Station Road Opticians are setting new trends in eye care. Such is owner Deepak Oberai’s crusade to dispel the myth that glasses are uninspiring, that his mission statement is emblazoned across the exterior of the technicolour branch on Station Road: Saving the World from Mediocre Glasses.
Upon setting foot into Station Road Opticians, any lingering sense of mediocrity is left at the door, with the stylish interior prompting intrigue and fascination.
Despite Station Road Opticians overtly expressing their desire to promote quirky, fashionable eyewear, the display shelves are scarce, an unorthodox tactic explained by owner Deepak Oberai: “We’ve made a conscious decision not to have glasses on display, because we want to talk to our customers and find out what they’re interested in. Based on what they tell us, we recommend products and match eyewear with their personality. It’s very unusual how the right pair of glasses can lift a personality significantly.”
A fixture on the Cheadle Hulme promenade for over twelve-months, Station Road Opticians’ highly-personalised brand of eye care has prompted customers to visit from out of the area, such is the devotion and attentiveness demonstrated from Deepak and his knowledgeable team: “We are getting a range of people visiting the business especially for our services. Though we started the business from scratch, the identity of the business has been advertised on our client’s faces with the glasses they were wearing. Conversations about our products have taken place in pubs, restaurants, and bars when customers have been asked where they bought the frames, and they have told their friends to come to us. We’re getting those kinds of recommendations in the Wilmslow branch, but we’re keen to bring it to the streets of Cheadle Hulme.”
Owner Deepak Oberai’s longing to improve the perception of eye care started in his teenage years when the perception of glasses was viewed as more of a hindrance than a chic accessory: “I started wearing glasses when I was a teenager, and spectacles then weren’t a cool thing. I couldn’t find anywhere that sold fashionable glasses until I went to my first trade show in Paris – I was mesmerised how glasses don’t just need to be functional; they are cool accessories. Station Road Opticians want to change the perceptions of glasses and make them cool again.”
An experience at Station Road Opticians veers dramatically from the stereotypical representation of the high-street optician. Guests are offered a cup of tea or coffee served in a pristine china set, while the somewhat clinical white overalls worn by staff have been swapped with a more laid-back attire, with Deepak stating: “We want people to know that we’re normal people. Sure, when you come into the shop, it can look different and a little quirky, but when you’re finished with your appointment it’ll become clear that we’re just normal people with a passion for eyewear and for glasses.”
While it is recommended that people see an optician every two years, the stale atmosphere generated within many practices can have a tendency to put some people off visiting. Station Road Opticians are keen to make people look forward to going to the opticians, rather than view it as a chore, as explained by Deepak: “A lot of people who come to us are completely mesmerised by how they’re treated and how informal the shop is. We’re very relaxed about the process, but still have the clinical side sorted; we are very good clinically, but we don’t have what is known as ‘white coat syndrome’, whereby the optician would be in the back room and the rest of the team are at the front of the shop.”
Station Road Opticians’ objective is simple: The team are keen to promote the notion of making their guests feel welcome, whilst promoting a high quality service, in turn, encouraging patients to return through choice, rather than being urged to attend by an impersonal circular in the post: “I want to be different from what people are used to and generate a nice environment, where staff and customers communicate about the quality products that are available. I want people to turn around and say: ‘I want to go back there.’ We may approach things informally, but we are extremely focused on achieving.”
Fifty-percent of adults in the UK haven’t had their eyes tested and despite many indicating that they would rather sacrifice taste or hearing than their ability to see, this trend is showing no immediate signs of increasing dramatically, due to the uninspiring reputation of the optometry industry. Deepak Oberai and the Station Road Opticians team are working relentlessly to enhance perceptions of eye fashion, in a bid to encourage more people to look after their eyes in a more effective manner: “We’re trying to encourage more people to book eye appointments by being more informed and offering an environment that is different and doesn’t have the hierarchy of more traditional practices.”
Via the combination of inspirations from prominent practices in Europe and America, Deepak Oberai has incorporated features that he hopes will propel Station Road Opticians to leaders within their field. Through a range of pioneering approaches and innovative mindsets within the team, clients are embracing the new brand of optical care.Despite the company developing significantly in its initial eighteen-months, goals are being set to take the company further, as explained by Deepak: “I want to grow what we have here at Station Road Opticians. The concept is new and the market is very volatile at the moment with Brexit and so forth. Nonetheless, I want to grow this into a solid business and we want to be in a position whereby people are travelling from the Greater Manchester region to see us because they have identified our store as a good place to come. Would I like more practices? I’d say that’s like having a child: Once you have a second, you realise one was enough!”
The brainchild of an optical fashionista, Station Road Opticians continues to go from strength to strength and special deals are on offer to encourage people to jump on the proverbial bandwagon: Customers who purchase a new pair of glasses will get the value of their eye test back, while monthly payment plans have been made available to make luxury items much more affordable for customers.
To experience a new-brand of eye testing, call Station Road Opticians on 0161 410 0053.