Bakersfield Eye Care Optometric Center
Team building can so easily turn into travesty (think “office party”). But this exuberant practice in California’s dairy country pulls it off and reaps the rewards. The team that selects eyewear together stays together; owners Son Nguyen and Stan C. Yang grasp this, just as they recognize the value of a deep “manpower bench.” In-store goodwill is mirrored in serious outreach. Born in Taiwan and raised in Argentina, Spanish-speaking Dr. Yang is a one-man niche, and a “CEO of Fun” keeps a playful eye on morale.
Family Vision Care
One of Alma, Georgia’s most venerable businesses is also its most forward thinking. In 2013 owner Dr. Jim McQuaig and his business partner, Dr. Blake Hutto, transformed the 60-year-old practice. Now, modern elegance adds to rustic charm. The business has a top-tier online presence and a patient base that extends far beyond Alma. This is what reinvention means.
Iowa City, IA
Discerning Eye gets details right, including a cool store-within-a-store to reach the area’s students, and baking something for customers every day. Retail at its most intelligent.
Some of the country’s most cherished clichés about New Yorkers are under threat thanks to Metro Optics’ 39-year record of community service, from their Vision Club for patients without benefits to donating GM John Bonizio’s Mickey Mantle-signed baseball to charity. Befitting an optical in the Boogie Down, the team is steeped in tech and fashion.
EyeStyles Optical and Boutique
“Fate chuckled” at Nikki Griffin’s early efforts to bring “fabulosity” to eyewear in suburban St. Paul. But the last laugh is hers. Part farmhouse, part boutique, the interior is fascinating and fun. The strategy is proactive, the outreach substantial. Few businesses have banished complacency so thoroughly.
Vision Health Institute
Built as a financial facility — complete with drive-thru window — Vision Health Institute’s Drs. Mark and Karen Perry have hit on an approach that any retailer can take to the bank: Take care of your customers and your staff in equal measure. Their attractive, bright space encourages browsing and provides truly comprehensive eyecare. In a stroke of genius, every customer gets a handwritten letter from a staff member.
When it comes to letting stunning eyewear shine, Black Optical has few peers. No passive shrine to taste, it collaborates creatively with designers. At Black Optical branding is achieved, rather than displayed, through exquisite curating and service. Eyewear fits into a universe of style here. This is retail as salon.
Great Spectacles’ showroom could be the elegant but warm home of a particularly tasteful friend. Owner Lynda Winter’s relentlessly thoughtful attention to detail begins at the Feng Shui-compliant front door and reaches its zenith on the rear patio, where one can sample her exclusive inventory in natural light.
East Syracuse, NY
Frameology was born of Stacy Daniel-Murphy’s frustration at having her creativity and income stifled by industry norms. Her strong likes (off-site trunk shows) and dislikes (insurers dictating styles) shape a unique shopping experience. Few opticals so defiantly express an owner’s personality.