Partner looks back at P&M success as he heads into retirement
The team at Patrick & Menzies has waved a fond farewell to Andrew Patrick who has retired more than 30 years after he co-founded the business.
Andrew and his business partner Gill Menzies opened the first branch of Patrick & Menzies in Braintree in 1988. They wanted to create an independent optician that put the customer first, and they soon began to see this vision flourish.
Before striking out alone, Andrew had worked for an independent optician which was then taken over by a national chain. He had become frustrated with the limitations this brought, such as only sourcing items from specific suppliers, even if it meant not being able to meet the needs of the patient.
Gill had a similar experience and so together they decided to set up an independent optician that did things differently to the rest.
Andrew said: “We have lots of patients who have been with us since day one, some who we first saw as children who now come in with their own children, which is wonderful.
“Over the years we have been very lucky to have so many fantastic people working with us, many have been with us more than 20 years. We are fiercely independent, and proud to offer something different than the large chains.”
Andrew decided to take retirement to spend more time with his family, in particular his young grandchildren. He is also looking forward to playing some golf and taking part in volunteer work in the great outdoors.
All that will have to wait a while though as on the day of his retirement Andrew injured his back and is now slowly recovering.
One of the things he is looking forward to once he is back on his feet is visiting the newest Patrick & Menzies branch in Manningtree, which opened in September.
“Manningtree is a great location and will fit well with our other branches. Dan and the team have worked really hard to get it up and running and I’m sure it will be a great success,” Andrew added.
Over the years Andrew has worked across the Patrick & Menzies branches, but will be a more familiar face to patients who visited the Braintree practice where he spent much of his time.
“My proudest achievement is helping to create a team of people who enjoy what they are doing, and are brilliant at what they do,” he added. “I will really miss working with them all.”
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Patrick & Menzies celebrates opening of new branch
It’s exciting times for Patrick & Menzies as we celebrate the opening of our fourth North Essex branch.
The new Manningtree branch in the town’s High Street will open its doors to the public on Monday 20th September.
It will make a great addition to our existing branches which are already offering top-class eye care to patients in Braintree, Brightlingsea and Mersea.
We stepped in to take over Manningtree optician Piper and Priem when previous owner Stephen Preim decided to retire.
Over the past few weeks, the practice has had a full refurbishment, including new flooring, wiring and lighting, a lick of paint and a re-equipped consulting room. The selection of frames on offer has been refreshed and some new ranges will be introduced.
Although there is a new look, the branch will open with the same familiar faces, as well as some new optometrists joining the team.
Patrick & Menzies Partner and Dispensing Optician Dan Edwards, said: “As a proudly independent optician Patrick & Menzies has been looking after people’s eyes for more than 30 years. Our professional team always goes the extra mile to take care of our patients and make sure their eyecare is the best it can be.
“We are really excited to be taking on the Manningtree branch, which will offer fantastic service to customers as well as a greater selection of frames. We are delighted that although Stephen Priem is retiring, he will continue to be a familiar face at the branch, working a reduced number of days alongside new optometrists joining the team.”
Due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, Patrick & Menzies still has an appointment-only policy, so please call 01206 392529 to book before visiting the branch.
Find out more about our new Manningtree branch.
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Patrick & Menzies is thinking of you this Christmas
With Christmas fast approaching, Patrick & Menzies has your eyecare in mind. Read on to find out how we can help you to enjoy the festive season.
If a nose pad falls off on Christmas morning, you lose a screw when tucking into your turkey or sit on your specs during the Queen’s speech – fear not, Patrick & Menzies is on hand to help.
Not only is Christmas the season to be jolly, it also seems to be the season where people break their glasses, and so we are primed and ready to carry out repairs.
Our opening hours over the festive season are set out below. If you do have a breakage, just phone your local branch as soon as we are open and we will make arrangements to return your glasses to their full glory.
A great way to avoid the worry of breakages during the festive period – or indeed any time of year – is to invest in a spare pair of glasses. Then, if you lose or break your specs you have another pair to fall back on.
We have a fantastic selection of frames available at prices to suit all budgets. And now you can browse our frames online. Take a look.
If you have an up to date prescription, you just need to give us a call to arrange an appointment to order your spare glasses.
The perfect present
If you are looking for a gift idea that is both practical and indulgent, sunglasses are a great option. We have a wonderful array of sunglasses available – have a browse.
