I did one of those stupid things yesterday when traveling, and my prescription sunglasses went kablooey, one of the stems snapping off. I browsed around Yelp today to find a place for glasses near me that repaired glasses in hopes of maybe being able to salvage them.
Three places seemed possible. All with top-notch ratings, but I ended up settling on one because it was a) closer, b) said very nice things about a "Kathy" who worked there, and c) it mentioned that they did repairing on the spot and were fast. And so I went there.
Good choice. The place is Hour Glass Optical, and the mystical "Kathy," turned out to be Kathy Egeghy, who owns the place.
When I first went in, the woman who helped me said that I had two options. They could send it out for soldering (they didn't do that there), which would cost $59 or $69, or if I could find a new frame to fit the lens, that would start at $89. It was at this point that Kathy waltzed by and took over. "Let me see if we have a frame for you, it would be so much better." I'm sure it would, but I wasn't anxious to spend a minimum of the $89, I said -- when she brushed me off, "Oh, don't worry about that. I want to make you happy. I want you to be a customer for life. We'll make it work." And so she did -- finding a nice $89 frame that fit the existing lenses, and only charged $59.
We got to talking, and she's a hoot. Warm, friendly, wildly outgoing. And I could tell that the way she was treating me was how how dealt with everyone, as she periodically had to excuse herself to work with customers coming and and just chatting with them. Eventually she'd return to me, as her technician worked on my sunglasses.
She fixed my main pair of reading glasses when she saw they didn't sit properly and kept repeating how she wanted everything to be right, and for me to be happy.
Her story is bizarre and wonderful. The store has been there for 49 years, and she's been there for 33 of them, starting as a part-timer in school. But at one point, she studied the Fortran computer language, which is mind-numbingly difficult, but a loopy experience on her first job (which last 3 hours and 20 minutes...her choice) let her back to One Hour Optical, where she'd been working part-time. And with an aversion to All Things Computer. And now she owns the place.
(The website says 28 years experience, so I can't do the math. But that might be in this same location. Or maybe something that needs to be fixed. I trust the words out of the effusive Kathy's mouth...)
As I said, she was warm and personable. At one point, she liked something I said and so threw her arms out. "Give me a hug. You're family now!" I'd been there a whole 15 minutes. Perhaps I was the long-lost cousin. Or the Prodigal Son returning. But I got the sense that if I had stayed there much longer, I might have become the patriarch. Or crazy uncle.
Anyway, the frame fix was done quickly, about 10 minutes, the quality was terrific, and the atmosphere for more joyous than any eyeglass store I've ever been to. "Come back anything, just to talk!" she enthused.
There's a reasonable chance I will...
If you live in the West L.A. area and need any frames for glasses or repair work, it's well-worth considering One Hour Optical at 12431 Wilshire, basically at Centinela. Free parking in the rear. Their phone number is 310-442-4617. Or you can check out their website here.
If you don't live in West L.A....well, I figure a pleasant story about good people and a good business is always worthwhile. Which is why I like to say nice things behind peoples' backs...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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