Photo courtesy Zac Cooper: Zac Cooper, owner of Coopers Optique, a high-end glasses frame and sunglasses boutique in Queen Anne, wants to be involved in the Uptown business community.
Photo courtesy Zac Cooper: Zac Cooper, owner of Coopers Optique, a high-end glasses frame and sunglasses boutique in Queen Anne, wants to be involved in the Uptown business community.
1
2

After months of planning and delays, Zac Cooper is on track to open Coopers Optique, a high-end glasses frame and sunglasses store in Queen Anne’s Uptown.

While he had initially planned to open May 2, Cooper had to delay construction and plans to open his business because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The biggest struggle at the beginning was letting go of what’s out of my control,” Cooper said.

With construction back on track and retail stores allowed to open with restrictions under the Safe Start reopening plan, Cooper now has a solid opening date of July 1.

“It’ll be a very interesting transition in how this is going to work,” Cooper said in May.

Unlike other shops that sell glasses frames, Cooper describes his business as “an eyewear concierge service,” where people get personalized treatment in a cozy setting.

While Cooper will have an optician on staff, and he is wrapping up getting his optician’s license, he doesn’t have an optometrist on staff. He has partnered with a doctor nearby, however, and people can bring their own prescription, as well.

After a customer chooses a pair of frames to buy, his or her prescription, with detailed measurements of what lens size is needed for the frames, is sent to a locally owned lens fabricators in Kirkland. When they are ready, customers are fitted with their lenses and adjustments are made.

“But our focus is the fashion side of it,” Cooper said.

He said the frames he carries have fun with shapes and colors. They also come in a variety of materials, including wood, rubber and animal horn.

While Cooper is pleased with the variety offered, he said it is important to him that all his lines use materials that are responsibly sourced.

“We take that extra time to see where it comes from and how it affects the environment,” he said.

Currently, Cooper offers both American and European styles of glasses frames.

“I am loving it right now because you can get away with everything,” Cooper said about frame styles. “It’s really funny. Seattle is super-progressive, but America is year’s behind Europe [in fashion].”

Cooper also makes sure his lines stand out to fashion lovers or to people who just want to have fun with their glasses.

“When we put out a line, our goal is to be the store to go to for glasses you can’t get anywhere else,” Cooper said. “Seattle’s this little zone where anything goes.”

In preparation to opening his store, Cooper did months of research looking for the best lines that will appeal to a broad variety of tastes.

“They have to wear eyewear, and they’re having fun with it and embracing it,” Cooper said of his customers.

Through his research, conversations with customers and pop-up shops, Cooper said there is an interest in a boutique of this sort.

“There’s definitely a niche out there in the Seattle area,” he said.

Like every other aspect to his business, Cooper also selected the location carefully. His store is on the ground level of the Astro building, 315 First Ave. N., in Queen Anne’s Uptown.

The business will have large street-facing windows that will allow people to see what’s going on inside and the frames featured.

“When you walk by, it’s like an open jewelry box,” Cooper said.

While most optical spaces are not big, Cooper said he deliberately selected a larger space, pushing for about 1,500 square feet, so he can host other events in the community or rent out the space.

Once all restrictions are lifted, Cooper envisions using it for fashion shows with local designers, where his frames are also featured, or for wine tastings or other events. Cooper also intends to dedicate a wall of the venue to local artists so they can show off their work.

“We wanted it to be more than just a retail store where people come in and buy glasses,” Cooper said.

Cooper also wants to be involved in the community. He and his husband are already active with the LGBTQ community, many of whom are his customers. He also joined the Uptown Alliance and spearheaded the small business committee, which he hopes will become a resource for the small business owners in Uptown.

“I felt I’ve been given a lot of opportunities when opening my store, so I really want to give back to the community,” he said.

Once the business opens, Cooper said his business will accept walk-in customers, but appointments are preferred to maintain the business’s exclusive feel.

To learn more about Cooper or Coopers Optique, visit www.coopersoptique.com.