A West Yorkshire optometrist is planning to take on more staff to cater for increased footfall as part of a three year growth strategy.
Darren Aveyard has successfully run D Aveyard Opticians in Beeston, Leeds, for 20 years and has seen the footfall at his second practice in Huddersfield Road, Mirfield, increase by 10 per cent since he bought it three years ago.
Now the optometrist has spoken of his plans to extend the Mirfield practice to incorporate an additional examination room and offer extended opening hours, which would mean taking on two more staff – a dispensing optician and a clinical optician.
The practices currently support eight staff and three freelance opticians and Mr Aveyard is hoping to extend the Mirfield practice within the next 18 months.
It follows a recent £50,000 investment in an OCT (ocular coherence tomography) machine at his Beeston practice, which spots degenerative conditions at the back of the eye and is more commonly found in hospitals.
“We’re looking to target the 25 to 40 age group over the next few years with an increased range and longer opening hours to give people greater flexibility when it comes to their appointments.
“As independent opticians we really get to know our customers and we find they’re incredibly loyal and come back time and time again once they’re through the door.”
Customer loyalty has been demonstrated by Darren being nominated recently for Optician of the Year in The Macular Society’s Awards for Excellence after he spotted the early signs of the degenerative eye condition, macular disease, in one of his customers.
Peter Wallis, of Mirfield, nominated Darren for the award after he initially diagnosed the pensioner with the condition during a routine eye test at his Mirfield practice.
“It was a really nice surprise to get the nomination. It gives me great satisfaction that the job we do has a real impact on people’s lives.
“The investment we’re looking to make in the Mirfield practice means we’ll be able to grow as a business and reach even more people.”