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.
Since 1909, Littlefield Eye Associates has provided top-notch eye care, offering comprehensive eye exams and sight-correcting prescriptions. Littlefield's sterling collection of eyeglass frames includes slick designer frames from Michael Kors, Sean John, and Armani Exchange ($180+), while value-line specs are available from Caravaggio ($95). Spectacle shoppers can also check out Littlefield's collection of Coach frames ($225+), Tag Heuer frames, and hand-made rimless glasses from Lindberg ($400+). This deal is also good for prescription sunglasses, so you can don a slick pair of shades without sacrificing eyesight. Littlefield's friendly, conversational staff can help you choose a pair of blinkers that'll complement your face shape and avoid the blurry vision that makes you walk into cactus farms.
Drs. Bunde, O'Brien, and Larcom examine eyes and keep them healthy at two offices whose bilingual staffs welcome Spanish speakers and patients of all ages. A comprehensive list of services covers general wellness, disease care, trouble discerning the dolphins in Magic Eye books, and exams that land eyes behind contact lenses, designer frames, and Latisse-fortified lashes. As dedicated to its community as it is to its own patients, Fairway Eye Center supports the Children's Center for the Visually Impaired.
In 1986, Dr. Vincinet Pennipede, O.D was fresh out of the military and opening up his first office off of Highway 69. There, he put in long hours and built a base of clients. Today, he oversees a team of eight optometrists and 35 qualified employees at five offices in the Kansas City area. Patrons peruse each warmly-lit furnished studio's collection of frames from high-end labels such as Silhouette and Coach. In-office labs create futuristic lenses of high-index plastic or hybrid Trivex quickly for patrons who need to return to work or judge a beauty pageant for snowflakes. Children protect their new specs with the store's Kid's Promise warranty, and adults consult with experienced doctors on the benefits of refractive surgery and restorative treatments for aging eyes.
In a way, the ability to heal people is in Simeon Neely's blood. Her great-great-grandmother, great-grandmother, and mother all dedicated their lives to being healers. When her mother passed on the ancient knowledge to Simeon, she continued to develop her healing skills and discovered that massage therapy was her true calling. Now a nationally certified massage therapist and member of the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals organization, Simeon is skilled in some 10 types of massage modalities, yet somehow has never been asked to perform all of them at once.