When Lumen Optical opened in Kildeer earlier this year, the company hoped to revolutionize eye doctor visits for Illinois residents. From the eye exam to picking out glasses, the entire optical experience has been rethought. A visit to the boutique-like store feels nothing like your average eye doctor.
“We like to build the experience around the guest,” says William Gainer, Vice President of Operations. “We strive to wait on our guests instead of having them wait on us.”
Before opening, Lumen Optical did extensive research to find what people hope to get from their ideal optical experience. They found some interesting results that helped them shape their store and process to better reflect what customers were looking for.
“Our comprehensive eye exam is second to none,” Gainer says, “and our goal is to make it affordable too.”
Priced at just $79, a price that’s displayed openly on the walls for all guests to see, the exam includes a contact lens fitting and state-of-the-art retinal imaging (in place of dilation) at no extra cost. The company also works with all vision plans to maximize insurance, and ensure guests pay less out of pocket.
“Our pricing is simple and transparent, and guests consistently tell us we are saving them about half on lenses,” Gainer says.
Trying on glasses at Lumen Optical feels like visiting a high-end boutique, but with a less painful price point. Frames range from $49 to $699, like most optical stores, but lenses are much more inexpensive. Because Lumen Optical makes its own lenses in a facility in Elmhurst, prices can be lower and include materials and enhancements that are considered upgrades in other shops. They can also be turned around in about 24 hours. The selection of over 1,200 frames includes Burberry, Oakley, Ray-Ban, Dita, Etnia Barcelona, Coach, Tiffany, Gucci, and more. While the names may be familiar, the experience feels different.
“We walked through many shops and concepts and looked at how guests move through a retail optical environment, so we could make sure we understood what people liked and didn’t like,” Gainer says.
Lumen partnered with Bergmeyer Associates on the design side, and the result is a beautiful store.
“If you stand on the street and look at it, it looks expensive. But inside, it’s not expensive, so you get the best of both worlds,” Gainer says.
The store feels more luxurious and intimate than your typical optical store, and stylists are trained to help you find the perfect frames for your face. Aside from the eye doctors, Lumen trains every employee on every aspect of the business, so you don’t have to talk to a different person for each phase of your exam and retail experience. The same person who does your pre-exam will help you pick out frames after you see the doctor, creating a more synergistic experience than most guests are used to.
Lumen Optical also offers contact lenses, with more in stock than anywhere else. Like glasses, the turnaround time is at most 48 hours.
The Kildeer location has been so well received that Lumen Optical is opening in Mount Prospect in early October, and will expand to Evanston and other surrounding cities in the near future.
“We’ve found something unique and that we think people really appreciate,” Gainer says. “I hope more people will come check us out and see how different their eye care experience can be.”
Lumen Optical is located at 20505 N. Rand Road, Suite 500 in Kildeer, 847-976-7060, lumenoptical.com.