By Denis Langlois
G is for Glasses is a fun and funky optical boutique in Winnipeg that deserves an A for awesome.
Opened in June 2014 by cousins Dr. Jessie Fillmore and Bonni O’Hara, the shop features an unconventional layout and decorations that are both welcoming and intriguing.
The idea to open the business was hatched on a summer evening at a cottage, while Fillmore and O’Hara enjoyed a bottle of Chardonnay.
Fillmore, who had graduated from the Illinois College of Optometry in 2009 and moved back to Winnipeg to start practicing, realized there wasn’t a practice in the Manitoba capital that matched her style and personality.
O’Hara, who has a background in retail management and visual merchandising, was also ready for a career change to better suit her lifestyle.
They soon realized their backgrounds fit perfectly to create a trendy optical shop.
G is for Glasses now has three full-time employees – lens specialist Ken Bond, optician Kelsey Kinsman and “director of first impressions” Mel Peter. Associate optometrist Dr. Jocelyn Radaweic sees patients on Thursdays as well.
Recently, Optical Prism magazine spoke with Fillmore and O’Hara about G is for Glasses and plans for the future.
- Tell us about the colourful, funky layout of G is for Glasses. Why was this the kind of environment you wished to create?
- We wanted to create a welcoming, fun, inclusive environment where everyone feels comfortable finding their new look and becomes genuinely excited about being bespectacled.
G’s aesthetic is “anything goes,” which is anchored by cottage-inspired pine board walls, black-and-white tiled flooring and a 10-foot built-in bookcase.
The optician bar was designed with the hopes that parties could also be hosted there and is also sturdy enough to dance on. We keep it fresh by mixing up the visual merchandising multiple times a year so that it will always feel familiar yet new at the same time.
- Tell me about your clientele and the types of products you offer.
- Our clientele is super diverse which we love. We speak to people who are seeking classic frames done differently. One of our favourite things to hear from customers is that in the past they had struggled to find one frame they liked, but at G their shortlist is 10 frames. We select our brands first and foremost on them being independent. Design, engineering and quality are also extremely important to us, as well as having a personal connection to the brand itself.
- Do you have new things planned for the business?
- Future plans for our business include providing eyecare and eyewear to communities who do not have access to these services. We also want to ensure we are continually evolving our eyewear collections to facilitate our client’s exposure to quality, independent eyewear. We strive to give Winnipeggers the best frames the world has to offer.