Metro Optics named Top 50 small biz

(l to r:) John Bonizio, general manager of Metro Optic Eyewear, with Michael Ungaro, co-owner and founder, at the company’s Westchester Square location.
Community News Group / Jaime Williams

The Bronx’s own Metro Optics Eyeware has been named one of the city’s best businesses.

CBS radio station 1010 WINS recently identified the local company as one of the Top 50 Small Businesses in New York, and a promotional segment featuring general manager John Bonizio aired on August 6.

Metro Optics was founded in 1978 by co-owner Michael Ungaro in Parkchester. Dr. Eva Yan, Metro Optics’ Head of Optometry and co-owner, joined the practice in 1982; later, she and Ungaro married and opened three more locations in the Bronx along with business partner Bonizio in Weschester Square, Hunts Point and Throggs Neck.

The newest location in the Throggs Neck Shopping Center opened to great fan fare last year. The 4,000 square foot store is ten times the size of Metro Optic’s first location.

The company prides itself on ‘Manhattan style’ retail offerings, said Bonizio, which includes both luxury products and low-budget options.

“The whole idea was to bring world class eyewear to the Bronx,” he said.

Bringing innovation and cutting edge products to the borough is another priority, said Bonizio.

The company has embraced wearable technology, and stocks electronic eyewear with a variety of functions.

“We’re on the forefront of that,” said Bonizio.

But Metro Optics also has a commitment to social responsibility, he said.

They make an effort to provide free vision screenings in the community, as well as educate people about eye health.

That can include teaching parents to look for signs that their kids need glasses, or highlighting common eye diseases.

They do this by participating in community events, such as the recent St. Theresa Feast, where they offered free screenings and information at their booth.

Metro Optics also has options for customers without insurance, offering eye exams and an affordable frame for $99.

“We want to get more people in to take care of their eyes,” said Bonizio.

In addition to a commitment to the community, he said the company also has a commitment to developing its employee’s careers, some of who have been with Metro Optics for decades.

“We encourage growth and we believe in the education of our staff,” said Bonizio.

They offer opportunities for apprenticeships and other avenues to move up within the company, as is the case with the six out of nine opticians who received their license while employed with Metro Optics.

Another employee, who joined the company 28 years ago as a receptionist, became an optician and eventually a buyer, said Bonizio.

The ultimate success of the business is a result of the hardworking, dedicated staff at each of the Metro Optics locations, he said.

“We have 50 employees that are the reason we got that award,” said Bonizio.

Everyone at Metro Optics is grateful for the recognition from 1010 WINS, he said.

“We’re very, very proud to be among the other 49.”

Reach Reporter Jaime Williams at 718-260-4591. E-mail her at

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