Dr. Philip Goldthwait found himself somewhat adrift last July when Pearle Vision next to his offce closed after a quarter-century at the Bangor Mall.
The optometrist, whose practice had been housed right next door to Pearle since 1997, suddenly found himself without nearby optical services.
“We had a symbiotic relationship,” explained Goldthwait, 52. “They would refer people to me. I never hard-tracked my patients to go there, but it was convenient having them next door.”
Unfortunately, many consumers perceived Pearle and Goldthwait’s practice as a package deal.
“A lot of people thought that I went out of business, too,” Goldthwait said. “But we never closed.”
As many people kept stopping into his office to ask when Pearle was re-opening, Goldthwait sensed an opportunity.
“This kind of fell right into my lap,” he said. “I either took advantage of it or I didn’t.”
Goldthwait did, purchasing the space which will become the Mainely Eyes optical center, set to open Jan. 7.
Goldthwait, a pilot who flies up once a week to his branch office in Houlton, hopes to tap into the loyal customer base which Pearle enjoyed over the years. To do so, he’s hired four full-time and seven part-time employees, many of whom previously worked at Pearle.
“The core staff that ran Pearle Vision have agreed to come back to join Mainely Eyes, bringing their experience and expertise to bear,” Goldthwait said.
There will be a passageway from the office to the retail space, and Goldthwait’s space will increase from 1,700 to 2,900 square feet.
“We’re building out that space, changing the whole look of it,” Goldthwait explained. “We’ve given it a much more contemporary look with a mix of product that will appeal to many. The technology is going to be doctor-driven and state-of-the-art. We will offer a whole new line of frames and products that you can’t get at discount/express optical places. We plan to separate ourselves by offering superb customer service and quality that’s still affordable. You’ll see the difference.”