Wink Eyewear brings European fashion to St. Joseph

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Michael Willoughby and Brian Gach grew up driving past Sansone Floral on Ashland Avenue.

The St. Joseph natives also remember a time before it was known as the pink building. It was once beige and home to a mercantile shop and then a beauty shop, Gach said.

“This building is iconic,” Gach said. “The neighbors have been so receptive. They are so glad someone has taken over and made it new again.”

Now, the building at 2702 Ashland Ave., is a modern gray and home to two new businesses — Ad Astra Running and Wink Eyewear.

The companies first opened in 2006 in Lawrence, Kansas. But with local ties, it made sense for second locations to be in St. Joseph.

Willoughby and Gach have been in the optical industry for decades. Through that experience, Wink was born. Willoughby is the owner and Gach manages the St. Joseph eyewear store. Both men are opticians and frame stylists.

Willoughby owns the building with Grant Catloth, who owns the business Ad Astra with Jay Jenkins.

“We travel to Europe two, maybe three times a year, to find unique brands that you won’t see anywhere else,” Gach said. “But we have an exclusive on them. So no one else in town will be wearing them. Wink believes your frame becomes part of you and is part of your personality. And their goal is to treat everyone like they are family and get to know what style works for them.

Wink does not do eye exams and has an independent lab to fill customer orders. Gach said customers can bring their prescription in or they can call their eye doctor to get the script.

Wink is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and Mondays by appointment. For more information call 816-259-5276.

Ad Astra Running is a specialty store that customizes shoes, has high-quality products for running including shoes, accessories and apparel. Ad Astra is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 12 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

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