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Making Magic

FIRST PLACE: Few eyecare businesses express their owners’ vision so completely as Petaluma, CA’s Über Optics — America’s Finest Optical Retailer for 2023.





OWNER: Nancy Revis | URL: www.ü | YEAR FOUNDED: 2013 | YEAR OPENED FEATURED LOCATION: 2013 |AREA: 1,800 sq. ft. | EMPLOYEES: 3 full-time, 1 part-time | FACEBOOK:überoptics | INSTAGRAM:überoptics | TOP BRANDS: Anne et Valentin, LA Eyeworks, MOSCOT, Ahlem, Face a Face, Blake Kuwahara, Theo, Vinylize, IC Berlin, Bevel, Woow, Lafont | BUILD OUT COST: $9,600

“Abeautiful frame,” says Nancy Revis, owner of Über Optics, “is like serotonin for your face.” Like so many of Revis’ observations on the topic of eyewear, it’s immediately memorable, totally distinctive and just plain fun — qualities that just as easily describe her utterly unique optical boutique in Petaluma, CA. A true, across-the-board embodiment of independent optical retail — from the décor and frames to its marketing and business model — Über Optics easily captured the hearts of our judges to win first place in INVISION’s 2023 America’s Finest Optical Retailers contest.

The historic Bay Area town of Petaluma is known for its Victorian architecture and surrounding farmland and wineries, but what sets it apart for Revis are its residents. “Petaluma is filled with the coolest people,” she says. “Tons of musicians, artists, and just all-around super interesting people. I have pulled in my ‘clan’ of like-minded individuals that are attracted to the strange and different.”

An optician for over 30 years now, Revis entered the trade at a small shop in her home state of Michigan, before heading west in her 20s. After years learning the industry at locations around California, she moved to Petaluma with her husband Joost in 2011 to start a family. “I explored for two years and did my research on the people and really honed in all the lines I would carry if I was able to open a shop. I did in 2013 and it has been awesome ever since.”

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Retro furniture and original artwork by owner Nancy Revis’ father-in-law catch the eye at Über Optics.

Revis’ goal at Über Optics is simple: “I want people to have a visceral reaction when they come into my store. Not that they are being sold something but that they are given a piece of themselves that was missing. The designers I choose to have in my shop feel the same way I do … and together we make people feel good.”


Capturing “all the beauty of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s,” the optical is adorned with authentic vintage items, from a signed poster of Phyllis Diller to a colorful collection of rotary phones and, yes, a disco ball. Strategically placed candy bowls brim with chocolates, Dum Dums and mints. Unique frames by Revis’ favorite independent labels such as l.a. Eyeworks, MOSCOT, Anne et Valentin, Bevel and WOOW nestle among the retro furniture she finds at thrift stores, along with original art painted by Revis’ father-in-law, a guitar and a ’50s retro bar (pulled to the front for trunk shows). “My shop takes you back in time or pulls you into the future,” says Revis, a self-described “hard-core Gen X-er.” “It’s a mix of pop culture, nostalgia and humor. It’s a place where people can escape and have fun. When I pull all the things that made me who I am into my surroundings, it makes people feel young again. So, when someone comes in to get their ‘first progressive,’ I’m like, ‘Welcome to the club!’”

Making Magic

At Über Optics, Nancy Revis (below left) has “pulled in my ‘clan’ of like-minded individuals attracted to the strange and different.”

A focal point of Revis’ creativity is her window displays, which she has changed every month for the past 10 years, never repeating a design. “I have to use the whole space and my windows have to tell a story.” A recent display was built around her husband’s grandmother’s wedding dress from the 1930s, brought over from Europe, which exquisitely complemented a collection of Paul Smith vintage frames. The fixtures are a local drawcard: “People come in just to tell me how much they love my window displays.”


Making Magic

Rivaling these in their wit and painstaking execution are Über Optics’ in-house marketing and advertising, which make use of Revis’ passion for photography and the graphic design skills of her sister, Amy Koenig. Many of Revis’ ads and social media posts import her favorite eyewear into recreations of iconic images, including homages to Frida Kahlo, Prince, Bowie, the Brady Bunch, ’80s movie posters, “The Royal Tenenbaums” and countless others. But local landmarks — or anything else that catches Revis’ eye, be it a beautiful building, a natural landscape or a cool motorbike — also appear, and clients sporting their new eyewear feature prominently on Über Optics’ beautifully curated Instagram and Facebook accounts, where there is nary a stock or vendor photo to be found.

