Triple vision – Mare Streets optical war

Margaret Asare outside her EYE London store on Mare Street

Margaret Asare outside her EYE London store on Mare Street

As if being looted and having your store wrecked by looters during London’s summer riots in 2011 wasn’t bad enough, the owner of EYE London, an independently owned opticians on Mare Street, claims she faces the possibility of being swallowed up by national chain, SpecSavers, before long.

Eight years ago Margaret Asare set up her optical practice EYE London Opticians, based at 312 Mare Street. Almost 4 years ago, her store lost close to £40,000 in stock and shop fittings but through the Mayors Riot Fund and help from Hackney Council, the business was rebounding. Then earlier this year, along came SpecSavers, a high street giant who moved in next door to her practice and store. ” At a time we should be growing as a business we can’t, our growth has been stunt by an international company with name recognition and an advertising budget like no other” says Ms Asare, 46, who attended Kingsland Secondary School, since rebuilt as the Petchy Academy in Shackellwell Lane, Dalston.

Asked if she didn’t feel the same competition from the Boots opticians several doors down from her store, Ms Asare said: “We came to an agreement when I opened in Mare Street, not to offer the same deals”

Ms Asare who has a combined 25 years experience of working for various opticians across London and owning her own store, told me: “People think independent opticians cost more than the popular corporate High Street brand stores, but that’s not true. By the time they add on all the extras it can amount to more or the same as ours.  We hope the community will give EYE London a chance by visiting our store.

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