By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
WorcesterMagay & Barron Eye Center has been in business since the horse-and- buggy days, but the eyeglasses it sells are 21st-century in frame designs and lens technology and can even be environmentally friendly.
“We seek out ‘green’ products whenever possible, including frames made from cotton-based plastics rather than petroleum-based plastics,” some with bamboo or wood trim, said Jim Magay, a licensed optician who has continued the business started by his grandfather in 1912 and passed down to his father.
“We also try to buy frames and materials made in the U.S., though there are not as many companies here as there used to be,” he said. The optical shop carries a line of sunglasses frames that can be used for prescription or non-prescriptions lenses from a firm in Randolph, one of the few left in southeastern Massachusetts.
Magay and his wife, Eddi, office manager and a color specialist who advises customers on frame styles, pointed out that they have “recycled” a building, saving a 120-year-old home on Lincoln Street from demolition to become their retail store, with two apartments upstairs. Jim also still uses his grandfather’s workbench.
The home they built 40 years ago is environmentally friendly as well, with passive solar heat, and they are dedicated recyclers and composters.
The Magays are on the cutting edge, however, when it comes to design and technology. New technology to measure facial structure allows a better fit, and digitally-surfaced lenses provide greater accuracy, a larger intermediate-reading zone for progressive lenses, and better vision for reading handheld electronic devices, as well as thinner, lighter lenses for some prescriptions.
They attend trade shows and visit frame designers around the world to be certain their frame selection offers the latest styles and colors, as well as the traditional styles.
“Color in frames is really important now, even for men’s frames,” Eddi said, picking up a gunmetal gray frame accented with burnt orange temple pieces and a more traditional tortoise shell style with deep red on the inside of the temple pieces. “Depending on their occupation, more and more men are wearing color.”
For women, the styles run from bold to bright to whimsical.
“Color is definitely in,” she noted, showing a frames with plaid fabric embedded in the plastic, with diagonal stripes in orange, red, yellow and black, and a fanciful frame with one round lens and one square lens.
“There are shapes and styles for everyone, depending on a person’s style and the requirement of their prescription,” she said. Some women want several pairs of glasses, for casual wear and for dressier looks, “like shoes.”
The Magays can help a customer sort through the wide selection available, bringing a few samples at a time based on their experienced assessment of what looks good on different faces. They have developed such strong relationships with customers over the years that Jim noted sometimes they buy a frame at a trade show with a specific customer in mind, and have even picked out frames and made glasses for customers who have moved without an in-person visit.
Magay & Barron offers gift certificates for the holidays. Eddi pointed out the gift certificates can be used for a second pair, prescription sunglasses or maybe frames designed for a specific purpose such as wearing under a motorcycle or ski helmet.
Dr. John Dadah, an optometrist, sees patients at Magay & Barron and offers complete eye care services. Magay fills eyeglasses prescriptions from him and from other providers.
Magay & Barron is located at 460 Lincoln St. in Worcester, just off I-290. The store is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and until 7 p.m. Wednesday, and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is closed Sunday and Monday. For additional information, see the website at www.magay.com or call 508-852-3760.
Editor’s Note: The preceding is not an endorsement and is presented for informational purposes only.