When you walk into the Karoo eyewear store, it feels like you’ve stepped into an upscale travel outfitter. The walls are covered in reclaimed wood and images of far-off locations and exotic animals. Every corner of the store features travel pieces, like vintage binoculars, that seem like they came straight from a wild excursion or luggage that bears the wear and tear of being carried around the world. Even the name Karoo evokes another land far from the hustle and bustle of Atlanta. But as you peruse the boutique and see the gorgeous frames dotting the walls, even hanging from the ceiling as part of the decor, you realize this isn’t your average eyeglasses store.
Karoo opened late this summer in the fabulous and ever-expanding Ponce City Market. The store is a gorgeous hybrid between health and fashion, offering quality eye care and vision correction by their in-house optometrist, plus one-of-a-kind, stunning frames you can’t find anywhere else. The unique shopping experience continues with skilled staff members who select the perfect style, color and size for a personalized eyewear fitting.
Karoo’s décor, brand–even the business’ name–are subtle nods to the owners’ South African roots. Mark Meyberg and Dr. Gavin Cohen, with more than 40 years of optometry experience between them, were inspired by their home country of South Africa and its desert region, known as the Karoo, when they set out to build their eyewear brand.
“When you come to Karoo, you don’t have to go any further,” Mark explains. “We designed Karoo as a place to get an exceptional eye exam with state-of-the-art equipment and a lab on-site. There’s no limit to what we can do with a prescription.”
The glasses are rugged and beautiful, just like the actual Karoo that is the store’s namesake. Each pair (frame and lenses) goes through a rigorous construction process, including triple laminate frames and advanced coatings for the lenses, as well as a thoughtful, aesthetic design process. The frames come in various colors, and the Karoo staff takes the time to figure out which ones look good on you—and you alone.
“I was inspired by styles, not design,” says Mark. “Colors also play a part with style and would look totally different on different faces.”
Going along with Karoo’s tagline of “life wide open,” the unique retailer carries its exotic motif into other elements of the business. Karoo Passport will eventually house online sales, where customers can sign into the portal and “explore and purchase a world of new styles.”
Want to know the best part? Sure, all of us glasses-wearers (me included) love showing off our unique frames and bragging about an only-in-Atlanta eyewear boutique. And we love having durable lenses that can take a tumble and still help us see. But what we really love is saving money on what can be a very expensive, yet necessary, yearly purchase.
Every pair (frames and lenses) is $149; polarized, prescription sunglasses are $249. That, combined with the $69 comprehensive eye exam, is way less than other competing eyewear retail chains. Karoo buys directly from the factory, which eventually passes the savings on to customers.
“All our frames are the same price, so customers have the freedom to choose what they love,” says Mark.
With this freedom of “life wide open,” Karoo hopes every person can find his or her own style and look, and be proud to wear their glasses out. Seeing what the world has to offer is a lot easier when you can actually see the world. Safe travels on your eyewear adventure!
Get your “passport” and take a trip to Karoo, inside Ponce City Market, at 650 North Ave. NE or call (404) 875-2766. Stop by the shop Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 12 to 6 p.m. Appointments can be scheduled with Karoo’s in-house doctor Tuesday through Saturday. Learn more at gokaroo.com.
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