It’s only thanks to my copious flex spending account that I have purchased so many pairs of glasses in the past three years (and written about eyewear quite a bit too).
I actually wear contacts most of the time, but glasses, including sunglasses, are a casual obsession. You can never have enough variety when it comes to the acetate and metal accessories that frame your face.
In South Tampa, The Optic Shop has been an insiders’ establishment since I can remember. Inconspicuous, and relying on little other than word-of-mouth marketing and impeccable customer service.
When you stop in, you’ll find charmingly outdated 90s decor, and a neon cursive ‘Lab’ sign that cracks me up.
Look a little closer and you’ll see that it is a curation of some of the finest eyewear brands and materials in the world. Frames made in Italy, Japan, and France. Titanium, rare wood, high-quality plastics. Those come at a high price, however, and The Optic Shop doesn’t take insurance.
Still, I come back to it like a trained canine, as do many others, because the attentiveness and time taken to find the perfect pair is unmatched. I always leave feeling more handsome in my new frames – and that is the goal isn’t it?
Better yet, in the same way bridal studios don’t sell the same dress twice, Gil and his colleagues tend to only order one example of each frame…so once it’s gone, it’s gone.
But before any frames walk out, the wearer undergoes a careful selection process. Pairs are suggested, and then shapes and colors refined. I usually end up darting around, discussing the quirky designers. The Optic Shop has exclusivity agreements with many of the lines it carries, meaning you can’t get Zero G, or Kirk Originals, or Anne et Valentin anywhere else in the area.
To drive foot traffic from the otherwise unaware, they also carry Chanel, Tag Heuer, Ray-Ban, Maui Jim…
My entire family has gone to The Optic shop for frames, and I myself have spent quite a princely sum there over the years. But, it warms my heart to know that such a niche establishment, as anti-mall as they come, is sustainable. That speaks to the value of knowledge, passion for your craft, and rarity of product that is so absent these days.
It’s one of my favorite stores in Tampa. If you’re in the market for spectacles, and can afford a bit of a splurge, don’t hesitate to have your optical world rocked 🙂