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Sure the store is chic but it’s the staff’s individuality and expertise that make this Midwest optical truly stand out.

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Black Optical, Oklahoma City, OK

OWNER: Gary Black; URL: ablackoptical.com; Year Opened Featured Location: 2011 ; EMPLOYEES: 9 full-time, 2 part-time; AREA: 1,034 sq. ft.; TOP BRANDS: Jacques Marie Mage, Barton Perreira, Lapima, Akoni, Nikon Infinite and Shamir Auto Intelligence; FACEBOOK: facebook.com/BlackOptical; INSTAGRAM: instagram.com/blackoptical; twitter: twitter.com/blackoptical


Gary Black

Gary Black

WITH HIS START in 1996, Gary Black began his career in the optical business for a national sunglass corporation. In 2007, he founded Black Optical and eventually expanded it to three locations in Dallas, Tulsa, and Oklahoma City, and also acquired two new eyewear showrooms in St. Louis. Black Optical was created on a foundation of principles that place guests first and treats them like friends while curating a selection of eyewear made up of modern classics and innovative pieces.

Their Oklahoma City location showcases the same chic black and white aesthetic as all Black Opticals but is singled out here because of the team. “While each [Black Optical] team member — Dallas, OKC, and Tulsa included — have different personalities, you can expect the same standard of excellence, five-star experience, sense of possibility, authenticity and dedication regardless of location,” emphasizes Black. After all, it is his name on each of their doors.

In a technologically advancing industry, Black Optical hasn’t been left behind, always seeking new ways to improve their service. “Our in-house digital measuring software GABY, in partnership with New Look Vision Group, has transformed the way we interact and fit clients with their new favorite eyewear,” informs Madelein Black, “while textable payments allow each of our clients to settle their invoices remotely.” It’s standout software like this that helps distinguish Black Optical.

(L-R) Staff members Josh Wilcox, Destinie Musgrove and Jacob Sutton are encouraged to bring their own personal style to their roles at Black Optical Oklahoma City.

(L-R) Staff members Josh Wilcox, Destinie Musgrove and Jacob Sutton are encouraged to bring their own personal style to their roles at Black Optical Oklahoma City.

Although the Black Optical brand has extended beyond the original location, their vision hasn’t lost its clarity, whether it’s with their environment or service. “We are proud of the team environment created in our space. We believe that people hold the greatest value so we focus on our team and the clients we get to serve,” says Black.

People are the business’s top priority, whether clients or their own team members, and they make that very clear in every aspect. From quick online and digital customer engagement, to providing their staff with an extreme ownership perspective on the operational part of the business, Black Optical believes that every human matters and they are the centerpiece of any business. “We seek to create an environment within our team and clients where everyone is heard and valued.”

Client at Black Optical.

People — whether clients or staff — are the top priority at Black Optical.

As Black Optical continues to expand and flourish, they have already seen impressive growth and significant changes in the past year itself. “We did our first capital raise and partnership with New Look Vision Group, acquiring two retail eyewear showrooms in St. Louis, Missouri – Eye Bar – with plans to expand our retail footprint in the southern Midwest and explore vertical integration in our product curation.”

And while COVID-19 briefly paused typical human interaction, Black Optical’s business was already established in such a way that the pandemic didn’t force a change in operations. “Our business was built on clienteling and serving each of our guests, no matter what,” assures Black. “To offer a safer environment and personal experience, we implemented bookable appointments — ensuring dedicated time with each of our eyewear advisors and opticians.” Regardless, these minor changes have improved the overall success of Black Optical and have been made with the future in mind and with intention to grow beyond COVID’s impact on our lives.

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Five Cool Things About Black Optical

1. INDEPENDENCE AND INDIVIDUALITY. Each teammate has their own personal style and trade as opticians to give them a sense of ownership over their contributions.

2. NATURAL LIGHTING. “The eyes are the window.” Their big windows allow them to fully showcase their interesting space and wide collection of eyewear.

3. GONE DIGITAL. There is a team member dedicated to swiftly engaging and answering social media messages and web store questions.

4. ALWAYS LEARNING. Black Optical provides continued training in opticianry through ABO certifications and personal development for their staff.

5. UP-TO-DATE-MARKETING. Both external and internal digital marketing teams are used to drive traffic to the site and physical showroom.

PHOTO GALLERY (15 IMAGES)
JUDGES’ COMMENTS
  • The exterior of the space is very creative and inviting for an optical space. The interior is following along the trends of today to be more “boutique” and less “retail.” — Jan Ennis, Ennco Display Group, Redmond, WA
  • What a standout business from outside to inside; statement! Many of the opticians are artists in their own right. Super clean and compelling. The use of black and white juxtaposed is genius. The advertising is clean and simple, and the use of some unusual Pantone colors compels the eye. — Mark Hinton, eYeFacilitate, Indianapolis, IN
  • As a frame designer myself, I love that Black Optical has actual frame designers in their team meetings, educating their staff so they can be the expert for the client who walks into their shop. — Walter Roth, A&A Optical, Louisville, KY
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