One year on: The high-street opticians that’s going from strength to strength
As you know, if you have read a lot of our content on Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, we are big fans of the Great British High Street, and independent companies offering something a little different send us positively giddy. Which is why, upon the discovery of Stratford-upon-Avon’s leading opticians, CG Optical, we featured it on our website.
Situated in a Grade II listed building in the heart of Shakespeare country, CG Optical is a family-run business that continues to outperform many of the better-known national chains. Instead of operating in the corner of a large supermarket like many competitors, owner-operator Claire Gough, who has twenty years of industry-leading eye care experience under her belt, decided to open up a Practice right in the centre of the community of which she already served. She has never looked back.
Celebrating a full year in business, Claire’s busy Practice on Ely Street is thriving, defying the national narrative of traditional high street atrophy, with personal referrals alone providing the majority of CG Optical’s new custom. Despite the marketing budgets and social media efforts behind the bigger, multi-national corporations, good old-fashioned word of mouth has seen an optical revolution in Warwickshire’s most famous medieval market town.
It isn’t hard to see why. Upon entering the unique store, you’re instantly met with a friendly face, often Claire herself. Unlike the uneasy feeling you can often get when entering a store and being immediately put upon by an over-zealous store assistant, Claire often offers a new face a sit down and a coffee, before even considering talking business. A refreshing throw-back to a time where the interaction between customer and service provider was something more than a simple transaction.
But the boutique experience of complimentary beverages, friendly chit-chat and gorgeous architecture is matched by the important stuff, too. Claire’s personal touch is matched by decades of expertise and some of the industry’s most cutting-edge equipment. Included in CG Optical’s list of available services is something called Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), which is, Claire explains, the most comprehensive eye health overview that money can buy.
“To provide our customers with the most comprehensive examination we need to look at your eyes in great detail,” explains Claire. “OCT imaging creates a detailed 3D scan of the back of your eye using each of your eyes distinctive layers.”
The 3D scan can then be used to look for and assess a number of different ailments, including macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and a number of other conditions. This allows Claire and her team of highly-qualified optometrists to catch many conditions early, saving a great deal of stress and discomfort in the process.
As soon as a diagnosis is reached, the bespoke, personal service is once again established. Immediately following the OCT results, CG Optical’s, optometrists and dispensing opticians will discuss their recommendations with you. This may include glasses, sunglasses, lens options, contact lens options, dry eye treatment, specialist referral or corrective surgery – most of which can be carried out in-house by highly-trained professionals.
As you would expect from a boutique, high-quality independent provider, CG Optical only sources the world’s best products, in both lenses and frames. The Stratford-upon-Avon store has a direct contract with Essilor, the world’s leading lens manufacturer, to ensure that the prescriptions are of the highest-quality. Meanwhile, the frames are also imported from world-leading design-houses, with a number of exclusive lines, not available on the high street, from the likes of Hublot, Chopard and Chanel.
Despite having already had eyes tested, prescription ordered and frames selected, the service doesn’t stop there. On collection, the dispensing optician provides a full bespoke frame fitting service, meaning each pair of glasses is moulded expertly to the features of the person wearing them, as well as advice given on the protection of both eyes, and frames, once collected.
A cursory glance at CG Optical’s customer reviews evidences that, time after time, their unique blend of boutique style and industry-leading technology is yielding incredible results. As far as we can see, Claire Gough’s has hit the sweet spot, and deserves a lot of credit for not only bringing the personal touch into the industry, but also maintaining it now the customer base has expanded.
Long live the high street.
For more information on CG Optical, or to take advantage of an exclusive offer to upgrade to transition lenses ready for summer, visit cgoptical.co.uk, or call 01789 268828 to make an appointment.