new store, the industry and a burning question I've had about these ads for Hubble contacts that won't stop following me everywhere I go online.
OnMilwaukee: With so many developments in the greater Milwaukee area, why is The Corners the right fit for Wisconsin Vision?
Darren Horndasch: The Corners of Brookfield is the newest mall development in the State of Wisconsin. We were able to negotiate complete exclusivity for optical services including glasses, contacts, eye exams and accessories. Once the development is complete and the apartments are leased, The Corners will be its own little self-contained community. There is already a vibrant sense at The Corners which bring a number of new retailers to the market including Von Maur, LL Bean, and Arhaus to name a few attracting new shoppers.
What new challenges does a mall location present for you and your team?
The biggest challenge is the hours of operation. We are a family owned company and are not open seven days per week at other Wisconsin Vision locations. At The Corners, we will be open seven days per week.
Thinking about the brick and mortar box, what online/eCommerce opportunities do you see in Wisconsin Vision's future?
Ah, now there's a question that will have to be addressed at a later date! We do, however, have our portal for contact lens ordering that has been up and running for a number of years.
An industry question: I see constant ads for Hubble, and I wear contacts. What do you know about the company? Would you buy your contacts there?
Hubble is making its presence known. They have begun consumer advertising recently here in the Milwaukee market. What I do know about Hubble is that they are a subscription based contact on-line retailer selling their own proprietary brand of contacts. At Wisconsin Vision, we work with all four major contact lens manufacturers – Johnson and Johnson Vision Care, Alcon, Bausch & Lomb and CooperVision – all reputable trusted brands with their own proprietary designs. If one design worked for all eyes, we would not need to work with four vendors. Not to mention modality (daily, monthly, two week) and style (single vision, multifocal, toric) and other items like material, edge design, thickness, etc. All patients have different anatomy and given that contacts are truly a medical device, placed on the eye, working with an eye care professional to select the right product is imperative.
Milwaukee's on the move; what are you the most excited about in greater Milwaukee?
All of the development happening around the city. From the Third Ward to the Fifth Ward and Downtown, it is incredible what progress has been taking place.
How's the Shorewood location doing? I walk past (and stop in) regularly.
Shorewood hit strong right from the moment we open the doors. As we thought, the walking traffic is amazing and the community has embraced our presence. We think we nailed it with the style of the location and the experience that it represents.
Who or what is setting the trends in eye wear today?
First, I think that technology has led the way in terms of trends – specifically, the ability of manufacturers to blend materials in the making of frames. The use of metals and plastics and the molding process with plastics to create new color combinations. This has been amazing. Next, it is truly the consumers. We have definitely noticed a shift from still wanting brand name products with less emphasis on the brand placement itself: Less is more is the best way to describe.
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