Experienced dispensing opticians and husband and wife team, Chris and Kate Hirst, have been thinking for some time about setting up independently, but it wasn’t until they became aware of the premises at 420 Chatsworth Road, which they felt was the perfect location, that plans fell into place.
The last few months since signing the lease have been a whirlwind, explained Chris. "Between us we have over 50 years of optical experience, I work for Zeiss lenses and Kate has worked as a dispensing optician, and both of us are registered with the General Optical Council."
"Quality of eye care is so important. Any patient will be tested by a fully qualified optometrist and then dispensed by a qualified dispensing optician; Kate is also qualified to dispense contact lenses so we can offer a full eyecare service.
"I’ve worked with independent businesses supplying lenses and Kate has worked as a locum, again with a number of independents. We like the way independents can offer support and are excited to be opening Oculi Opticians."
‘Oculi’ is Latin for ‘eyes’ and the couple were inspired by many of the single-word business names along Chatsworth Road.
"420 Chatsworth Road, next door to the Union Jack Fish and Chip shop, is a great location, easy to get to and with ample parking on the road or close by. We’re right in the centre of a well-populated urban area where so many people need the services of an optician, and we’re right on their doorstep," says Chris.
Both are local residents, now living in Brampton, after moving to the area three years ago to be close to friends and family. Chris was previously from Featherstone and Kate from Pleasley, but since moving they have been impressed by the strong sense of community that exists in Chesterfield and they are really excited to become a part of the thriving business community along Chatsworth Road.
The couple have invested in the business to offer the very latest in consulting room equipment, which allows for excellent eye examinations. Together with the Zeiss quality lenses Chris and Kate are looking forward to offering some great products.
"Zeiss is a large German company; with the core principles of 'pushing the boundaries of optics' and 'social responsibility', they supply high quality precision lenses which align with the key principles of our business," adds Chris.
Oculi have invested in iPad-based equipment which, together with a frame dropped in front of the patient’s eyes will provide measurements for fitting and positioning of glasses but without the need for close personal contact, so vital in these times where social distancing is important.
Frames are sourced from quality independent European suppliers, Blackfin, an Italian company that import Japanese Titanium for their frames, Vanni Optical, who specialise in acetate frames, again Italian. Dutz and Lafont frames will also be available - check out the websites for these frames, each was chosen by Oculi for their high quality, independent credentials.
Oculi are already looking into products and services that can coexist alongside their eye care, such as hearing tests offered by qualified audiologists. People who are familiar with Dominic Gage Physiotherapy will be pleased to hear that he remains in one of the upstairs rooms at 420.
Oculi will have opened their doors by the time you read this, and I could tell by chatting that Kate and Chris are really excited about the new business and joining the local business community.
Oculi will be open Monday and Tuesday by appointment, Wednesday to Friday and Saturday morning for drop in clients.
Welcome to Chatsworth Road from the team at S40 Local and if you do call in, please tell them that you saw them in S40 Local.
420 Chatsworth Road, Chesterfield S40 3BQ.
Words & Images: Paul Chapman