Louisville-based Shady Rays grows nationally, opens retail store at Oxmoor Mall | Business

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — The future is bright for a growing Kentuckian business.

Shady Rays is one of the fastest growing eyewear companies in the country.

For Chris Ratherman, every pair of sunglasses has its place. The Louisville native formed Shady Rays about a decade ago.

“It started in 2012, I had an idea to create a lifestyle sunglasses brand and solve the problem of losing or breaking sunglasses,” Raterman said.

If Shady Rays sunglasses are broken or lost, customers will receive a replacement within 24 hours. Although Shady Rays now operates out of a warehouse in Simpsonville, it had humble beginnings.

“He quickly became my father in his formal living room on a card table with a laptop and a label printer, printing orders, putting them in garbage bags, taking them to the post office,” Raterman said. “Literally every day in his trunk.”

The Shady Rays lineup is moving to a bigger location.

The company will soon move into a new shipping and distribution center that will be completed in about a year.

“It was about high quality, but for us it was a protection program that would literally handle even losing sunglasses, even dropping them in a lake or whatever,” Raterman said.

Shadowy rays

Renderings of the new Shady Rays headquarters and distribution center.

The success of Shady Rays is moving from online sales to brick-and-mortar stores with the opening of retail space at Oxmoor Center.

“It’s a pretty surreal moment to have a store in such a well-known hometown store,” Raterman said. “The mall I would go to and go to as a child.”

Ratherman also wants the company to support people in need. Through a partnership with Feeding America, Shady Rays has donated more than 24 million meals to food insecurity.

Since its inception, the company has more than two million customers and 250,000 five-star reviews. He also continues to give hundreds of thousands of dollars each year through charitable contributions.

Shadowy rays

Some of the nearly 200 styles of Shady Rays glasses.

“Helping change the world through every pair of sunglasses we sell has always been part of the plan,” Rutterman said.

A plan that started with a dream and grew not only locally but globally into a bright future.

“Being a relevant national brand has just been an exciting ride that I’m definitely grateful for,” Rutterman said.

In addition to the current retail stores in Denver and Lexington, Shady Rays plans to open in Louisville, Scottsdale, Arizona and The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.

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