With a combined total of 10 years optical experience, two local men opened R & R Eyewear Excellence, a full service optometric store. Located in the Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills, Richard Hatcher, 29, and Ryan Lee, 25, use the eyewear store to promote healthy vision and great customer service.
The duo started out small with eyeglass parties in customers’ houses. Shortly after a series of eyeglass parties, according to Hatcher, the pair generated “faithful customers and a good referral system.” Hatcher, of Penn Hills, and Ryan, a Wilkinsburg native, made a name for themselves in the optical business.
After planning for about a year, the men searched for a mall to open a kiosk.
The Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills, owned by Zamias Services Inc., has a reputation for helping small businesses. Although 17 miles away from Downtown Pittsburgh, in March 2013, the newest shopping property was the only place to lease the two young African-Americans a kiosk to commercialize their business. Other local malls, like Monroeville Mall, allegedly had contracts with mainstream optical stores, which prevented competitors from coming to the store.
R & R Eyewear Excellence takes pride in their range and variety of products and services and the longtime friends are not intimidated by the chained competition. “We want to be around competition because we know what we offer is better. We know what we offer is affordable. We want you to go into other stores, come back around and compare apples with apples to see the difference,” said Hatcher, who was once employed with Pearle Vision.
Product quality and customer satisfaction has been top on the entrepreneurs’ list. Because their Pittsburgh Mills location might seem far to some, Hatcher and Lee can ship and deliver orders and even make house visits for elderly and/or sick customers. “We didn’t forget how we started in the beginning, we will come to you,” said Hatcher.
In August 2013, they moved into a Pittsburgh Mills storefront. Three doors down from Macys, R & R Eyewear Excellence expanded and were able to offer eye exams with a physician that comes in two days a week. The store has over 20 different vendors
Hatcher urges everyone, even those with good vision to get a checkup because “when you get an eye exam, doctors can catch early signs of different diseases.” African-Americans are at higher risk for glaucoma and diabetes and early detection can also help with identifying Alzheimer’s disease and high blood pressure.
“We don’t just want to sell you glasses; we want to also preserve your eye sight,” said Hatcher.
For 2014, Hatcher and Lee want to open another location and offer eye exams five days a week, creating a full time optometrist position. “With us being younger we have that drive, we can see ourselves doing this for the next 40 years,” said Hatcher.
For more information about R & R Eyewear Excellence, please visit their website eyewearexcellence.com or their Pittsburgh Mills location.
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