Optician sees things clearly when it comes to glasses
Optician, Kevin Count (left) and his customer, Gary Radtke, discuss Radtke's glasses. | Jackie Pilossoph~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 20, 2012 11:32AM
GLENVIEW — Kevin Count admits he was never a good student.
In fact, when he was in high school, he sought out a work program so that he could spend less time in the classroom, and more time outside of school. His job? He began selling eyewear at a store that eventually became Pearl Vision. It was a job that turned into a 24 year career.
“Optics came very easy to me,” said Count, who is now one of two opticians in Illinois to be a certified American Board of Opticians Master. “It was just such a natural fit. Everything in the field came easy to me.”
Count is the owner of Corner Optical, located in downtown Glenview. The business, which he opened in 2009 carries eyeglasses, sunglasses and contact lenses, and employs Optometrist Michael Spiegel part time to give eye exams and write prescriptions for customers.
Count also has a wholesale lab where he manufactures glasses, sunglasses and lenses, and sells them to optometrists in the area. He said he gets a lot of business because of his status as a master optician, a certification that is only held by 240 opticians in the country.
In the store, Count carries his designs, as well as other unique designer brands.
“I carry frames that people don’t hear about,” said Count, who worked at various private practices throughout his career, including 10 years at a practice in Northbrook before opening his business, “I want to be unique and have a higher level quality of product.”
Luxottica Group manufactures almost every recognizable brand name in glasses and sunglasses, with license brands that include Burberry, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, DKNY, Prada, and Ralph Lauren. Count said he has no interest in carrying these brands because he doesn’t want to carry the brands everyone else carries.
Gary Radtke is a manager for Clavey Auto Service in Glenview, and is a customer of Corner Optical. He said so much of his job requires working on a computer, and if his glasses aren’t working properly, he can’t work.
“You need someone who is well trained in what they’re doing, and Kevin is,” said Radtke, who recently brought his glasses in to be fixed, “When I initially bought these glasses, Kevin showed me lots of different choices and I selected what I liked.”
Glasses and sunglasses at Corner Optical range from $75 to $800, the average about $160.
“You can buy glasses for $15 from Walgreens, but there are so many differences,” Count said, “There’s no adjustable frame, and the lenses are a one size fits most versus a customized product.”
When helping customers choose frames, Count said everyone wants to know the same thing.
“They ask me, ‘What’s the shape of my face?’ and I tell them, ‘Don’t think about shape,’” he said, “Look at two parts of your face. Look at your jaw line. Is it square or pointed? You want the bottom of your frame to be opposite of your jaw line. And secondly, you want the top of your frame to echo the shape of your brow.”
Count said often times he feels like a fashion consultant because he and his customers start talking about colors and their wardrobe and what glasses to wear with what outfits.
“Kevin educates you and he’s happy to share information with you,” said customer, Dan Tamburich, “The experience was excellent.”
When asked what his favorite part of the job is, Count shared a story.
“A young child, about three years old came in with his father. The parents were uneasy and the prescription was quite thick. When I put the glasses on the child, it was obvious how well he could see. He reached out and touched his father for the first time. In that moment, a bond was built and I got to see it.”