The sun has long passed its apex, which means it’s time for…the Afternoon Report.
In August, I wrote a story examining the persistent vacancies of ground floor retail in newly-built mixed used developments of the Mission. I looked closely at the corner of 19th and Valencia, where 17 luxury condos popped up (and sold rapidly) in October 2013 and with it 2,750 square-feet of long vacant commercial real estate.
The three available spaces (the Balm was a lone outpost for months) had very few built-in features and the realtor at the time said he was expecting a lofty $5-$7 a square-foot. What business could afford to go into such a big, empty, and expensive spaces?
Over the last couple of months Project Juice, DSPTCH moved in and provided some answers. But who would take up the biggest, emptiest glass-walled corner?
Over the weekend, the answer to that question opened for business: Veo Optics.
The lens shop has a retro-modernist aesthetic—big metal fixtures, Edison bulbs, exposed pipes—with some colorful elements. There’s a cage with two yet-to-be-named zebra finches (Veo is taking suggestions) and a dog bed in the window for owner James Peo’s Great Dane Atlas. Of course, there’s also lots of eyewear. Selections from Tom Ford, Paul Smith, Oliver Peoples line the walls.
Veo has four locations throughout the city. The Valencia Street location is replacing its first store which which opened on Church and Market in 2010.
“At our Union Square location we have a lot of Prada and Fendi, Céline, ” says store manager Amber Franzella. “In the Mission, everyone is more youthful…people play with style more here.”
As such, Franzella says the store offers a more eclectic set of brands—mentioning Monocle, Tom Ford, and Etnia. Veo’s owner also designs frames in-house under the brand People of Jamestown. Franzella explains there’s all manner of retro and modern styles in the Valencia Street shop. She suggests LAEyeware’s brightly hued frames for those who are looking for a bolder look.
Today, I want the most expensive look possible. While Veo offers frames starting at $250, Franzella knows where to turn for a deluxe set of eyes.
From a big wooden drawer in the corner, she pulls out two pairs of buffalo-horned rimmed frames. Yes, actual the fallen antlers of great plains-roaming creatures are used to make these glasses.
“The natural material actually molds to the shape of your head,” says Franzella of the bison bifocals as I try on a pair of $1999 Hackett Bespoke Frames, followed by an only slightly cheaper pair by Oliver Peoples.
I think they look pretty good. But, I’ll have to save up my lunch money to drop two G’s for fashion glasses. Is it worth it? See below to judge for yourself.
This has been your Afternoon Report—a new series we’re trying out in which we offer a quickie post-meridian rundown of some minor developments in the always-happening streets of the Mission District. Got ideas or suggestions? Let us know what you think by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.