The Optical Outlet
Father-daughter team brings store to Lahaska
A career in education wasn’t the ticket for Neil Kabinoff and his daughter, Jill Paine.
A self-described “physical education teacher by trade,” Kabinoff hasn’t completely shunned the profession, however. He and Paine, who was initially leaning in favor of going into elementary education, are indeed teachers, to a degree.
“We educate people about their eyes; we don’t just sell them glasses,” said Kabinoff, an optician, along with his daughter. “That’s not what it’s about. When they walk out of here, they’re smarter than they were when they walked in. And when you do that for someone who is intelligent, it means a lot to them, it builds trust and it brings them back.”
Kabinoff and Paine opened The Optical Outlet at HollyBerry Square, 5667 York Road, Lahaska, on Jan. 11. Business was good at Rice’s Market, but the father-and-daughter team had a desire to sell to the Bucks County community more than just two days a week (Tuesday and Saturday).
“People have to know we do have a facility that is open five or six days a week,” Kabinoff said. “They can come in any time and get what they need.”
Kabinoff has been in the industry since 1978; Paine’s tenure is a dozen years. Kabinoff has owned the Philadelphia Vision Center since the late 1970s, as well. But it was time to get out of the city, he said.
“This is really a new venture for us coming up into this area,” Kabinoff said. “We’re looking long term. Jill has been going into the city for 12 years; I have been going into the city for 30. It gets tiring. Coming up here is refreshing.
“This area we found is so affluent and the people are so educated, and what makes it work is you have people who are intelligent who may have money, but they watch what they do with their money. They look for good value, and that’s really what this place is all about. It’s about value.”
Not only are customers getting an education when they walk through the door, they’re getting a pair of glasses at unbeatable prices, Kabinoff said.
“We’re very transparent,” Kabinoff said on what separates The Optical Outlet from the big box stores. “Our prices are all posted. We don’t do any bait and switch. We’re very honest. What we saw at Rice’s Market was people were overwhelmed with the selection that we have and they’re more overwhelmed with the prices they are paying.
“We don’t charge for lenses here. We charge an upgrade for progressives of $59 because we have to manufacture those whereas we can purchase single vision lenses with the prescription already in it, so there is no labor involved.”
Kabinoff said The Optical Outlet certainly doesn’t cater exclusively to the super rich. He said the business offers an impressive selection of frames ranging from $39.99 to $89.99. The popular brands are on display, too, and Kabinoff intends to have someone onsite to conduct eye examinations on Thursdays starting in February. Depending on the need, Kabinoff is open to having The Optical Outlet offer exams more frequently. He’s content now to “play it by ear.”
Kabinoff doesn’t desire to give up their spot at Rice’s, either. Kabinoff and Paine are entering their fourth year at the well-known sale and country market.
“We could be here for years,” Kabinoff said of the business’ stay in Bucks. “She (Paine) could be here for years.”
That’s the hope. While Kabinoff’s run in the business will inevitably come to an end at some point, his daughter is looking forward to carrying on the proud tradition of the family’s eyewear enterprise. The Optical Outlet, she said, sells itself.
“I think the biggest thing is there is a level of comfort when you come in here,” Paine said. “Just talking to people, people are so jaded when they come to Rice’s and talk about the experiences that they’ve had, buying eyeglasses. They’ve been jilted. When they come in and see us (Kabinoff and Paine) together and the passion, they become part of our family. They feel that as soon as they come in here, and they start to hear what we have and then they see what we have.”
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