1-800 Contacts’ Lumen Optical Brick-and-Mortar ‘Test’ Rolls Along in the Chicago Market

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CHICAGO—Lumen Optical, a new optical store concept developed by 1-800 Contacts Inc., has opened its fourth location as it continues experimenting with the brick-and-mortar format in the Illinois market. The fourth Lumen location is within the city of Chicago, while the first three Lumen stores opened in 2016 in metro areas just outside of Chicago.

The newest Lumen is located on North Elston Avenue, in the evolving and gentrifying Bucktown neighborhood on the west side of town.

Laura Schmidt, marketing director at 1-800 Contacts, confirmed the opening of the new Chicago location, but declined to provide any additional details. Schmidt told dba “nothing has changed regarding the Lumen business. ... This is still a test for us.”

Schmidt has previously described the business relationship between 1-800 Contacts and Lumen Optical as “sister companies.” She said the new concept was an “example of things we are testing all the time.”

As dba reported, 1-800 Contacts—the leading online contact lens retailer in the U.S.—began testing the service-oriented, boutique-like Lumen stores late last year.

The stores are about 3,000 to 3,500 square feet and feature new in-store looks that Lumen said are part of its effort to rethink the optical experience, from the exam to choosing lenses, according to its website.

According to the Lumen website, “The result is a high-service boutique environment without the next-day buyer’s remorse. Choose to browse our frames yourself, or pull up to the Frames Bar and relax while our trained stylists help you discover the perfect look. Because we make our own custom lenses in-house, you’ll have your new glasses in just 24 hours.”