Founded in 1914, the original New York City location of Sterling Optical doled out frames amid the Ford Model Ts and paperboys that swarmed the city's financial district. The original band of eyesight experts weathered years of economic depression by impressing customers with speedy, full-service vision care, later launching a second store near Washington, DC. Today, a century of steady franchise expansion has given rise to almost 200 store locations in 23 states. Most locations continue the tradition of offering one-stop optical services, giving customers access to exams and onsite labs that manufacture glasses in one hour. The spectacle provider has been named one of the nation's leading franchises by Entrepreneur magazine.
Started in 1961 by Dr. Stanley Pearle, the nationally recognized and trusted franchise now operates in nearly 800 company and franchise locations nationwide. The master visionaries at Pearle are well trained in assisting all bespectacled beings, from casual librarians to picky, temperamental Cyclopes. Equip a corrective pair of Essentials frames starting at $99.95, or slip on a pair of designer eye enhancers, such as those by Anne Klein and DKNY ($149.95+) or Versace ($205+). Single-vision lenses adjust a singular field of vision and start at $80 (basic uncoated plastic) and $120 (scratch-resistant plastic) for PearleTHIN, whereas specialty PearleTHIN complete lenses ($175) are lightweight heavyweights.
The ocular experts at Vision Clinic assess eyesight and stock their boutique shelves with frames from names including Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, and Alain Mikli. Devoted to creating eyewear that suits the wearer’s lifestyle, the staff consults with each client to ensure lenses withstand prolonged staring at computer screens or prolonged staring matches with younger siblings. Once frames are selected, technicians keep them fitting with complimentary adjustments and onsite repairs.
Vision Clinic’s attentive care stretches beyond its shop doors—the practice provides prescription eyewear and exams for the local community. The company also makes frequent contributions to a number of charitable organizations.
Soon after Rochester Optical was founded in 1932, the staff established contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense to supply the armed forces with durable, combat-ready glasses. Today, they continue to specialize in military eyewear, along with high-performance sports and safety glasses and a huge selection of designer frames. A team of optometrists—which includes a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, a fifth-generation Rochesterian, and an eye doctor who has worked at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Salem, Virginia—performs comprehensive eye exams, and technicians manufacture lenses in an in-house, state-of-the-art optical lab. In addition to traditional single-vision lenses or no-line bifocals, they create digitally surfaced, free-form lenses that offer an expanded field of vision and minimize image distortion, allowing wearers to more clearly see apparitions standing next to them.
The talented opticians of Chili Vision Group outfit faces of all ages and lifestyles with chic optical accouterments, carrying on a 40-year tradition of sharpening locals' vision, according to the Democrat and Chronicle. Customers can slip peepers into a pair of Jelly Bean frames equipped with single-vision lenses for a stylish sight enhancement ($99.20), or opt for Perry Ellis frames inset with progressive lenses ($178) that offer multiple seamlessly integrated prescription strengths and zero chance of turning eyes into uncontrollable laser cannons. Vision-seekers can also model designer frames from Coach, Nautica, and Banana Republic, or hide behind bifocal-equipped Suntrends sunglasses ($131.20), which unite the dual powers of sight and anonymity to make wearers feel cooler than James Dean’s cryogenically frozen attitude. Today's Groupon can also be used toward ocular evaluations if an eye exam ($100) is necessary.