When Luxe Optique first covered the storefront windows of 183 Main Street with COMING SOON paper, passers-by on the street asked how a glasses store would survive in Beacon. When the paper was peeled away, and people could see designer frames in the window (from designers that most of us had never heard of), it was clear that something special was inside. When the shingle was hung outside of the Main Street windows - a shingle that wasn't in the traditional rectangular shape at all, but vintage specs resembling shingles of opticians of the past - the speculative chatter came to a halt, and spottings of interesting frames on Beacon faces began.
Luxe Optique celebrates their one-year anniversary this weekend with a party on Saturday, August 12, 2017, from 3 to 8 pm. Regular readers of our Happening This Weekend newsletter and column know that Luxe Optique has been supporting A Little Beacon Blog as an advertiser for their entire year of business. In fact, Luxe has supported all of the newspapers in the area, as well as other organizations and initiatives, which helps you stay informed. As a token of our appreciation, we interviewed them about how they thrived during their first year.
In the Beginning...
Owner Laurie Riehle opened Luxe Optique with her dedicated staff (who have worked with her since adolescence), Ryon Odneal and Julia Martell, one year ago after selling her other store, Riehle Opticians, in Warwick, NY. Now, Luxe Optique employs 11 people in the Beacon shop.
After Warwick, over in Orange County, how did Beacon become the next logical location? According to Ryon: "Laurie was looking for the perfect city with a creative and daring side that didn't already have a local optical practice. Beacon, having easy train access and the Dia, appeared to be the perfect fit for what we wanted. One year later we know for sure it was the right decision!"
Luxe Optique Attracts Out-Of-Towners to Beacon
"Laurie's previous store was a core part of the town it was in," says Ryon. "It took care of every socioeconomic need there was. So, like that store, we are Beacon's local, community-based optical store." This includes in-store eye exams, which during the past year, have frequently been offered for free. Otherwise, the staff helps you submit a claim to your insurance if you have it.
Ryon is quick to point out the accessibility to designer brands - not designer brands that you'd find in vision centers in a mall, but true couture - handmade. "One would have to hop from store to store in New York City to try them all on, so the person who normally would travel to NYC for a great pair of glasses no longer has to! That being said, we also have many patients located in NYC who travel up here for their eyewear." Luxe Optique carries 23 lines of designer frames.
The Luxe Optique Test of Excellence
What test must a line of frames pass in order to be on the shelves of Luxe Optique? According to Ryon: "All of our collections MUST have an equivalent or greater quality value than the cost to our patient. We love to educate our patients on eyewear so they make the most wise decision in their investment! Which would be why you don't see major labels who license out their name to other companies to be made in China at high costs to the consumer. The average truly handmade frame should have a life span of 3 to 15 years."
Luxe Optique Owner Laurie Recently Bought Her Building
It's a common strategy for business owners to own the building where they set up shop, but not every proprietor gets the opportunity. "Laurie always knew she wanted to own the building the store would be in, but that wasn't originally an option with our current location," Ryon recalls. "We had a temporary, one-year lease and were pleasantly surprised when the option became available that we could keep our space permanently."
What Does Luxe Love About Business In Beacon?
"Our customers - we love them all! And the strong sense of community! From international, to the true Beaconites, and other nearby towns," says Ryon. "Every time we do an eyewear makeover, or provide better vision for patients than they have ever had, it is an unparalleled highlight. Most of the time, it's an emotional experience for our patients as well as us! Which is becoming routine here at Luxe."
I Bought A Pair
As a person who has worn glasses since the third grade, and my daughter starting in kindergarten (that's when public school gives the kids vision screenings), I swore off high-priced glasses after learning about the high profit margins associated with most brands. So I vowed to only shop from clearance racks and spend $50 for my frames. Now that I go into Luxe Optique on a monthly basis to get ideas for their advertising spot in A Little Beacon Blog's weekend happenings newsletter, I gaze at their frames all of the time, and learn about how they are made, who makes them, and where. The enthusiasm of the team at Luxe is contagious, and I finally bought my first pair of frames this month (we bought my daughter's and my husband's first). And Ryon is right. It is transformational.
Keep your eyes peeled, looking for Luxe Optique on the cover of Bespoke Concierge magazine. They shot on location at The Beacon Hotel, and the issue will be released in late August.