Justin Hardy of St Albans Eye Care Centre 16 Dec 2021
Whether your style is classic John Lennon or zany Elton John, St Albans Eye Care Centre on London Road can find the perfect frames for you.
When an opportunity arose for South African born Justin to own a practice in his favourite city, it wasn’t a hard decision to make. Since taking over the business in 2018, Justin hasn’t looked back and his passion to offer a unique, personalised optical service has seen his business thrive. We caught up with Justin to find out more about the spec-tacular world of eye care.
From South Africa to St Albans – tell me more!
It’s a long story! I was born in South Africa but decided to come over to the UK many years ago and enjoyed a brief stint living in St Albans before moving to the south coast and living in Bournemouth for twenty years. I was keen to set up my own practice and when an opportunity arose to take over an opticians in St Albans, I was more than happy to return. An optician has been on the premises since 1968, so it’s my turn to take the practice into the next phase.
…and do you like living and working in St Albans?
I love it. There is a great variety of shops and restaurants here and you can access everything London has to offer, without living in London. It is also close to big green spaces and wonderful parkland. I also really like the spirit of ‘shopping local’ which people who live here embrace and there is a great business community which helps the high street stay vibrant, exciting and welcoming.
What is the secret to your success?
We pride ourselves on offering a distinctly personal service. You won’t see a wall of 100s of frames, we prefer to take a more tailor-made approach – you could call us your personal glasses shopper! We will take certain head and facial measurements, consider your prescription and listen to your colour preferences and lifestyle, then we will select a small collection of frames for you to try and help you make your decision. Most of our clients are from recommendations which is a real compliment.
We also offer a handy contact lens recycling service where you can drop off old lenses, blisters and foils and we will recycle them for you. There is far too much waste and we like to do our bit to help recycle some of the 725 million contact lenses thrown away in the UK each year
What services do you offer?
We offer a wide range of services including eye examinations, children’s eye care, all kinds of contact lenses including specialist ones, dry eye management, myopia control, assessments for laser eye surgery and much more. We have the latest technology in the examination room and always try to find the cause of an eye problem rather than just treat the symptoms.
What frames are fashionable right now?
Trends go in cycles and what is popular now, is what was popular in the seventies! Big and chunky is fashionable but give it a few years and we will probably be back to small, dainty frames. Contacts are always popular too especially for sport and many choose to have both – lenses for the gym and glasses for the office.
…and what can a client expect to pay?
Prices vary from around £150 up to £600/£700 for bespoke glasses where you can choose every detail from the colour to the frame, they can even be handmade. We like to use niche brands; not mass-market ones and try to offer our clients something a little different that they won’t find elsewhere.
You have just finished a refit – what are your plans for the next 12 months?
Yes, the refit is now complete, and I am really pleased with the results. I plan to continue to grow the business and gain many more local clients. I have noticed a natural growth in local clients as more people are working from home and are looking for a local optician instead of using one near their office which is great for us, and I hope this continues.
What plans do you have for Christmas?
It will be a quiet one with the family this year in St Albans. It’s been a busy 12 months with the refit, but I will be raring to go once again come January 1st. To book an appointment visit www.stalbanseyecare.com or call 01727 866830
Address: 38 London Road, St Albans, Hertfordshire AL1 1NG