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In order to fully appreciate this eyewear collection and the brand behind that creates its energy, you must know the history behind Erker's. Erker’s Fine Eyewear is a family-owned business with a rich St. Louis history, dating back five generations to the company's inception in 1879. Founded by A.P. Erker, the company later incorporated when brother August Erker joined the business.
The first optical laboratory west of the Mississippi River, Erker's won optical machinery and equipment awards at the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition, served as the official photographer for the 1904 Saint Louis World's Fair and custom designed the goggles for Charles Lindbergh, used in his historic flight over the Atlantic.
In the years since, the family business was carried on by the descendants of August Erker, first by his son Eugene, who took over circa 1930, followed by grandson Jack Sr., who took the reins in the 1960s, then by great-grandson, Jack Jr, in the early 1990’s, who teamed up most recently with his two sons Jack III and Tony in the early 2001.
Early on, Erker's sold everything with a lens, from eye glasses, sunglasses, prescription lenses to cameras, goggles to microscopes. A key element to the company's success has been the ability of its leaders to predict and identify new trends, not just keeping up with the competition, but leading the eyewear industry. True to form, Jack Erker Jr. recognized the great consumer demand for fine eyewear and has been focusing on the latest trend in the St. Louis market.
In 2003, Jack Erker Jr. and his two sons, Jack lll and Tony, set up a wholesale division Studio Optyx, a design and manufacturing house that creates and distributes its own visions of eyewear. Since the inception, Studio Optyx has worked with some of the world’s most fashion creative and fashion leading factories. “We have a very high level of criteria that factories must meet in order for us to have a successful relationship. One that is engraved in my DNA since I was born,” says Jack III.
For years, we have had a vision of creating a brand that caters to the urban chic lifestyle, by bringing together all of the things that make life interesting, fun, fresh, and exciting, and that's when NW77th came into the picture.
Throughout our retail stores, we couldn’t take notice that the younger generations were gravitated to our vast selection of styles, shapes, quality, and service that we had to offer, but would leave without purchasing because of price. With our reputation on the line, we embarked on a mission to find a luxury brand that could offer everything we needed in order for us to be proud to sell in our local market.
Today’s urban dweller leads an exciting and active life beyond uniformed stores and boring shopping malls. They appreciate the social element and cultural connection of a shopping experience as well and gravitate towards retailers who enrich their lives in some way. Throughout our travels across the globe, we work very hard throughout the day, but love to be wowed by the big city restaurants and lounges in whichever city we are in. This is where our “Think Tank” is! We enjoy that comfortable feeling when we are in those spaces, particularly the ones that have the perfect combination of great service, great sound and interesting décor – pushing the limits, yet very cool. Those attributes help create the overall experience, and we wanted to bring our cool experiences to everyone through the vibe and energy of NW77th while defining modern cultural living.
We have worked tirelessly ensuring customer satisfaction and superb quality of all of its products. It is our ongoing goal to provide this same level of services in to our customers as we have done now for five generations, and our dream to do it for many generations to come. We are the oldest optical company in the United States still owned by the descendants of the founding family, and proud to be.