You don’t have to read this blog long to know that I post just about anything here. I post journal pieces, links to news, opinions about varied topics, rants, or whatever else I feel like posting. One of my favorite things to post, though, is a business recommendation.
Our new ophthamologist doesn’t sell glasses or contacts. This makes me happy, as it is a conflict of interest, in my opinion. So, when we got done with our eye exams a couple of weeks ago, I asked the ophthamologist’s assistant who they recommended for glasses. They recommended a local optician (Mark) who owns his own shop, called See Mark Optical.
Yesterday, we went to see Mark. (Ha!) The original plan was to buy some cheap new glasses for Becky (she only wears them at night or if her contacts are bothering her), to get new lenses for my glasses, and to check into some clip-ons or sunglasses for me, too.
Despite the fact that it was past time for him to close and he was late for an appointment in Roanoke, Mark took his time helping us find exactly what we needed. For Becky, we quickly found a discontinued frame that suited her well, and he gave the frame to us for half price (because it was discontinued and had been in his stock for quite a while). Becky thought that the frames were too small at first, but Mark explained why she might want a smaller lens. Her vision is terrible, and her actual lenses make things behind them look smaller. Since a person’s brain compensates for this when they look at Becky, it makes the glasses look bigger than they really are. Also, her lenses are concave. So, they are thin in the center and get thicker towards the outside — he showed us a round lens like Becky’s before it has been cut. The result is that, the bigger the lens frame, the thicker the lens will be at the edge of the frame (and no one wants big honkin thick glasses).
For me, Mark’s initial plan was to adjust the shape of my frames, because he didn’t think my current frames suited me well. I quickly conceded, though, that I wouldn’t mind looking for some new frames. (I had sortof wanted new frames all along, but it seemed unnecessary.) Well, Mark spent the better part of an hour trying to find the right frame for me. As it turns out, I’m very difficult to fit properly because my head is large and round and my eyebrows thick. He must have put 100 different frames on my face and looked at many more.
We finally narrowed it down to two frames. One was sortof retro and “fashion forward.” The other was more conservative. Mark read my personality well enough to know that the conservative frame was probably more appropriate for me. I wasn’t sure at the time, but in retrospect I think he was right.
Also, since I was an engineer, Mark brought me into the back and showed me the cool machine that traces around the inside edge of a frame and then cuts the lens to fit. Very cool.
Today, I called Mark’s shop back to ask if they did contact lenses. I knew that they might be more expensive, but Becky and I are willing to pay a small premium to support local businesses that we like. Mark’s assistant told me bluntly that we would be better off buying our contact lenses from Walmart. She said that she could order them for us if we insisted, but that they buy contacts in such small quantities that they can’t get a good price. So, Becky ordered her contacts from VisionDirect.com.
I have only worn glasses myself for two years, but I have been with my mom and sister to buy glasses on many occasions. I have never seen or experienced service like that offered by Mark at any optical shop; his service was at least an order of magnitude better than anything I have seen before. He took the time to help us find exactly the right glasses for us, and he gave us a very fair price. If you’re looking for an optician in Blacksburg or even if you need new glasses and are going to be passing through or want to visit Becky and I, I highly recommend that you See Mark.