WEST ALEXANDRIA — New optical store Pride Optical has opened in West Alexandria. Not only is the shop a cheaper option to buy prescription glasses, according to owner Stephanie Hassell, but she hopes it becomes a safe space for local LGBTQ+ youth.
The shop officially opened on Feb. 1 and Hassell has since been impressed by how accepting the community has been. So far, the business has been a success.
“Pride Optical is a place to get glasses. It is like a pharmacy for glasses, so you bring your prescriptions or current glasses in. You pick out any frame you want and it takes about a week for the turnaround and I make them here,” Hassell said.
“By coming here you are going to save a couple hundred dollars. First of all, it is small business, not corporate owned. To me, supporting local businesses is a big deal. Secondly, every frame is only $10, so I do not have any hidden costs. All the frames are the same price.”
She does accept insurance, out of network. With most insurance companies, you pay out of pocket and they will reimburse you. She also takes HSA cards.
Hassell herself has been in the glasses business her whole life. Her father owns an optical shop and she helped there, even working there for the last several years while going through schooling. For the past three years, she was searching for a good location. She found that in West Alexandria, where the rent allows her to keep her prices low.
The name is inspired by Hassell herself, who is a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community.
“It is Pride Optical, where you can be proud of who you are. That is what the t-shirts say,” she said. “Anyone is welcome to come here and shop here. If there are young adults or teenagers who are struggling with who they are and don’t have the support system, this is a place where they can come.”
Pride Optical is located 7 East Dayton Street in West Alexandria. Hassell does have an active Facebook (Pride Optical) and a website at pride-optical.business.site. She can be reached at 937-839-7226.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH