12 - 03 - 2020

SPEX by Ryan - 5 Years and Counting

It’s crazy and amazing to think that five years has already passed since SPEX by Ryan opened our doors and began bringing a new take on eyewear to Regina. In that time we’ve seen a lot, done a lot and want to take that energy forward into the future of SPEX. But before we jump into the future and where the next five years will take us, we wanted to pause for a moment and reflect on the journey that brought us where we are today.

Owning a shop dedicated to bringing a new view to eyewear was always a dream of Ryan Horne’s – the whole reason that he originally got into the glasses industry was to one day own his own business. And after working in the eyewear industry for years the opportunity to open up his own storefront became a reality. Ryan brought with him industry knowledge, connections to brand representatives and a passion for everything eyewear related that was well known throughout the industry.

In fact, before SPEX had officially even opened its first pair of glasses was sold. Despite the store physically not being opened yet, SPEX was on the dealer locator for Mark Mothersbaugh (yes of Devo) Eyewear – four limited edition styles of frames – which caught the eye of a professor in Ontario. He contacted Ryan and before the doors had even opened a sale had been made.

Of course, even with the great start of making a sale before officially opening, that doesn’t mean that there weren’t challenges to be met and faced head on. Finding the capital to open a store of this magnitude, with the amount of stock required, posed one of the first initial hurdles to overcome. Thanks to the belief in Ryan and his vision for SPEX, a long time client turned into an investor and allowed the dream to turn to reality.

This success can be seen as stemming from Ryan’s love and passion for the industry. From being reached out by industry experts to provide articles, interviews and content for various publications, to being asked to be featured in 20/20 Magazine upcoming in 2020, to nominations and participation at the Vision Expos in New York and Vegas – Ryan and SPEX have left their impact on the eyewear industry.

The next challenge to surpass – getting people in the door. At previous employment at an optometrist, there was a constant flow of people in and out of the business. Quite often those who would walk in for their eye checkup would then peruse the frames and update their prescription and lenses. SPEX, however, being a stand alone retailer needed to get the word out that it was worth the extra trip for people to find their perfect frame.

As word spread more and more people would walk through the doors – sometimes it would seem all at once. One Saturday in particular in March of the first year, Ryan was working (by himself, as he did not have any additional employees at the time yet), he saw probably the busiest day of his entire career. And although the posted hours of SPEX are 10-4, he didn’t leave until 7 that night. But that day helped Ryan to know – this was the path that he was supposed to be on.

The ROB

This passion wasn’t just recognized by clients as SPEX was nominated for a Best Store Award from one of the largest trade shows in the industry in Milan – in its first year of business. And with a narrow nomination field, as only around 30 stores are nominated, even though SPEX didn’t walk away with the win, Ryan felt it was a win of a different kind, as it paid off and recognized the hard work and love that went into SPEX.

Locally SPEX gained recognition as a finalist with the ABEX awards from the Saskatchewan Chamber, which celebrates and awards Saskatchewan businesses, for Best New Venture. To be recognized both locally and internationally within its first year of operations really helped to bring the notion that SPEX was exactly where Ryan was supposed to be.

This success can be seen as stemming from Ryan’s love and passion for the industry. From being reached out by industry experts to provide articles, interviews and content for various publications, to being asked to be featured in 20/20 Magazine upcoming in 2020, to nominations and participation at the Vision Expos in New York and Vegas – Ryan and SPEX have left their impact on the eyewear industry.

SPEX has left an impact on Regina as well – or at least tried too. By punching up the marketing and creating a sexier image on social media than perhaps Reginans were used to at the time, SPEX has opened the door for others to follow suit. And over the years, SPEX has started to introduce the idea of having a pair of glasses is more than just a method to help you see clearly – they can be an expression of yourself and they can include creative shapes and colours. And that the small city of Regina can look and feel “big city” too.

The years have seen many collaborations with other businesses in Regina too. Most recently, SPEX and Rebellion Brewing Co. teamed up to bring hand craft beer and hand craft eyewear fashion to the masses of Regina. In the past, Ryan and company headed up to Saskatoon to pair up with Beneath it All Lingerie, to not only team up with a great business, but to bring some of that SPEX appeal to Saskatoon.

Speaking of Saskatoon…

Going into the future SPEX by Ryan has a lot to look forward to – the biggest new being that a second location will be opening up this year in Saskatoon. And even with now five years of experience in Regina, Ryan is brought back to the same feelings of excitement, anticipation and nervousness with the Saskatoon branch as when he first opened the doors in Regina. But it’s time for the next chapter of the SPEX story and bringing the same level of quality, passion and amazing eyewear to Saskatoon is where Ryan and everyone at SPEX wants to take the future.

So here’s to an amazing first five years of SPEX by Ryan, and here’s to five more incredible years and beyond!

What’s going on at SPEX?

SPEX Comes to Riversdale

August 24th, 2020|Categories: Media|

Hey Saskatoon, you might have seen us around when you look up. We’re excited to give a little bit of SPEX legacy with a new billboard campaign in Riversdale. We’ve got a simple message to Riversdale and Saskatoon. Don’t Get Glasses, Get SPEX by Ryan. SPEX ...

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By |2020-07-27T01:03:40-04:00March 12th, 2020|Media|0 Comments