November 2015 Small Business Startup: EyeCrave Optics

EyeCrave Optics

Jody A Shuler sits in the lounge area during the grand opening of Crave Optics, the first business to occupy the Woolworth Building. Photo by Justin Sorensen.

Jody A. Shuler sits in the lounge area during the grand opening of Crave Optics, the first business to occupy the Woolworth Building. Photo by Justin Sorensen.

By Ted Booker, NNY Business

Jody A. Shuler, who held a grand opening event last month for EyeCrave Optics in the Woolworth Building, said his business’s view of Public Square “gives it a unique focus.”

Spacious storefront windows allow people to easily peer into the upscale eyewear business, which the licensed optician opened in September. The business, which offers an array of fashionable eyewear, is the sole tenant on the ground floor of the historic building, which has leasable space available for several businesses.

Mr. Shuler, a LaFargeville native, worked for local optometrists for about 25 years before deciding to launch the store. In Watertown, he worked as an optician for 15 years at Pearle Vision and for nine years at Meade Optical.

“When I saw the need, I decided to become my own owner,” the 44-year-old said. “I saw the need to offer something unique in the market. No one else in the area has my lines.”

Unlike other eyewear stores, he said, the business offers upscale frames made by independent eyewear manufacturers from the U.S. and abroad, including Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Japan. The frames, which range from about $200 to $700, are handmade and not manufactured in bulk quantities.

“I get them directly from manufacturers that make them, as opposed to mass production with designer labels,” Mr. Shuler said.

He said a licensed optometrist from Syracuse, Neil Marshall, is available for eye appointments on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Appointments are held in the store and take about an hour.

Joseph P. Duffy, a sales representative for Ovvo Optics — a German eyewear manufacturer with a U.S. presence — demonstrated last month how the company’s lightweight, flexible steel frames are difficult to break. A display for the eyewear in the store features a 45-pound weight hanging from a frame.

“The frames are indestructible and laser cut from sheets of surgical steel,” he said, adding he is impressed by Mr. Shuler’s diverse selection. “He has exclusive, high-end brands that you won’t find in any other optician’s shop in Watertown.”

EyeCrave Optics is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays and from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays and Mondays.