Friday, September 6, 2013

Now in Bel Air! Linder Opticians is now Paris West Optical. - Updated 9/10/13

We've been talking about it for a bit now...but it's official. Linder Opticians in Bel Air is now Paris West Optical. For those who didn't know, Bruce Linder was a master optician who for 37+ years provided exceptional service and quality eye wear in Bel Air, Maryland. (and I thought 19+ years was doing something).
Unfortunately, Bruce was diagnosed with a non-treatable form of cancer a little while back. He wanted to make sure that his business continued in such a way that his loyal customers would continue to be taken care of and also that his lovely wife Cindy wouldn't have to deal with the loose ends and stress of his business. Based on the recommendation of mutual customers, suppliers and as well as the reputation of our shop, Bruce placed a call to me earlier this year. To be honest, while flattered, I was not interested initially. I had spent the last almost 20 years working on Paris West and had only in the past few years been able to take time off. But Bruce confided his condition to me (I am a 2 time cancer survivor) and he was so cordial on the phone that I figured meeting him for lunch wouldn't hurt. Besides everyones favorite former employee, Aubrey and her pocket sized optical super model daughter Kendall reside in Bel Air -along with the rest of her ever expanding family.
I had a very nice lunch with Bruce... we had pretty much the exact same beliefs on how an optical shop should be run. How quality and individualized service is so hard to find nowadays...and that most transactions had such a cold and corporate feel to them and there wasn't any real relationship building between the business and the clients. I was impressed by the longevity of his shop and that his passion for it had continued unabated for close to 4 decades. Still, I wasn't convinced. I live an hour away from Bel Air. I don't know much about the community. (And lets face it, I kind of look like a cross between a motorcycle gang member and a terrorist...not exactly the look that plays well on Mainstreet USA).
I left and went to meet Aubrey, her husband Isaac (pictured above in that cool shirt) and the kids. (and to use her pool...but don't say anything). I mentioned my meeting and the empathy I had for Bruce and his situation, but still felt it was a bad fit. That's when Isaac asked if my opinion would change if he and Aubrey would buy the shop with me as my partners. After all, Aubrey was one of my most trusted and competent employees for 8 plus years and had only left when her son Rylan was born and the commute to the city became too much. Aubrey, who is a 3rd generation Bel Air native and who only lived 5 minutes from Linder Opticians. To make this long winded post shorter, obviously that made a huge difference... and here we are...going from Changing the face of Baltimore to Changing the face of Maryland (thanks to my brother Lance for the tagline). We have already tripled the existing inventory at the shop, but other than that we have no plans on doing anything different than the late Bruce Linder would have done... providing exceptional customer service, fantastic products and an unmatched value. We hope to make him proud and glad he chose us. Stop in and let us show you.

The shop is located at: 328 S. Main Street, Bel Air, MD 21014
410-838-8988. We are open Tuesday thru Friday 10-6 and Saturday 9-1.

Update 9/10/13: Just to avoid any confusion (as if my inability to form proper sentences isn't enough)...we have NOT moved the original location (521 N. Charles St. Baltimore, MD 21201) we are still there, having just signed a new 10 year lease extension. This is an additional location. (hey...we're like a chain now... if 2 links can be considered a chain). Sorry if it was unclear earlier.