Central's First and Only Optical Store
Over the past few months, Central businesses and families have faced the aftermath of the August flood. One such business is The Spectacle, an optical store located in the Las Palmas shopping strip next to Bombshell Boutique.
Though their business escaped the floodwaters, Shawn and Tracy Parker received thirty inches of floodwater damage in their personal home; however, they are committed to Central and their business here.
“We’ve gone through a bit of a struggle, and we know lots of other families have as well,” Shawn began, “Our intent, really, is to do what we can to rebuild the community. I just can’t see myself living anywhere else. This is who we are. We’re Central.”
Throughout the rebuilding process, they have discovered a renewed spirit of community within their neighborhood.
“Maybe you do have that kind of people helping people in other parts of the country, that comradery,” he said, “but I know we have it here.”
Shawn and Tracy Parker found their home in Central just six years ago, drawn in by the highly rated Central school system. “We love it here,” Shawn said. Tracy even added that their children did not enjoy going to school until they moved into Central.
For twelve years, Tracy worked as an optician before deciding to open a small business in Central with her husband.
“She felt like she could do things a little bit better than what was being done, and the only for way for her to do that was to open her own store,” Shawn said, “She knew the optical side of things, and I knew the business side, so I retired from DEMCO, and we opened a business together.”
The Spectacle opened its doors in March of 2015.
With such a love for their city, choosing Central as the location of their business was easy. “It didn’t make any sense for us to live in Central and open a store in Baton Rouge,” Shawn said, “What better community to serve than the one that we live in?”
While they are still a relatively new business in Central, they attribute their growing customer base to dedicated and personalized customer service.
“We want to be able to take care of people in a way that we want to be taken care of when we walk into a store,” Shawn said, “You allow us to serve you, and we’re going to do that to the best of our ability.”
The Spectacle offers a variety of eyewear including designers like Emilio Pucci, Roberto Cavilli, Ray Bans and Oakley, and Nike, Dolce & Gabana, Coach, Guess and Kenneth Cole.
While they do offer designer brands, they are all about honest opinions and choosing eyewear that looks and feels best. “You’re my billboard,” Tracy said, “You’re walking around with something on your face from me… There’s no corporate agenda or quota to meet.”
Shortly after the flood, Shawn and Tracy discovered that many of their customers were patients of Dr. Mary Vaughan, an optometrist who was flooded out of her practice at the Millerville Target. They approached Dr. Vaughan with an invitation to practice from The Spectacle. “Once she saw that we knew what we were doing,” Shawn said, “she decided to stay here.”
Even with a boost in customers from Dr. Vaughan, Shawn and Tracy know it is pivotal to constantly learn and grow in their field to remain competitive. In the age of online shopping, creating the best in person customer experience is vital.
“The value that you get from that online transaction is not the same value as you would get coming into my store,” Shawn said, “Every pair of glasses is a custom fit for each person.”
They like to find creative solutions to create the best outcome for each customer. For example, Tracy recalled a customer who came into The Spectacle just before a bow-hunting trip; so, they created a special distance lens and near lens to allow the best sight possible during his hunting trip. “He was very happy,” Tracy said, “And, so was his wife, with her freezer full of meat.”
In the future, they hope to potentially expand their business and open another store location. Neither Tracy nor Shawn is willing to sacrifice the customer experience at the expense of another location. They hope to find the right, most qualified people to deliver their high level of customer service.