Born in 1998. The Rest is History.
Eye Spy Optical came into being after many fruitless searches for red and purple glasses. Realizing that there was a lack of fun, colorful and funky glasses in Chicago, Alissa (a.k.a the Queen of Specs) decided that the folks in Chicago deserve glasses that have some personality!
Since Alissa was a kid, she wanted to start her own business. She had lemonade stands, worked in retail starting at 4 years old in her grandparents’ lamp store and earned an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis. Alissa’s parents’ design background guided her interests towards well-designed and beautiful objects. The Queen of Specs wore glasses since the age of 12, and always helped her friends pick out their specs. One day, it finally dawned on her … she would love to have an eyeglass shop and fit people with spectacular specs.
So, the path was decided, but first the Queen of Specs needed some optical experience. Living in Louisville, KY, Alissa had a full-time job, but worked evenings and weekends at an optical shop to learn all she could. At the same time, she began to study for the national opticianry exam and to write her business plan. Obviously, the Queen of Specs was single and had plenty of time on her hands!
As Alissa was applying for a volunteer trip to provide eyeglasses to the under-served, everything came together. She was approved for a loan backed by the SBA and signed a lease for our current space in Lakeview! What a relief. The volunteer trip was rewarding, a ton of work and great preparation for opening Eye Spy Optical.
When the trip was over, the Queen of Specs came back to Chicago to start Eye Spy Optical. That was in August of 1998…over 15 years ago!
An Eye-Opening Experience
We pride ourselves in outfitting customers with frames that are bit out-of-the-ordinary. Many of our customers say that they are surprised at what eyeglasses we choose for them. We always hear how much our customers love their new glasses, how many compliments they receive, how much fun they had picking out frames…and how they will return to Eye Spy again and again!
We stock frames in every color of the rainbow, and sell more red and purple glasses than black glasses. We also do a ton of special orders, so if you are looking for something specific or more sedate, we can help you find it. We have spectacular specs and shades for men, women and kids.
At the end of the day, we want to make sure that our customers can see well, look fabulous, and feel great in their glasses. How do we achieve this?
Eye Spy Optical offers personalized fittings, “Try-before-you-buy” digital photos of you in your glasses, expert advice, comprehensive eye exams and contact lens fittings, and honest opinions…about anything and everything!! If you let us guide you and listen to our opinions, it will be easy to decide on your new pair of simply spectacular specs. We promise.
Besides looking fabulous, we want you to feel comfortable in your glasses. We offer the latest and greatest in free-form thin lenses, digital progressive lens design, anti-reflective coating, polarized sun lenses and any tint imaginable. Why compromise on lenses in a spectacular frame?
At Eye Spy Optical, we enjoy helping you find the perfect pair of specs that you will want to wear in public. And who knows, you might actually pitch your contacts! So, grab a cup of coffee and smiley-face cookie from Dinkel’s across the street, and get ready for an eye-opening experience!
Eye Spy the Difference
What makes Eye Spy different from all the other shops in Chicago…and the U.S. for that matter? Three things: our frames, our lenses, and our service.Our Frames:
All of our frames are handmade and designed by small independent companies, most family-owned. These designers create new styles and colors throughout the year, similar to the fashion industry. As a result, the styles are timeless, different, and unique…as well as durable and comfortable. We travel to New York and Paris (poor us!) every year to the optical trade shows. When we see a new line we like, we look at it for a couple of years to see how the designs evolve. If we love it, you will see it in the store!Our Lenses:
There are thousands of lens designs on the market, and we only use the very best. We do not like to compromise our customers’ vision. We have many customers that come to us specifically for our lenses. When digital and free-form lenses were introduced to the market, we immediately learned all about these lenses and continue to learn. We have been fitting our customers with the newest lenses on the market over the past few years and have received great responses. Why would you buy old technology to put in a beautiful new frame?Our Service:
What can I say? We go the extra mile. We have customers that keep their glasses for 8 years…others that get a new pair every 3 months. We do not care how often you come into Eye Spy. We treat everyone as a valued customer. If your frame breaks, we can order the parts that you need. We pick out each pair for you to try-on and tell you if it looks good or not. We don’t lie. We want you to look incredible. Really. Come in and find out!
We Love to Hug Trees
When WTTW was looking for tree-hugger for a “Green” segment on Chicago Tonight, they called the Queen of Specs! So, as you can imagine, we have instilled green practices at Eye Spy Optical from day-one.
From printing on the back-sides of used paper; giving used packing materials to neighborhood business; emailing receipts; online order-entry systems; reusing dishes, cups, and silverware; urging vendors to reduce packaging, shipments, paper invoices & faxes; reducing, reusing, recycling & composting; purchasing used furniture, fixtures & office equipment; using cloth towels instead of paper; installing an extra pane of glass, insulation & LED bulbs in our storefront and installing CFL bulbs in-store, we tend to go a bit over-board in our desire to lessen our impact on the planet.
Did we miss anything? Let us know!