Inspired by her Jewish family heritage, Susan Herlands opened My Mother's Delicacies Inc. in 1988 to share her grandmother's respected rugelach recipe and other traditional treats that are certified kosher dairy. Shoppers can peruse an assortment of the coveted, hand-rolled rugelach ($14.99/lb.), a crescent- or square-shaped pastry crafted using a buttery, flaky, cream-cheese-infused crust and speckled with cinnamon, sugar, or nuts. A pound of Hungarian hand-rolled kipfel cookies ($14.99) bubbles over with raspberry, walnut, or apricot fillings, and a small tin of black and white cookies ($21.95) dazzles dessert lovers with a duochromatic treat as decadent as snacking on a 1920s film star. The shop sells pastries individually and by the pound as well as platters and gift towers sizeable enough for parties or a high tea with longtime frenemy Betty Crocker.
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.
Back in his army days, Dr. Harold Byer, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, garnered several science commendations for his work with lasers as he developed laser-protective materials, studied laser physics, and observed the effects of lasers on eyeballs. This enthusiasm for technology led him toward a career in ophthalmology, where he performs refractive and cosmetic surgeries.
Dr. Byer has improved the vision of more than 10,000 LASIK patients to date and has cleared many eyes of cloudy cataracts. Through plastic surgery, he is able to rejuvenate tired eyes with eyelid lifts and with less-invasive cosmetic injections that iron out smile lines, frown lines, and crow's-feet.
The Eye Shoppe Luxury Eyewear Boutique’s ocular artistes fashion peepers with custom lenses and designer eyewear. Crafted from first-rate materials with up-to-date lens technology, lenses slip snugly into fashionable frames from Leisure Society, Antonio Miro, and one of the area’s most exclusive collections of Barton Perreira. A stylish array of luxurious shades gracefully complements swimsuits, pantsuits, and spacesuits with elegant designs from Juicy Couture and Kaenon.
Dr. Neena Chacha, the owner and head optometrist at Family Eyecare Center, specializes in medical optometry and specialty contact-lens fittings. She offers a wide variety of eye-care services from her clean, modern office, such as comprehensive eye exams, pediatric eye care, and eye-disease management. However, she doesn’t just make the world look better to her customers—she makes them look better to the rest of the world. With designer frames from Hugo Boss, Gucci, and Ray-Ban and a variety of standard and specialty lenses and contact lenses, patients will leave the clinic not only with clearer vision but with a new, stylish look.
In the words of the late Dr. Daniel Messinger, whose daughter and granddaughter now helm Philadelphia Eyeglass Labs, “We’ve been doing this for 100 years—we must be doing something right.” Overseen by the fourth and fifth generation of family that founded the company in 1888, the sense of history carries over into its opticians’ daily practice—they’ve been seeing many of their clients for decades, and bestow fast emergency services upon them whenever a client damages a lens or tries to stretch their frames to fit a family portrait inside. The personalized attention heaped upon each customer shines through in the services provided, which include technicians that grind and surface all lenses on-site in the flagship location’s lab, often fitting them into frames for next-day pick-up.
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.