Making Magic

“My ads and photos are not just a picture of something … they are telling a story,” says Revis. “I love to photograph my customers in a way that has a bit of a Rolling Stone style flare.” Customers will sometimes come in with her ads, cut out of the local magazine. “It fills my soul that people love what I have created.”

Making Magic

Revis’ independent streak extends to business matters: Über Optics is private pay. “Vision plans suck. HSA accounts are awesome,” she says. “To encourage people to purchase from us, even if they have insurance, we offer a 10% discount on the bottom line and handle all the insurance paperwork for them. They get the out of network reimbursement sent to them. So, we let them know, it ends up being about a 30% savings with us where ‘in network’ it is about a 40-50% savings but they don’t get the selection, time, styling, high end lab work, choices — and US.”

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Revis credits her team with creating ‘the most amazing experience helping people select eyewear and the best lenses for their life’.

And while the shop is most definitely her baby, she acknowledges that it couldn’t have succeeded without her husband Joost’s help and support. “He is a financial whiz and … gets up on ladders and stuff. I can’t do the heavy lifting. He is the muscle and numbers guy.” She also shouts out her team members Jenn, Elizabeth and Damon. “They are my friends first and foremost. I don’t feel like they work for me… they work with me to create the most amazing experience helping people select eyewear and the best lenses for their life.”


Not usually one to seek accolades, Revis concedes that maybe, finally, she’s reached a stage in her life where it’s just “fun to be recognized for the blood, sweat and tears I put into my business, coworkers, art, optical, my town.” Ultimately her greatest reward is the space she has created “where people who aren’t just making eyewear and people who aren’t just selling eyewear come together. When what you do is your passion … magic happens.”

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A ‘Day of the Dead’ display in honor of late author Gerald Haslam created for Über Optics by Siobhan Haslam.

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Five Cool Things About Über Optics

1. IN THE FRAME. Artist Siobhan Haslam handles window display duties on Halloween and created a Day of the Dead shrine for author and relative Gerald Haslam, chronicler of California’s Central Valley communities.

2. AFTER PARTY. The team aims a streamed light at the optical’s spinning disco ball at night so there’s “a disco in the shop during off hours.”

3. ’BOUT THAT TIME. Wine is served every day at 4 p.m. ‘I have a membership at La Crema so we always have a bottle of Sauv Blanc chilling in the fridge,’ says Revis.

4. SWEET SURPRISE. When they ship anything, the team throws some Werther’s candy (Revis’ fave) and branded
matches into the box.

5. COOL CROWD. Über Optics has been visited by some musical heavyweights including Sonoma County resident Tom Waits, Cake’s John McCrea and John Doe of punk legends X.

Fine Story

Revis brings world-class eyewear to Petaluma and is grateful to share it with a town she has grown to love. “I am a social butterfly. I run around town and purchase from all my neighbor stores. I am a professional shopper and will always support my neighbors. I am a friend maker. So, my community knows how much I love and support them. Most of the business owners, if they need eyewear, are wearing my frames. I also involve all the beautiful parts of Petaluma in my ads so the Downtown Association knows how much I love my town and always shares my local photography.” Revis also supports a variety of causes that she feels passionate about. “I try and support all the local schools, homeless issues, raffles, silent auctions and people in need.”



  • Talent, personality, skill, ingenuity and cleverness combine to make Über Optics a clear sky in the often cloudy world of retailing. Independent thinking is what sets this business apart. The design of the interior, the intelligent selection of products and the superstar personalities behind this team create an energy and warmth that make anyone who steps in these doors love eyewear and the experience the right frames can give you. — David Duralde, Chief Creative Officer, OGI Eyewear, Minneapolis, MN
  • The pictures tell the whole story… 10/10 for nailing a vibe that brings art together with opticianry in a way that speaks to the locals of Petaluma. Bravo Nancy! — Jenn Denham, Head of Business Development, Review Wave, McKinney, TX
  • If you look up “eclectic” in the dictionary, there are ads for Über. “Edgy,” “creative” and “out there” are the only words I can use to describe the cool ads and window displays for this company. — Jan Ennis, President/CEO, Ennco Display Systems, Redmond, WA
  • I love the personality and uniqueness of this store. It stands out in a sea of sterile white clinics! I also really enjoy stories of passionate opticians opening optical shops that are all about eyewear, as opposed to more clinic-driven experiences. The colors and collections are so cool! — Paige Kraemer, ABOC, Sales Consultant – Minnesota, Cherry Optical Lab, Green Bay, WI



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