High-end shades hit Park City
January 3, 2007
To some people, sunglasses are all about function, not fashion. To others, like Sunglass Pros Owner Steve Hilowitz, shades are all about bling.
Sunglass Pros, a high-end shades shop, recently opened a store on Main Street to go along with locations in Boston, Hawaii and Aspen and Boulder, Colo.
"The Park City store has been good so far," Hilowitz said. "We felt a big need there. No one in Park City was selling Cartier, Chrome Hearts, Lorree Rodkin and other high-end glasses. We have Gucci and brands like that as well."
From Cartier to Oakley, Sunglass Pros has a little of everything, ranging in price from $70 for a pair of sporty Ray-Bans to $4,500 for a pair of Pave Diamonds meant to turn heads.
"The average consumer in Park City is considered to be well above the average means with a very big need for these types of sunglasses, which was not catered to at all in Park City before we came," Hilowitz said. "We’re able to help all those people that have to go to Las Vegas or California. They can get the exact same brands they can get there and now they can get them right in Park City."
Hilowitz said Sunglass Pros is unique is the way it presents, sells and maintains its merchandise, which is what has made it successful in all five locations across the country.
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"We are the only ones in the country who present sunglasses the way we do," he said. "We consider ourselves the only true high-end sunglass retailer in the country. We’re the only retailer of sunglasses who sell the sunglasses like jewelry, which means the customer doesn’t have direct access to the glasses they’re behind glass."
Despite not having immediate access to the sunglasses, Hilowitz said customers have a 360-degree view of each pair because of the way they are displayed. He also said needing an employees help to try on the glasses will allow the customer to learn more about each pair, how they fit and the various styles.
"The sunglasses are laid out in such a manner because a lot of the designs include details on the temples of the frame, and this way you can see everything about each pair," he said. "The way we have it set up you can see every pair of sunglasses all the way around, which is another good thing for the customer."
"The product is always immaculate because there’s somebody always helping you," he added. "You don’t just meander around aimlessly trying to learn things about the glasses on your own. There is a lot to buying sunglasses that people don’t know about."
Another difference between Sunglass Pros and other stores is that Hilowitz hires licensed opticians to work at each location. Christina Christopherson, the manager and optician at the Park City store, does all frame adjustments and screw replacements for free on glasses sold at the store.
Hilowitz said he got the idea to have an in-house optician from his brother, Jeffery Hilowitz, an optometrist and business partner.
"My brother and I were in the prescription eyewear business in New York and we put several sunglasses on the wall and it became very popular," Hilowitz said. "Since then we’ve also been doing sunglass stores."
Hilowitz said Sunglass Pros is not the store for those searching for a $5 pair of sunglasses that won’t be missed if they’re lost. The shop is for the fashion-forward shopper wanting to sport the latest trend, he said.
"We’re looking for an upscale customer that’s very aware of fashion trends and wants to stay up to date," he said. "We don’t really cater to the type of customer looking for a bargain and is not into quality and workmanship."
Hilowitz wanted to add a Park City location after several Parkites walked into his Maui store and told him to come to Utah.
"Park City is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen," he said. "The whole area of Colorado and Utah is awesome. Add Hawaii in there and I love making trips to all my stores."
Although he said he doesn’t really have a home, Hilowitz spends most of his time in Boston, although he is currently running his newest store, located in Aspen, because his manager was a no-show on opening day.
"On our first day in business in Aspen my manager never showed up," he said. "I was here for the opening and when she never showed up I had to run the store by myself and try hire someone else. But this is a great place to work and a great place to shop I’m sure it won’t be a problem."
Sunglass Pros is located at 577 Main Street and can be reached at (435) 655-2390.