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.
With the countless designers who have made forays into eyewear design, it's easy to forget that glasses were once seen as purely functional. But Jack Cohen was one of the first to see them as a fashion accessory?in 1927 he started selling more stylized designs from a pushcart in Manhattan. His foresight paid off, as Cohen's Fashion Optical now operates in more than 100 retail outlets throughout the country. Since then, Cohen's offerings have expanded, of course, to include eye exams, contacts, sunglasses, and clip-on sunglasses for those without pierced ears.
For the past 30 years, the staff at Eye Contact Vision Center has been helping patients of all ages improve their vision with prescription eyewear and contact lenses. Past rows of fashionable frames from Dolce & Gabbana, Tiffany, and Bvlgari, independent optometrist Dr. Carmela Losurdo holds court five days a week—performing eye exams and impressing clients with her ability to translate eye charts in English, Spanish, and Italian. Dr. Losurdo also diagnoses and treats most types of eye problems, including myopia, conjunctivitis, and double vision.
Though SEE Eyewear?s specs are only found in their stores, their designs sprout from imaginations around the world. Winner of reader's choice awards in cities ranging from San Francisco to Nashville, SEE Eyewear stocks its frames directly from fashionable frame crafters and passes on the savings of doing business at the source to customers. The company calls on fashion designers from France, Italy, and other style-conscious countries to create one-of-a-kind designs to be featured on store shelves and client faces. Before that happens, though, each potential frame goes through a rigorous design and review process to ensure its distinctiveness and quality before it can be added to the national eyewear shop?s exclusive coveted selection.
From cat-eye to horn-rimmed and perfectly round to wayfarer-inspired, the cost of each frame includes single-vision lenses, giving customers the simplicity of a flat price that doesn?t require customers to pay an extra prescription fee or mine their own bifocal quarry. SEE Eyewear also trains its staff members to be aesthetically savvy so they can find the perfect fashion-forward, vision-correcting specs for any face shape, mood, or fashion sense.
Since the company's founding in 1927, Cohen's Fashion Optical has grown from a pushcart business into a successful franchise peddling prescription and designer wares at more than 100 locations spanning seven states and Puerto Rico. Yearly eye exams are crucial to eye health, so each store employs experienced doctors of optometry who test pupils with comprehensive eye exams to assess ocular health, pinpoint visual acuity, and ensure that no wool has been pulled over the eyes. The store's visionary staff can also help outfit peepers with contact lenses or fashionable sets of designer frames from brands such as Prada, Ray-Ban, and Dolce & Gabbana.
Amid the boutiques of East Village, Anthony Aiden Opticians stands out as a purveyor of not only designer, but one-of-a-kind eyewear. Vintage-inspired frames from Oliver Peoples, with whom Anthony Aiden partnered to open their flagship Soho store, form the crux of the shop's off-the-shelf collection. For truly unique eyewear, though, the shop can fabricate replicas of any plastic frame in a wide range of colors, furnishing customers with brand new pairs of discontinued, vintage, or otherwise unobtainable frames. Eyepieces can be further personalized with custom lens coloring, which reduces eyestrain by imbuing lenses with green hues, rosy tints, or tiny umbrellas.