Story and photo by Susan Mikula Campbell
A 4-year-old business in the Town of Niagara has become a new business by framing up some money-saving eyeglasses for local residents.
Eye Deal Eyewear Inc., operated by Mike Trombley and Nancy Cristiano, is located in a small mini-plaza at 4611 Military Road at the corner of Sweet Home Road.
Trombley started the eyewear warehouse business in Florida, and traditionally has dealt with non-profit organizations such as Lions Clubs and many managed health care providers throughout the country. Big contracts included the Veterans Administration in New Jersey and Florida.
Trombley and Cristiano, originally from the Niagara Falls and Lewiston areas, moved back to Niagara County to be near their grandchildren, bringing the warehouse business with them.
People were inquiring all the time if the business would sell frames to individuals, commenting, "You could do so well," Cristiano said, so they decided to give it a try this spring.
"We have such a large volume of frames," Trombley said. "It's a good way to make glasses affordable to people."
A variety of styles, sizes, materials and colors of frames are available. Since the business buys frames in such large quantities and doesn't maintain a fancy office, frames that could cost an individual $200 to $250 elsewhere are $20 here.
"If they're OK with coming into a warehouse setting, they're going to get a great value," Cristiano said. "Usually, people find something they like here and are satisfied with the quality."
About 130 frames are currently on display for self-service selection at the no-frills business. Customers can bring in a doctor's script for lenses for their new frames or bring in an old pair of glasses to be "read" and copied. Eye Deal has lenses in stock and also uses a lab in Florida and a local lab for premium lenses.
"Pretty much everything a regular optical shop does, we can provide here," Cristiano said.
They do not, however, deal in contact lenses, nor do they provide eye exams.
When the total cost of the frames and the lenses (regular, bifocal, trifocal, progressive, tinted, UV protection, anti-reflective) is added together, the cost can still be less than a customer's deductible, if they have insurance, Trombley said.
He adds that if his individual customers are "young kids looking for name brand stuff," they might not be satisfied, although Eye Deal does carry Dockers and Revlon frames.
"We have quality frames, but you're not going to buy an Armani from me," he said.
Call 716-297-1500 for more information.