For over 3 years, the Oakley retail store at the St. Johns Town Center has taken pride in supplying Jacksonville with quality shades and customer service. This year, the customer experience has an added feature that has been receiving attention around the world, and the folks at Oakley are excited to bring the custom sunglass building experience right to the fingertips of the 904 community.

They invited me down to walk through the custom sunglass designing experience and helped me put together the perfect pair of shades for myself!

Marcos Pareira, the store manager, and the assistant manager, Luis Colon, welcomed me at the door. They were really informative and told me a lot about all of the options and features to choose from when putting together a custom pair of shades. They explained that there were a lot of different combinations to choose from, and that although this was the first year they have been doing custom sunglass building in-store, this cool option has been offered at Oakley for years.

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All the parts and pieces

When we got into it, Pareira and Colon showed me a couple of their favorite combinations, and the process started with choosing the frame design and model that was best for me. This time we chose the “Frogskin” frame because that is the model that has the most options for customization.

After choosing which frame looked best with some help from the Oakley fellas, the next step was choosing which color Frogskins I wanted. They had all kinds of options from flashy to casual, from fluorescent green to matte black. After picking the frame color, I kept working to find the combination of parts that made my dream pair of shades. After contemplating between tortoise brown, blue and matte black, I chose the matte black, which led me into choosing which lens and legs went with my new frame.

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Frogskin customs

That’s right, with the Frogskins, customers are able to not only choose which color frame they want, but they get to choose the leg color and lens quality and color that is best for them. This took me awhile, as there were so many options!

After trying the the blue legs, wood grain and polished black with the matte black frame, the limited-edition wood grain design really made for a nice touch, so I chose those. Now that the shades were a complete frame, it was onto the lenses.

My usual preference of lenses are polarized ones, but the shop had so many options, including reflective iridium colors, as well as polarized and non-polarized lenses that came in all types of colors and looks. I tried the brown polarized, the black polarized and their special edition 24K iridium gold polarized lenses among the many others I was curious about seeing. I was stuck on the brown polarized, but after trying on the 24K gold lens, Colon convinced me that the extra flash of gold was a good combo.

Low and behold: we came up with these bad boys on the spot. In my opinion, it was a really cool experience overall and for those looking to add a little something extra to your new pair of shades, or you’re one of those people who need help choosing a pair that are right for you, the Oakley shop is a great option.

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The finished product.

A lot of people resort to online shopping when ordering shades or choosing from the limited display at your local sunglass shop, and sometimes when you purchase those shades they aren’t exactly what you were expecting. As mentioned earlier, Oakley has been customizing shades online for years, and although the popularity of the program has always been high, some customers ran into that problem. This takes that guessing factor away and the folks at Oakley really wanted people to have that option of trying on their custom shades before purchasing them. The Oakley shop has all the parts needed for customization in-store, so you know your getting exactly what you expect when spending your money.

“It’s a one-stop-shop kind of thing. It takes the guessing game away from the custom sunglass purchase and we stress the “in-store” part of the customization because you actually get to wear the sunglasses, try different styles and get what you really want out of the experience and product,” Colon said.

With the holidays drawing near, this could make a great gift for friends and family. The Oakley store offers gift cards for the custom fitting experience and are going to be holding specials leading up to the holidays, with a black friday special for 40 percent off anything in the store, among others. With Oakley having the worldwide popularity they have, it was really cool to see a company on that level of success show love to a local community like Jacksonville. These guys really care about the customers using their product. It was a true hands-on experience, and I really felt that the guys over at Oakley at the Town Center cared about getting customers the right shades for them and their personal preferences.