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.
Downtown’s Grooming Lounge combines the comfort of a classic barber shop with the services of a modern manscaping salon. Yes, you can get the standard haircut and hot lather shave here, but you can also lose the unibrow, sit in for a more substantial wax or enjoy a massage, manicure or pedicure. Don’t worry, the shop’s masculine atmosphere will make sure you can still keep your man card, even as you’re being waxed, plucked and rubbed, you will still feel manly, given the guy-friendly atmosphere and professional aestheticians on hand. The store also stocks a wide range of grooming products, from hair gels to skin scrubs. Beauty doesn’t come cheap at The Grooming Lounge, but that’s the price you pay for looking good.
With four eye doctors in his family, becoming a professional eye-wrangler was a perfect fit for Dr. Neeraj Bindal, an optometrist who combined his medical training with his business education to open A Visual Affair. At two locations, Dr. Bindal examines clients and fits them for contacts, glasses, and bowties mounted on eyelashes. A wide variety of lenses, including ultrathin panes by Zeiss, scratch-resistant lenses, and antiglare lenses nestle into frames by the likes of Lafont Paris, Gucci, and Giorgio Armani.
Under the expert oculus of Dr. Saba E. Ayalew, Metropolitan Optical matches stylish frames to faces, stocking an array of high-end designer eyewear. Brands include Gucci, Armani, Porsche Design, and Burberry, equally suited to job-interview attire and everyday activities, such as spotting a rampaging bear during a job interview. Frames ($170–$450) can be outfitted with an array of fine lenses ($119–$800) and come with free adjustments and ultrasonic cleanings.
Head up some creaky wooden stairs to the second floor of a 14th Street walk-up and discover a small treasure chest filled with vintage clothing for both men and women. It’s hard to put a handle on Treasury’s stock, the owner says that Treasury focuses on clothing, hats and jewelry from the 1960s and prior, but it also stocks newer (although still vintage) designer items. Some of its baubles and bangles even go back to the late nineteenth century. Treasury has a lot of pricey items, but customers can also find plenty of bargains on jewelry, shirts and dresses. Treasury has a friendly staff that looks to help customers in any way they can, and shoppers who can’t find what they want here can ask about other shops in the Mid-City/U Street neighborhood.
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.