WHAT WE DO
Our people are much more than customers - we don't even like to use the term because it does not fully express the relationship we strive to develop with each individual who enters the door. We do not view "customers" as a collective group that provide sales but as individuals with specific needs. Our desire is to meet those needs and often doing so extends beyond just providing eyewear.
Each person has his or her own special beauty and uniqueness. It is our duty to find the proper frame that will enhance their beauty and uniqueness and yet provide the best possible vision correction through accurately fabricated lenses.
Even the most expensive eyewear is not worth a nickel if it doesn't fit comfortably. Knowing how to fit a frame can be learned, but honestly boils down to a God-given talent.
The Spectacle Shoppe first opened for business in November 1973 with Kent's mother, June, as the owner. It was quite unusual at that time for a woman to own a retail optical business as sole proprietor. Her tenure continued through February 1985. It has always been operated as a business known for unique styles and fashion forward eyeglass designs. As the optical industry has changed dramatically through the years with the introduction of chain stores and insurance dictated frame lines, we have narrowed our focus to carrying exclusive frame lines from small and relatively unknown vendors rather than the so-called designer lines.
Many people are unaware that a retail optician (the person who fills the prescription written by an optometrist, ophthalmologist or osteopath and then fits the eyewear) is not required by Kansas state law to be licensed.
Any individual desiring to open one's own retail optical store, with or without the proper training, may do so. Opticians employed by doctors are not licensed either. The American Board of Opticianry does offer certification of opticians in an attempt to insure quality optical care. Even though opticianry is very much an apprenticeship occupation, there are now a few colleges that offer degrees. Experience is still the best instructor. It is a unique profession in that it merges artistic abilities with the science of physics. A skilled retail optician has to be an artist, mathematician, sales-person, and entrepreneur. Kent has maintained his ABO certification since 1975 and is a member of the National Academy of Opticianry.
The independent retail optician is in danger of becoming much like the independent grocer - a thing of the past. It is our desire that our clientele still receive the quality of service our parents and grandparents knew when they patronized small mom-and-pop businesses. We have made the commitment to maintain this style of service, which probably means there will never be more than one location for the Spectacle Shoppe. So much of what the Shoppe stands for is found in the couple that owns it. The joy of entering a store and being greeted by the same people year after year - often who know you by your first name - is quickly fading for the baby boomer generation and virtually unknown by their children. We, as a society, have been tricked into sacrificing the security of trust and confidence in the people we do business with by cut-rate pricing, instant gratification and a total lack of quality as well as service.