One of the East Coast's best-known members-only wholesale retailers, BJ’s Inc. serves more than six million members in 201 clubs as far west as Ohio. Within these sprawling locations, savvy shoppers knock out most of their errands in a single stop. In the same visit, members can stock up on economy-sized groceries—including USDA choice meats, farm-fresh produce, and everyday essentials—grab name-brand electronics, and even plan a vacation through BJ's Travel. Each service makes up a single part of the club's well-rounded retail experience, but simplifying shopping isn't BJ's only goal; in 2012 alone, the company donated more than $3.2 million to charitable organizations.
In 2001, Dr. Robert Samit had a vision, which was a pretty appropriate phenomenon, considering that he's an optometrist. He saw in the future a network of eye doctors, united under the banner of a single company that provides trusted community doctors and a huge selection of value-priced and designer eyewear frames.
Together with company president Sue Downes, they equip this army of eye examiners with the latest technology. When a doctor determines that a corrective lens is called for, he or she prescribes them and MyEyeDr.'s team of eyecare consultants helps patients choose from a huge array of frames from such brands as Gucci, Coach, Oakley, and Ray Ban RX.
Though there are 130 For Eyes Optical stores around the United States, the company still has the heart of a small start-up. Owned and operated since 1972, when a small group of friends started it in Philadelphia, aiming for quality eyewear manufacturing as well as customer service. These same friends, aided by a few family members, still lead the franchise today. They ensure that each location adheres to their original principles and mandates for mustard-colored shag carpets.
In each store, expert independent doctors test clients' visual acuity and general eye health with comprehensive exams. Then, a store associate helps each person outfit their eyes with designer frames by brands such as Ray-Ban, Prada, D&G, and Versace. For Eyes Optical has its own advanced 40,000-square foot optical lab in in Hialeah, Florida, where technicians shape, surface, and coat the lenses to fit each person's exact prescription. After creating the lenses—whether plastic, polycarbonate, or trivex Toughlites—they inspect and fit each into its corresponding frame by hand, a process that ensures quality control and guards against the robots, whose first objective is to hinder our eyesight.
At Eyeland Eyecare Center and Luxoptics, friendly optical experts sharpen fields of vision and protect precious eye parts with thorough examinations and an arsenal of contacts, sunglasses, and traditional frames. Frames from labels such as Prada and Burberry add a touch of stylish class to pupils, and the store’s sophisticated software precalculates benefits from nearly all available insurance plans. After working alongside his brother at Eyeland for more than three decades, Robert Bojarski founded Luxoptics, a newly christened sister store built around the concept of outfitting clientele with modern, high-end eyewear and making the monocle popular again. Frames from Bulgari and Ray Ban grace faces with fresh designs, and selections from Persol complement patients’ heads with styles that blend old and new. Luxoptic’s sunny, high-ceilinged studio welcomes visitors with pristine white decor, and the in-house lab grinds lenses to computer-calculated specifications.
Voted a Hot 100 Company by Internet Retailer Magazine two years in a row, EyeBuyDirect wields a massive selection of frames, lenses, and prescription sunglasses designed to bring the world into sharper focus. Spectacle-seekers can search for eyeglasses (from $7.95 for frame and single-vision lenses) by shape, style, frame, material, or color, before selecting a lens and adding a prescription or x-ray laser beam. While each standard order from EyeBuyDirect is outfitted with 1.5-index single-vision lenses and an anti-scratch lens coating, clients can opt for a lens upgrade, with 1.57-index lenses ($25), light-adjusting lenses ($35.95), or an antireflective lens coating ($6.95) to prevent pals from gawking at you while picking kernels out of their back molars.
A full-service optical workshop, Clear Vision Express is powered by a team that can churn out new eyeglasses with eye-blink speed. Journeys toward clearer vision begin with eye exams with Dr. Anthony B. Kouchak. The 15-year veteran doc's specialties in LASIK eye-surgery referrals and hard-to-fit contact lenses are rivaled by his knack for perfectly fine-tuning prescriptions to eye irregularities such as astigmatisms and spontaneous eyelash brushfires.
Post-exam, friendly employees serve as frame sherpas guiding customers through a gallery of 1,000 different eyewear styles by upmarket brands such as Nine West and Nicole Miller. Clear Vision Express boasts an onsite lab that enables optical fabricators to speedily marry frame to lens and present new specs to customers in as little as one hour.