By Samantha Cortez
You can almost smell the salty air during a faint breeze. The area is lined with Mediterranean-themed buildings and picture-perfect palm trees. Elaborate water fountains and manicured bushes cascade the landscape. This isn’t a Hawaiian vacation spot—it’s the home of Visual Eyes, a high-end eyewear boutique in Mizner Park.
Mizner Park is a premiere section of East Boca Raton, Fla., an affluent area of 60,000 residents just a mile off the Atlantic Ocean. A cultural hub, the area contains every avenue of entertainment: state-of-the-art museums, restaurants and eateries, and a wide range of upscale shops.
Mizner Park at Boca Raton, Fla.
Number of locations 1
Number of employees 6
A revitalized customer experience.
Visual Eyes stands on a street-side outdoor plaza, nestled between a Nine West shoe store and the renowned Sloan’s Ice Cream Parlor.
Aaron Evans, OD, took over Visual Eyes two years ago after the previous owner had been running the business since its opening in 1990. With the shop situated in a prime location, Evans needed a fresh redesign to not only liven up the ocean-breezed region, but also the high-end frames it sells.
“My office has been known for offering top designer frame lines for over 20 years,” says Dr. Evans. “Because we are located at Mizner Park, a high-end plaza, we felt it was necessary to bring our décor up to the standards of the other tenants.”
Revenue hasn’t exactly been up to par either. Over the past three years, profit has dropped by 15 percent, prompting Dr. Evans to do something bold.
Dr. Evans initially took matters into his own hands by making slight rearrangements and light moderations. But that wasn’t enough. Dr. Evans then enlisted Eye Designs to assist in recreating their image. Eye Designs delivered a 3D model of the space, providing Evans with a good visual of the changes that needed to be made. The major goal for the redesign was to have the overall layout live up to the dispensed brands.
“The store originally looked like a baseball card shop,” Dr. Evans admits. “It had mixed and matched displays, all different sizes and shapes. The optical area was a collage of different designer cases from over 20 different companies. The displays were placed in the middle of the store, blocking any view of the optometry division in the back. Even though we carried frame lines such as Cartier and Chanel, it gave the impression of a discount store.”
The flooring was updated with honed limestone five years ago, but Dr. Evans claims customers could hardly recognize the improvement due to the disarrayed arrangement of display cases. Cabinetry was old press board with a neutral tan hue and severely outdated handles. The reception desk was 15 years old and due to the design, concealing the clutter was virtually impossible.
One of the biggest challenges of renovation was the small space. The 1,175 square-foot area is just 16 feet wide and 80 feet deep, and Dr. Evans wanted it to appear bigger after the remodeling.
Shutting down shop for renovation was not an option for Dr. Evans. He took necessary precautions to keep the work flow moving—even if it meant a slower remodeling process.
“We started the project in September by painting the walls at night,” says Dr. Evans. In addition, the team took advantage of the 10 weeks it took to build the requested furniture by preparing in advance for its arrival. By the time the project was complete and installations were made, the store had only lost two business days.
The resulting design knocks the former “baseball-card looking” shop out of the park. Taking full advantage of Eye Design’s “Expressions” collection, the space is much more organized and gives the impression of ample space. Frames are now displayed behind contemporary lock-and-key cherry wood cabinetry. The chairs are elegantly outfitted with red velvet slipcovers and the ceilings illuminated with a mixture of rail and recessed lighting fixtures. The dispensary, originally 650 square feet, has expanded to 700 square feet.
“After the renovation, the store had an open feel,” says Dr. Evans. “The top designer frames are displayed correctly. This gives the patient the impression of value. The entire office looks professional and inviting.”
With a redesign that accurately reflects the brands on display, Dr. Evans can now focus entirely on customers. Their business philosophy is simple: Deliver what the customer wants. “We always keep in mind, without the customer we won’t exist. With this mentality the decisions are made quite simply.”
The majority of Visual Eyes’ frames retail for over $300, with some frames ranging up to $1,700. Luxury brands on display include Dita, Prada, Cartier, Serengeti and Fendi.
Frame buying is in the hands of three opticians when it comes to purchasing product. “I let each optician order what they think they can sell and what they are proficient in,” says Dr. Evans. “For example, one optician might love rimless glasses and has the sales to prove it. I let that optician buy all my rimless, because they have shown they know how to sell it.”
Returning customers were more than satisfied with the boutique’s redesign, which offered a revamped purchasing and interactive experience. “Long time patients were amazed and very proud of the store,” Dr. Evans says.
And customers aren’t the only ones proud of the new look. Eye Designs was so impressed with the resulting design, they decided to prominently feature Visual Eyes in its most current ad campaign. “Visual Eyes is an excellent representation of how the Eye Designs process works, from creating the floor plan with traffic flow to collaborating with our interior designers, to choosing colors and finishes,” says Melissa Achenbach, marketing coordinator at Eye Designs.
Though it was initially a bold move, Dr. Evans has zero regrets. “Eye Designs helped deliver an amazing store,” he says. Now what’s behind the doors of Visual Eyes looks just as good as the picturesque view on the outside.