One day, as a teenager working in a clothing store in Smith Haven Mall, Charlotte Smilovich lined up next to the Pearle Vision counter, ready to complain about the sound of the phone constantly ringing.
“I was very frustrated by it and said, ‘Can you guys help me and pick up your phone, or hire me and I’ll do it.’ “
Miss Smilovich intended to joke around, but just one month later she found herself doing more than answering the phone, quickly moving up the ranks to lead the store in sales.
He didn’t look back. Ms Smilovich, who now lives in Mattituck, worked for Cohen’s Fashion Optical in Riverhead and ended up buying the business 13 years ago.
This month, he’s moving the business from a former Walmart shopping center to its new location across the street at 720 Old Country Road. It opens January 4 with a small ribbon cutting ceremony.
“It’s a whole new atmosphere,” said Ms. Smilovich. “It’s clean, refreshing and very modern. We worked really hard to get here. “
Activity at the previous location, he said, had eased over the years as Walmart remained vacant. “We knew we needed to do something, then COVID stopped us.”
Despite the odds, he said his strong beliefs and support from his family kept him motivated.
“This is strictly a family affair,” he said. Her husband, Raymond, is often found making glasses at night after spending his days running North Fork Auto Body. His daughter, Samantha, recently graduated from college with a business degree and studied business while her son, Anthony Remigio, worked as a lab technician.
The new location is brighter and brighter, with an expanded lens selection that allows businesses to offer one-hour service in many ways.
Additionally, audiology services are available on-site from state licensed audiologist Lisa Roselli. “We can now do hearing aids and hearing services that are completely compatible with sight,” Smilovich said. “Since [Ms. Roselli] been here, she’s been helping people get hearing aids. What an amazing thing. “
Telemedicine has also become a big part of their model amid the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s a game changer,” said Ms. Smilovich, explained that this method allows a more thorough and sophisticated testing technology. “Nowadays, many people like him. They feel safer. “
Offering telemedicine would also allow them to extend hours over the next few months to stay open some evenings and on Sundays, he said, adding to a staff of three doctors.
In the new room, Ms. Smilovich and his son also launched a new line of eyewear which they are working on.
Over 30 years in this business, Ms. Smilovich says helping patients find the right frame pairs is his passion. “Something fun. There are different styles, “he said.
A concept design for eyewear that started in 2019 has now evolved into the Charlotte Rose line for women, while the Anthony line features male and gender neutral styles. The entire line is made in Italy.
“I love the fact that I can make someone feel good and confident with the glasses and proud when they come out,” he said.
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