By Janet Stoica
Where is the best optical shop in Worcester County? Did you say Charlton? Yes, Charlton…and because of their loyal base of satisfied and happy customers, Peter Maly and his capable staff have captured the Best Optical Shop Award in the Worcester Telegram’s 2018 Annual Best of Central Mass. Awards. “There must be over 200 optical shops in this area,” said Mr. Maly, “and we are very proud that our customers voted us ‘the best.’ We are honored. People want continuity and familiarity and we are all of that. We’ll be celebrating our 25th year anniversary right here at the same location in 2019 and have seen our customer’s children grow up and bring their own children to our store. We don’t stop moving though. We just added new signage and a new awning, we continuously advertise, we have a large selection of frames (about 1,500 to choose from), along with our ability to accept most insurances, and our two optometrists on staff make us one of the busiest shops around. The other very large advantage that sets us apart from our fellow optical shops is that we grind our own lenses here.”
Peter and two other staff opticians actually create your eyeglasses right on the premises. This writer has never been aware of any opticians in the area having that capability. The process involves blank generic power glass and/or plastic lenses that arrive in one-inch thick formats. As prescriptions are accepted from customers, Peter and his fellow opticians use their lab equipment to grind the blanks to the proper power for each individual whether it’s one power, bifocal, trifocal, or progressive lenses. One-stop shopping for sure. Another interesting facet of this shop is its skill to insert tiny magnets in the upper left and right corners of a customer’s clear spectacles making those specs capable of accepting a flat pair of sunglasses with like magnets. Once those flat sunglasses are clicked on those tiny magnets, it’s impossible to tell the wearer has clip-on sunglasses. Simply amazing! “I do almost all my own optical work,” Peter stated, “grinding prescriptions with a computerized edger with most scrips done the same day presented. Many local hotels and inns refer their out-of-town customers here if glasses are needed or repairs have to be done because of our same-day service. Some of our elderly customers can’t get out and we’ll even deliver their new specs. Our optical staff does not work on commission so we are always focused on what the customer and their family wants. We also specialize in safety eyewear for companies.”
Charlton Optical’s customers drive in from Shrewsbury and Connecticut. Many of their customers are local residents including those from the Brookfields, Quinebaug and Thompson CT, and Webster & Dudley. Mr. Maly began his career working at Gentex Optics of Dudley MA. He so thoroughly enjoyed working in the production area making lenses that he decided to further his education in the lens grinding area. He is certified by the National Contact Lens Examiners, American Board of Opticianry, and the Opticians Association of Massachusetts. The shop has two board-certified optometrists on duty, Dr. Firas Kassira and Dr. David Snowden. Additional staff includes: Lynda Shultz, office manager; Jo-Ann Channel, I.T. supervisor; and Jayne Deluca, Denise Pocai, and Lynn Konieczny, opticians.
“There is nothing more precious than the gift of sight.” said Mr. Maly, “One day I was fitting a three-year old boy with his first pair of eyeglasses and when I placed his new specs on him, I watched his facial expression turn to one of awe as he looked at me and said ‘What big ears you have!’ I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as it was obvious he could now see clearly for the first time. I was so happy for him. Over the years I’ve received handwritten letters from my young customers thanking me for their ability to see better. It’s very rewarding. We enjoy listening to our customers and seek to establish a great rapport with them. Everyone who comes into this shop is important to us.” Charlton Optical, 109-6 Masonic Home Road (Route 31), Charlton MA 01507. Phone: (508) 248-1188. Hours: Mon 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Tues 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Wed/Fri 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Thurs 10 a.m. – 7/8 p.m.; and Sat 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. www.charltonoptical.com