Metro Optics recently returned to its Westchester Square location after a major modernization and expansion.
The store, located since 1988 at 25 Westchester Square, reopened to the public on Monday, January 28.
It temporarily moved its offices several storefronts north of the present store during the construction project.
The renovations created a streamlined operation that will enhance the level of service and care offered, the management believes.
When the landlord added more square footage to the rear portion of the first floor it enabled the popular eye care business to connect its management office to its retail operation from its previous second floor location, said John Bonizio, Metro Optics co-owner.
“The landlord expanded the building by putting another story and a half or two stories on top of the building, so we were put in the position where we had to vacate the second floor,” said Bonizio.
The landlord was willing to make a deal with the optical store and it served as an opportunity to modernize, he explained.
“It gives us the opportunity to better serve our patients. The space is larger (in general) and the exam facilities are much larger then they used to be,” said Bonizio, adding “I am really happy about it, I feel very confortable.”
Having more space and roomier offices in the heart of the store is better for employees, he said.
Sara Bonizio, Metro Optics’ marking and public relations manager, said that she believes the improvements make far more efficient use of space.
The interior of the store has a number of new display cases.
An employee of the store who is a graphic artist and a graduate from Bronx Community College will design a visual representation of history of Metro Optics, which was founded in 1978 in Parkchester, said Sara Bonizio.
Current Metro Optics locations include its flagship in the Throggs Neck Shopping Center and a Hunts Point store that was also recently modernized, she said. There is a Metro Optics in Parkchester as well.
There are plans to incorporate classic photographs of Metro Optics and its employees into the décor at the Square, she said.
Most importantly, Sara Bonizio said it key that Metro Optics is that it is a place where patients feel beyond confortable, taken care of, and that their eye care is in the best of hands.
The company, Bronx-born and bred, has been active in the management of the Westchester Square Business Improvement District and in supporting local causes.
Many employees start out as patients, said Metro Optics general manager Brett Schumacher.
A former employee, Darnella Valentino, told the Bronx Times that she used the experience she honed on the job to advance her career in eye care after starting as a salesperson.
The ongoing construction at 25 Westchester Square has led to the relocation of another longtime business, Simelson’s Pharmacy, to a space across the street from its longtime location.
It is likely a permanent move, a store employee told the Bronx Times.
Also the BID moved from its 2nd floor location to a new space on Frisby Avenue.
The property’s renovation will include the installation of an elevator and modern offices on the upper floors.
The landlord of 25 Westchester Square wasn’t immediately available for comment.