Absolutely Hertfordshire meets Jez Levy, the man behind EYES on St Albans, which offers a refreshing approach to your eyecare needs
What is your background in eyecare?
My background in the eyewear and eyecare business spans 38 years, starting as a spectacle frame warehouse lad in St Albans after being refused Sixth Form entry into Verulam School. I soon progressed to be a ‘on the road’ salesman at the ripe old age of 17, and I entered the retail sector working as a glasses dispensing assistant for a large eyecare chain. Over the years I have been involved at both retail and wholesale/distribution together with frame designing.
How long was EYES on St Albans in the making?
For pretty much 30 of the last 38 years.
And why St Albans?
St Albans has been my hometown since 1974, having been schooled at both Killigrew and Verulam, having lived and worked in various parts of the UK. I was keen to ‘come home’ and create what is the most funky yet professional eyecare experience possible.
When you opened in 2018, how did you want to be different?
Whilst ‘difference’ is in the eye of the beholder, I was keen to create an environment that was so totally different to the run of the mill retail environment – not just different to the High Street Opticians, but to offer excellence from a complete retail experience. Pre-Covid, wine, prosecco, beers and quality coffee were offered, and rock music plays in the background. Every individual entering the shop will always be welcomed with warmth and a smile, whether that be for a simple adjustment, a chat or just to say hello.
What kind of experience do you offer when people visit your shop?
EYES on St Albans offers the ‘best of the best’ in terms of eyecare, with comprehensive examination with all the very latest diagnostic equipment with highly skilled and trained Optometrists. My secret skill is to able to style individuals with simply awesome eyewear not seen on the high street chains or indeed other independent businesses.
Tell us about EnChroma…
Eyewear for colour blindness, which is the only product globally that is proven to assist people with red/green colour deficiency. I identified this Californian product many years ago and hassled the company to bring it to the UK. In January 2019 EYES became the first authorised retailer for EnChroma and the product popularity has mushroomed with people travelling from throughout the UK and beyond to experience the consultation. EnChroma lenses are available in various iterations and can be in prescription and non-prescription versions.
What kind of eyewear collections are hot right now in EYES on St Albans?
Most of the eyewear collection available at EYES on St Albans are HOT – each individual designer collection has been fashioned for a particular look, feel and lifestyle. EYES does not carry the run of the mill high street ‘mass produced’ licensed designer brands. Hot collections include TAVAT eyewear, Kirk & Kirk, Blake Kuwahara, MOSCOT (from New York) DITA and VAVA eyewear. Frames that are ‘the best of the best’.
What about your lenses range?
EYES on St Albans is not tied to any particular lens brand and will recommend the very best and highest grade lens solution for the individual’s needs. All lenses supplied come complete with UVa & UVb absorption, computer blue light filters, multi-anti reflection coatings (14 layers front and back), hard coatings, water repellence, dust repellence making for easy cleaning, and, most importantly, all lenses come with a no quibble 18 months scratch warranty, allowing for one pair replacement in that given warranty period.
You also do a lot with the local community – why?
They say charity begins at home, and whilst this may be true for educational reasons, charity and good cause work actually begins and ends in our wider community. I identified prior to creating EYES on St Albans the need for doing and not talking about some of the issues our community faces on a daily basis.
What does the future hold for EYES on St Albans?
Throughout my short 54.5 years, I have learned not to forward plan too much much, nobody ever knows what is around the corner. ‘Live by the day and wake up tomorrow’ and then go again!