In May 2001, director Lynsey Caldwell opened the Specsavers Connswater store with 6 members of staff. As the store celebrates its 20th anniversary, the team of 34 is marking the occasion with a significant expansion.
Lynsey and director Paula Cunningham (who joined in 2003) oversee the team that includes optometrists, optical assistants, dispensing staff and audiology colleagues. They are looking forward to further growth as they take over the adjoining unit in the Connswater Shopping Centre and recruit additional employees.
Throughout this anniversary year, the store is also expected to reach a major milestone of 100,000 customers supported as, at present, 97,000 patrons have been through the doors of the branch since it opened.
Lynsey said, “We are proud to have served the local community for twenty years and look forward to continuing that relationship with them. To ensure we always deliver the highest quality of service, we are expanding our store and enhancing our customer offering, as we open additional testing rooms and recruit staff in both professional and customer service roles.”
The team have continually developed their services throughout the last twenty years, most recently with a £30,000 investment in technology in 2019 that saw them among the first in Northern Ireland to install an Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) machine, usually found in hospital eye departments. In addition, staff have been encouraged to specialise and undertake additional training to build upon their existing qualifications. The store expansion is the latest in a long line of efforts to ensure customers’ needs are met.
Paula explained, “We are always driven to ensure quality of care and value for our customers. Particularly throughout the last year, our intentions to acquire additional space to help more of them were only reinforced as we implemented social distancing.
“By adding more testing rooms, we can increase the number of customers scheduled within a day – this will be beneficial both while we operate under current guidelines and as we progress out of the pandemic, as we have always been an extremely busy store.”
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the Specsavers stores have remained open with services available to the public via appointment, to help manage social distancing and reduce time spent in store. Specsavers has been keen to stress the importance of people attending their appointments to ensure their eye, hearing and overall health is not at risk during this time.
Lynsey added, “We are open seven days a week, with five late nights and have continued to look after eye emergencies and the eye health of our customers during lockdown. Throughout the last twenty years the team has been excellent, but in the last twelve months they have really shone.
“We are looking forward to welcoming our 100,000th customer in this coming year, just as much as we are looking forward to continuing to serve those who have been with us since 2001.”
For more information or to book an optical or audiology appointment visit https://www.specsavers.co.uk/