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December 7, 2021

Warby Parker joins new retail in Broadway shopping district

PHOTO | Liese Klein A new Warby Parker store in New Haven.

The grand opening of a new Warby Parker store at the corner of Broadway and York on Saturday marked the latest in a series of openings in the retail corridors around Yale as downtown continues to rebound from the pandemic.

The national eyewear chain leased the ground floor of a century-old brick structure at 268 York St. that was home to Barrie Ltd. Booters for 70 years. The New Haven store is Warby Parker’s fourth in the state in addition to Farmington, Norwalk and Greenwich.

The brightly lit storefront features on-trend eyeglass frames starting at about $100 and joins national chains including Lululemon, Bluemercury, LL Bean and Patagonia on the Broadway shopping strip.

Also celebrating official ribbon cuttings in recent weeks were Bulldog Hotdogs, in a kiosk bordered by Broadway and Elm Street, and Pedals Smoothie & Juice Bar at 284 York.

The openings reflect ongoing hopeful signs for New Haven’s retail districts as unemployment numbers continue to fall, according to city officials.

Unemployment in the city fell below 7% in October for the first time since March of 2020, when pandemic job losses began to spike, according to New Haven's monthly economic report. Downtown pedestrian traffic also rose to a post-pandemic high in mid-November, nearing 2019 numbers for the same period, the Town Green District reported.

City parking revenue has trended upward throughout the summer and fall before a dip in November. The report has not listed updated storefront vacancy statistics since April, but recorded 57 new businesses opening in 2021 so far, compared to 48 opening in 2020.  A total of 28 businesses have closed in 2021, compared to 39 in 2020.

New Haven leads the state in housing permits with 298 so far this year, compared to 786 in 2020, when several major apartment developments came online.

Contact Liese Klein at

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