On a balmy January afternoon, post holiday season, Eye Gallery was bustling with customers, both residents and out of towners, checking out the latest styles in eyeglasses and sunglasses at this spacious and gracious South Greeley Avenue shop. There were also those simply dropping in to schedule an eye exam or contact fitting appointment with its owner, Chris Gentile, a working optometrist for almost 15 years.
Meanwhile, manager Celine Lewitt was engaging a vendor offering selections of designer eyeglass and sunglass wear to add to an ever growing inventory of fashionable selections for the discerning customer.
“Eyeglasses and sunglasses have emerged as perhaps the most important accessory in your wardrobe, “ notes Chris. “For awhile now, they’ve been about far more than helping you see better or protecting your eyes. Your face is the first thing people look at and it can’t hurt to be armed with the right fashion. The designers know that and are always coming up with interesting new frames for an interesting new look.”
Of late, larger eyeglasses with thicker, heavier plastic frames–to achieve a so called “nerd chic” look–are all the rage and Chris points to various fun, funky and stylish “big frame” selections by Oliver Peoples, Chanel and Tom Ford. “They are quite eye catching,” says Celine. “This larger look is a definite trend.” Eye Gallery also carries Salt, Barton Perreira, Robert Marc, Dita, Gold & Wood, among other high end brands. In the sunglass arena, Chris points out that aviator styles have retained their popularity. “They retain a classic look and the polarized lenses offer great protection.”
The goal for awhile has been to bring a Manhattan style, high end optical shop to town. In its very first year in business, Eye Gallery won Best of Westchester. In the spring, Chris will be attending Vision Expo East, a major trade show at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. “I’ll be working with great vendors to discover and acquire the newest looks for the spring, summer and beyond. We always want to be the go to place for finding the latest and most fashion forward styles,” states Chris.
But he emphasizes that above all it’s the friendly atmosphere at Eye Gallery that has produced a loyal and steadily growing clientele. “While our offerings are competitive with any city shop, there is still a small town feel here. In addition, everyone knows everyone. We are on a first name basis with our customers.”
Chris tells the story of regularly going above and beyond to serve customers in a crisis, one time overnighting a prescription pair of shades to a customer whose own pair was lost during a ski trip in Colorado.
Chris also takes pride in his work with the youngest clientele, fitting them for their first frames or patiently teaching them how to wear their contact lenses and take proper care of them.
“Ultimately,” says Chris, “We want to and plan to be here a very long time. We are hoping the downtown will continue to evolve, so that it’s a vibrant place for our customers here in town but also draws people in from other towns.”
PROPRIETOR: Dr. Chris Gentile
IN BUSINESS SINCE: 2007