Eyeglasses are perhaps the ultimate accessory. Like a scarf or a watch, they not only can make a strong statement about your personality and style, but also have the unique ability to enhance the appearance of your face. The perfect frames are a synergy of form and function. They should be flattering, as well as comfortable, and should be in harmony with your lifestyle and goals. For a single accessory, that’s a tall order.
If you already are in the market for stylish new eyeglass frames, chances are you’ve been to several stores, tried on frame after frame, and still had difficulty finding that perfect pair.
While other retailers tend to carry frames from the same group of designers, Specs Appeal offers something different.
Owner Ted LeClaire says, “I carry a lot of European frames that you can’t get at too many places in the Twin Cities. We import them, and we also design our own.”
LeClaire’s unique inventory makes for a riskier business investment—requiring him to purchase the frames outright, hoping they find their way to the right owner—but it seems to have paid off. In the 17 years the store has been open, both local and out-of-town customers have sought it out. Many have become loyal customers.
Aside from the frames themselves, the other secret to Specs Appeal’s success is customer service. At bigger chain stores, the burden of finding suitable frames among a veritable sea of spectacles falls solely upon the customer. However, Specs Appeal’s knowledgeable staff makes the buying experience much easier. They intuitively select frames they believe would suit their client best.
The shop also is known for its ability to generate deceptively thin lenses. It offers contacts, sunglasses, readers, and eye exams by appointment.
With such a high priority placed on customer service, quality, and style, one might expect that frames at Specs Appeal would be prohibitively expensive. However, according to LeClaire, that is simply not the case.
As LeClaire states, “I have compared all the chain stores’ prices on lenses, and then, I’ve undercut them a bit. My average frame is about $300, and they go up to $1,000.”
Specs Appeal is open Monday-Friday, 10 AM-6 PM, and Saturday, 10 AM-3 PM. Heidi Fellner
Name of Company: Specs Appeal
Year Founded: 1994
President/CEO: Ted LeClaire
Number of Employees: 5
Address: 844 Grand Ave., St. Paul
Phone: (651) 291-5150