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.
Insight Eyecare Specialties equips patients with major brands of both European- and American-designer frames in various styles and colors. Each set of peepers is matched up with eyewear that provides the right look and fit while maximizing visual clarity. Browse top-flight designer frames such as Prada ($249–$349), Coach ($209–$369), and Versace ($219–$299) or alleviate a droopy brow with Nike ($209–$249) and Guess ($149–$209) eyewear. Insight Eyecare also boasts a selection of single-vision lenses ($65+) and assorted shades for shielding eyes against falling drops of sun. With frame materials ranging from titanium and stainless steel to plastic, customers can find blinkers to fit all budgets and lifestyles, whether they’re looking for glasses to wear occasionally or for a durable pair that can withstand territorial duels with bighorn rams.
Eyeconic Eyecare packs a peeper-pleasing punch thanks to high-tech eye attention from Dr. Michael Hawk, and a sprawling selection of more than 800 frames. For less-than-picky peepholes, the shop stocks basic frames (starting at $83.99) and single-vision lenses (starting at $75), and visionary visages can vie for fashion-forward focals from brands such as D&G, Versace, Calvin Klein, Coach, and Prada (most frames run from $120 to $160; Prada and Versace can run up to $250). To avoid untimely bat transformations in light-loaded moments, vampire-bitten eyeballs can shade themselves with a pair of Eyeconic's sunglasses. Nonprescription shades (starting at $83.99) sit alongside sun-shielding specs from Ray-Ban and Oakley ($100–$180).
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.
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.