One nippy Tuesday morning, Oliver H. Gerry swung open a set of doors inside the Grand Avenue Temple in downtown Kansas City. It was January 23, 1912, and that unfurled entranceway symbolized the first day Gerry Optical was open for business. In the 100 years since, professionally trained technicians have prepared eyewear to complement the styles of countless clients, including President Harry Truman and Senator Nancy Kassebaum. Today, each of the store's nine locations carries between 800 and 1,200 frames from brands such as Calvin Klein, Ray-Ban, Prada, and BCBG, and the flagship store on 75th Street also houses its own grinding lab to quickly custom-craft lenses and fix cracks after cartoon eye-popping mishaps. To honor its deep community roots, Gerry Optical gives back by partnering with Lions Clubs International to provide discount eye exams and eyeglasses to underprivileged families.
With its showroom's contemporary setup and staff's personalized attention, Romanelli Optix diverges from the average optical center. Backed by more than 25 years of combined experience, Roman Beznovsky and Felix Milman opened the first Romanelli Optix in 2004. Today, the duo populates three Kansas City–area locations with frames in more than 60 brands such as Maui Jim, Tiffany & Co., and Fendi. At each location, customers are guided carefully through the options based on a variety of factors, including their prescriptions and facial features. Onsite adjustments make the process even easier, including meticulous custom-cut assembly performed in nearby boutiques.
Featuring a veritable fashion week of designer frames from Prada, D&G, CK, Armani Exchange, and more, as well as styles for children and inner-children from Nike, Disney, and Nickelodeon, In Vision converts playground and workplace shouts of “four-eyes!” into a fetching badge of pride. Led by doctors Heather Webster, and Lianne Innes, In Vision Eye Care Center offers an encyclopedic frame selection alongside all the services and expertise of an optometric practice, including a $50 eye exam for Groupon holders who need to freshen their prescriptions or simply want a professional diagnosis of their eye color. With today’s Groupon, spectacle-sporters can substantially defray the cost of their next set of frames (starting at $135) and lenses (starting at $75), leaving them with a spare set for the glove box or an emergency fire starter for the camping gear.