Warby Parker to Open a New Optical Lab in Rockland County; Retain More than 250 Jobs at New York City Headquarters
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Warby Parker, which produces its own line of affordable designer eyewear, will create 128 jobs over the next five years in a new 34,000-square-foot optical lab in Sloatsburg, Rockland County. Outfitted for the assembly of glasses and the finishing of prescription lenses, this is the first optical lab Warby Parker will fully own, and its first expansion into the Mid-Hudson Region. The Manhattan-based company will also retain more than 250 jobs at its New York City headquarters as well as an additional 130 jobs at New York retail locations.
“Warby Parker is a fast-growing company and their new facility will bring jobs, private investment and a new economic energy to the entire region,” Governor Cuomo said. “This is another example of our administration’s efforts to improve our state’s business climate with policies to attract and retain innovative companies that create good-paying jobs for New Yorkers.”
“We’re incredibly excited to open our first optical lab in Sloatsburg, Rockland County,” said Warby Parker co-Founder and co-CEO Dave Gilboa. “We started Warby Parker with the goal of transforming the eyewear industry by offering an alternative to the overpriced and underwhelming prescription glasses on the market. Since 2010, we’ve been committed to building a business that lasts and, as we continue to scale, the lab will allow for more sustainable growth across our supply chain.”
“Since day one we’ve worked hard to provide our customers with the best shopping experience possible. As a vertically integrated brand, opening our own lab is the next step in continuing to provide remarkable customer experiences,” said Warby Parker co-Founder and co-CEO Neil Blumenthal. “And we couldn’t be more excited to open this lab in our own backyard and bring even more jobs to the state we call home.”
“New York State’s skilled and educated workforce has enabled Warby Parker to develop and grow, to the point where it is adding 128 employees to the hundreds it already has,” said ESD President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, innovative companies like Warby Parker are changing the business landscape, creating jobs in the Mid-Hudson Region and across the state.”
“We welcome Warby Parker to Rockland with open arms,” said Rockland County Executive Ed Day. “We appreciate the confidence that this company and Gov. Cuomo have shown in choosing Rockland as the location for this growing and innovative company’s manufacturing facility. Rockland offers a highly skilled work force, easy access to New York City and the metropolitan region and a wonderful quality of life for Warby Parker’s employees. We are ready to assist this company in any way that we can to ease their move to Sloatsburg.”
Warby Parker employs more than 250 people at its headquarters in Manhattan. They sell fashionable prescription eyewear and sunglasses online and in 31 retail locations across the U.S., including five locations in New York City. Opening its own optical lab allows the company to further manage the manufacturing process and gain better insight into and control over order lead time and quality assurance. It also allows the company to bring more jobs to New York State.
To encourage Warby Parker to expand in New York State, ESD is providing the company with up to $1.32 million in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits. As part of the agreement, Warby Parker will invest more than $15 million to construct and outfit the new factory while creating 128 jobs over the next five years, starting with about 20 new employees, at the Sloatsburg factory. In 2014, ESD agreed to provide the company with up to $2.2 million in Excelsior tax credits if they created 145 new jobs and retained 271 in the New York City headquarters. Under the terms of both incentive offers, Warby Parker will retain the agreed-upon employment figures through 2025.
About Warby Parker:
Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses. Every idea starts with a problem. Theirs was simple: glasses are too expensive. By circumventing traditional channels, designing glasses in-house, and engaging with customers directly, they’re able to provide higher-quality, better-looking prescription eyewear starting at $95 (a fraction of the going price).
Warby Parker also believes that everyone has the right to see. Almost one billion people worldwide lack access to glasses, which means that 15% of the world’s population cannot effectively learn or work. To help address this problem, Warby Parker partners with non-profits like VisionSpring to ensure that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need.
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