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 the Faith

This practice in western North Carolina recently moved to a stunning new location, but its eye for detail and community focus date back to 1955.




Haywood Family Eye Care, Waynesville, NC

OWNERS: Aimée McBride, OD, and Tommy Pinkston, OD; URL:; FACEBOOK:; INSTAGRAM:; YEAR FOUNDED: 1955; FOUNDED: 1979; YEAR OPENED FEATURED LOCATION: 2021; AREA: 5,000 sq. ft.; ARCHITECT AND DESIGN FIRMS: Optometric Architects, Eye Designs; TOP BRANDS: Lindberg, Lafont, Face à Face, Woow, Coopervision; EMPLOYEES: 14 full-time

(From left) Drs. Aimée McBride, Lora Cretella and Tommy Pinkston.

(From left) Drs. Aimée McBride, Lora Cretella and Tommy Pinkston.

INVISION HAS A special place in its heart for legacy practices, those whose founders have long since moved on but which continue to serve their communities with old-school attention and heart. Haywood Family Eye Care is one such institution, having served the close-knit community of Waynesville, NC, since 1955 — and since late last year, from a stunning new location.

Haywood stood on Main Street in Waynesville’s historic downtown for over 60 years, first under founder Dr. Eugene Harpe and later steered by Dr. Leroy Roberson, who sold the practice to Dr. Aimée McBride in 2014. Two years later she was joined by Dr. Tommy Pinkston, and the co-owners embarked on a transition, purchasing a new building in 2020 in hopes of moving the same year. COVID thwarted that plan (though they did welcome a new associate, Dr. Lora Cretella, in 2020), but in October last year they were finally able to launch the new space, a gorgeous standalone building whose bold exteriors and stylish interior make striking use of stone and wood, with high ceilings, patterned wall décor and elegant lighting creating a feel that is refined but also warm and inviting.


The goal with the new location, says Pinkston, was to create a uniquely detail-oriented patient/customer experience. This is immediately apparent in the design of its optical, starting with the large chandelier that serves as the centerpiece of the retail space. “Breathtaking at certain times of the day, the light reflects off the chandelier into the room,” he says.

Another telling detail is the team’s focus on wait time. This may sound simple, but according to Pinkston, “Wait time costs optical retail huge sales and ultimately profit. In addition to a busy retail optical we have eight exam lanes and two optometrists seeing patients at any given time.” Most offices of this size would have a large waiting area, but Haywood’s has just two oversized chairs—and the team strives to ensure customers don’t need them. Walking in the door they are greeted by name and immediately checked in. A patient coordinator addresses them, then immediately lets another team member know who is needed for that particular customer. The idea is to make the experience as smooth as possible through seamless internal communication.

This Western North Carolina Practice Has Been Getting the Details Right Since 1955

The office has no check-out area. “We wanted every member of our team to be able to conclude a purchase or payment at any point,” says Pinkston. “If a patient is in an exam room or in our optical department and their visit has concluded, the team member can facilitate their payment of any and all services/products. This has minimized wait time, patient frustration, and most importantly the loss of potential sales.”

The co-owners strive to create the best possible workplace for staff, one that gives every team member confidence and ownership in their role. “Many businesses are great at communicating down an operational structure,” Pinkston says. “We focus on utilizing our leadership structure to communicate in both directions. We have found that our team is the first to realize when and how we need to improve. By allowing them to give us honest feedback we are able to adapt and constantly improve our experience.”

When it comes to digital presence, Haywood’s focus is on authenticity. A notable example is the practice’s social media posts, particularly the meet-our-team Full House-style reels. “We want to ensure that a current or future customer gets the same unique feel from our social media as they do from our office experience,” says Pinkston, who has also created a personal eyecare-related Instagram page  @dr.tommypinkston) for those interested in the business side of the office’s evolution.


Being in business for 67 years has given Haywood the opportunity to serve generations of customers and patients. Many who started their eyecare with Haywood as children or young adults are now being treated for macular degeneration. “Our patients and community have been an integral partner in our evolution,” says Pinkston.

“Our team is accustomed to the idea that if they are in public they may be approached by a patient to ask them to fix their glasses or when their next appointment may be. Being a part of an established small-town practice is truly a one-of-a-kind experience.”

McBride and Pinkston strive to create the best possible workplace for staff, one that gives every team member confidence and ownership in their role.

McBride and Pinkston strive to create the best possible workplace for staff, one that gives every team member confidence and ownership in their role.

Five Cool Things About Haywood Family Eye Care

1. LANDMARK. In business since 1955, Haywood Family Eye Care is the only locally owned optometric clinic in its county.

2. SWEET TOUCH. At each dispense patients are presented their glasses on custom trays with chocolates.

3. YOLK’s ON YOU. In 2018, the practice was caught up in an egging spree by vandals. Affected businesses in the area banded together to find solutions and, while frustrating, the problem ended up being a bonding experience for everyone, says Pinkston.


4. BRAIN TRUST. The entire team gathers weekly for structured meetings (more on that here: “Constant communication allows our entire staff to buy into our practice vision,” says Pinkston.

5. DAILY MOTIVATION. Haywood’s team philosophy is “Be Awesome.” A reminder is hanging in the break room.


  • The emphasis on being genuine and getting the team motivated and involved in all aspects of the business’s success is a great example of building a strong team to serve patients thoroughly. — David Duralde, Chief Creative Officer, OGI Eyewear, Minneapolis, MN
  • Haywood, you had me at “no wait time.” Your beautiful remodel took into consideration the patient journey in every aspect from check-in to point of payment wherever they may be in the office, amazing! It is apparent from the 130+ reviews, beautiful branded optical displays, and social media content, that patients and staff enjoy their time at Haywood. — Jenn Denham, Director of Growth Marketing, Optify, Salt Lake City, UT
  • The delivery tray is clever and the use of painted galvanized pipe to give a more industrial look around the frame displays is well done. — Jan Ennis, President/CEO, Ennco Display Group, Redmond, WA


Fine Story

Haywood Family Eye Care presents every customer with a consistent visual throughout their experience. To help achieve this, screens are set up in waiting areas, the optical and exam rooms with BrightSign players showing self-produced video content making use of Haywood’s brand and colors. Says Pinkston, “It educates and engages our customers with services and products we provide. Over the past three years this marketing has evolved to create an experience where the customer already feels like they know the staff, doctors and products.”



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