Once you have picked the perfect pair, give your local branch a call, we can even take payment over the phone and send them directly to you.
Best of all we are offering 25% off a selection of non-prescription designer sunglasses until December 24th while stocks last. Take a look at the frames included in the offer.
If you are worried about your vision or have any concerns about your eyes in the run up to Christmas, don’t leave it to the last minute. Understandably appointments are limited at the moment in line with our Covid-secure measures, so contact us as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. You can either book over the phone or book online.
Festive opening times
Our branches are open as usual until 1pm on Christmas Eve. We then reopen at 9am on Tuesday 29th December.
For New Year, we will be closed on 31 December and reopen on Monday 4th January for the start of 2021.
We would like to wish all of our customers a very merry Christmas, and happy New Year. Thank you for your support over what has been a somewhat challenging year for us all.
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Caring for our customers during Covid-19 pandemic
At Patrick & Menzies we care about your vision and your safety.
We have been working hard over the past few months to make sure that we can still offer our usual high level of service to our customers, even though the experience may feel a little different due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Dan Edwards, Patrick & Menzies Partner and Dispensing Optician explained: “Since the middle of March when we started to hear that there may be restrictions placed on optical practices, we were working out what that might mean for us and how we could carry on delivering as complete a service as possible.”
“During the strictest period of lockdown, we were unable to see anyone face to face, but we never actually stopped working. My two business partners and I, plus one other member of staff were able to carry on replacing and repairing glasses, supplying contact lenses, often spending hours collecting and delivering urgent supplies.”
“We also were able to triage and refer emergencies so everyone who needed help got appropriate advice and treatment.”
“We also spent a significant amount of time preparing the practices to be able to see people again. All reception areas are protected by large Perspex screens, information posters, hand sanitizer stations and extra breath guards on some of the instruments have all been fitted” Some of this was particularly hard to source at the time so we want to give a huge thanks to Wolf Eyewear who really came through for us and supplied a lot of the equipment we needed.”
“Since mid-June we have been able to start to see customers back in practice. Anyone who is having problems with their vision, glasses, contact lenses or who is concerned about their eyes is able to come and see us.”
“It is great to be able to welcome our customers back into our practices, although things are slightly different than they were before”
Everything we do now is done by appointment only, this enables us to control the amount of people in the practice at any one time, it also enables us to space out visits to the practice, so we can clean the space, before the next customer arrives.
Eye examinations were always done to appointment, but we are allowing an hour for each examination now, rather than 40 minutes, again to give us time to clean down the instruments, trial lenses and frames, as well as the chairs and surfaces.
One of the best things we have introduced to minimise face to face conversation in what is a relatively small room, was to develop an online questionnaire which we send to every customer before their appointment. This enables us to take – what we call – history and symptoms, before the eye exam, and means the optometrists have prior knowledge of the customer’s needs.
Amongst many, one of the biggest challenges in an opticians is that often people try on many frames before they find their perfect eyewear. This obviously means a lot of cleaning after someone has visited. So we also developed a new section to our website, that enables people to view a large selection of the frames we have in stock, and send us a list of their favourites prior to their appointment. Nothing can really replace a proper spectacle fitting, and you still need to try them on, but it does reduce the amount of handling as we and our customers have a good idea of the frame they like before they see us.
Of course we all look a bit different. We all have appropriate PPE, infection control training and observe social distancing wherever possible. We also require all our customers, unless medically exempt, to wear face coverings as we do have to get quite close.
Our doors at the moment are also locked, again to control the amount and flow of people in the practice at any one time. This is probably the biggest difference for everyone, but our customers have been giving us amazing feedback about how safe an environment it feels. It doesn’t mean we can’t see you and help out, just call ahead, or a gentle tap on the door and we’ll arrange a suitable time to deal with anything you need.
Some of the measures we have introduced were mandated by our regulatory bodies, but others are our own developments to go over and above and give our customers the safest and best experience they could have.
“We really appreciate all of the support our customers have given us over this very difficult time. It is important if you notice a change in your vision or if you have any concerns about your eye health you get it checked out. With all of the new measures in place you can be confident that we will provide you with a high level of service in a safe environment.”
Finally, and most importantly, please do not attend if you feel unwell and have developed any of the symptoms of Covid-19, or if you have been in contact with anyone who has.
Did you know you can browse our extensive range of frames online? Once you have selected the pair – or pairs – you like, with just the click of a button we can have them ready for you to try on when you come in for your appointment.
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