At Moss Optical: Looking for Unique, Not Over the Top


According to: Kevin Moss, Owner

Kevin Moss, owner.
“Overall sales are flat with last year for this quarter. Eyewear is down slightly while contact lenses are up slightly. We’re close to being even with a year ago.”

“Our Q2 is down 15 percent from Q1, but that’s typical for me. A lot of my customers use cafeteria plans or pre-tax accounts so first quarter sales are better than second and third. Spring in Minnesota is a slow time in retail. We suffer through the winter so when spring rolls around people tend to put off their eyecare needs. Summer has been better. July was better than June so I think people are finishing their vacations. Sales picked up in July.”

“Sales wise, I’m optimistic through the fall, especially after the slow second quarter that we had. I’ll be beefing up my inventory probably middle of the third quarter in preparation for a big Q4. I won’t be doing any back-to-school promotions since we’re located downtown and don’t get many children.”

“High-end frames, in the $300 and over range, are doing best. I don’t know if it’s because that’s where I’m focusing my purchasing or if that’s what people are looking for. The opposite, $200 and below range, is doing the worst.”

“Retro is big in the Midwest right now. I’ve done well with Italee’s drill mount specialists, J.F. Rey, Etnia Barcelona and Seraphin’s retro line. I’ve taken on the Tom Davies bespoke eyewear which we’re excited about. I think another trend in eyewear is going to be more architectural design, double layers or titanium with interesting negative spaces and patterns on the temples.”

Moss Optical has been a family-owned, single-location optical boutique in Minneapolis for the past 76 years.
“People like a sandblast textured finish, something that’s beyond matte. Etnia has a roughed up sandpaper finish that people are liking a lot. That and a splash of color, like a simple torte with yellow temples.”

“My customers are always looking for the latest thing and I think that’s the trend. I think people want something unique without being over the top. They want others to look at their glasses and see that they’re new and different from what was available a year or two ago. No more shiny or opaque finishes. It’s going to be mattes and scratched going forward.”

“I’m selling more premium A/R than ever before. We’ve always been high compliance (95 percent AR) and now we’re selling even more premium A/R. As we’re moving people into thinner materials, single vision plastic is doing poorly. I’m also seeing customers go for computer glasses or office glasses as a second-pair option. As more people get older and presbyopic, the need for an office lens is going up and people are usually interested to try them.”

“We’re doing well with sports glasses this summer like Rudy Project and Maui Jim. Minneapolis is a pretty healthy city and runners and bikers enjoy picking from lens options. We’ve adopted Maui Jim’s evolution lens for our personal eyewear and are promoting to our patients as well.”

“I’m in the process of remodeling my store so I’m hoping a new look will generate some interest. We have a huge wall that faces the skyway and are installing a big mural geared toward that traffic. I’m also redoing my website after realizing that the current site isn’t friendly to mobile devices. Being downtown, most of my clients have mobile devices so I want to be sure they can get a hold of us.”

“I think people want others to look at their glasses and see that they’re new and different from what was available a year or two ago.”