Is it 100% Optical? Is it a new breed of optician? Is it simply 'time'?
Last week, I did a whirlwind tour of some of the best UK independent opticians and I am happy to report there are some major changes afoot, up and down the country.
In the interest of impartiality, I should point out that Kirk & Kirk is not necessarily available in all of these stores but I can guarantee that you will find great eyewear in all of them.
My week started at Amar Shah Optometrist at Cotham Hill in Bristol. Having just celebrated their tenth anniversary, Amar and his team carry great collections in a beautiful environment.
There is an amazing new store tucked away in King's Heath, just outside Birmingham.
Spectacle Emporium is the brain child of Janan Choudhary who is bringing some of the finest eyewear in the world to this gem of a practice. Janan champions independent brands and you can discover superb frames from the likes of Tavat and Cazal in the heart of the West Midlands.
From Birmingham, I went up to Roundhay, Leeds where I visited Brosgill Opticians. Neil Brosgill and his team select very well considered collections with a wide variety of styles from the conservative through to......well, Kirk & Kirk.
Foot on the pedal heading North......next stop Lytham and a really exciting store, Broadhurst Optometrists. #Beboptom also have a store in Preston but Lytham has just been re-fitted by Cathy Simms and is stunning. They carry all of the best independent collections from around the world.......love it!
Lynsey and Claire are wearing Hana in flame and Hana in the new Midnight.
A quick "hello" at Seen in Manchester where you will find a cracking selection of Theo and Anne et Valentin frames as well as some other more unusual delights like Niloca from Australia.
I am also looking forward to visiting the new Adam Simmonds store on Great Portland Street later this week. Adam opened the first great independent store in Soho back in the 1990s and currently has a gorgeous store in Primrose Hill so I cannot wait to see what the new location, right next to the BBC, has to offer.......Adam never disappoints.
One final visit in London to Eyeworks on Gloucester Road. What an amazing atmosphere in this store and, naturally, some brilliant eyewear from around the world. Kirk & Kirk will be available at Eyeworks at the beginning of November.
Brenda wears Hana in Violet, Amy is resplendent in Lez in Sunset and Amanda is delighted with her Cady in Midnight - nice pic!
There are an increasing number of great independent stores across the country. Undoubtedly, our new trade show, 100% Optical which takes place in February at Excel, is having an impact.
If you would like a recommendation of a good independent optician near you, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.