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Envisioning a community-focused business

30-year optician opens new shop in Peterborough that doesn’t accept insurance

  • Brendan Bohl of Peterborough adjusts a pair of glasses at Visionz, located on Hancock Road in Peterborough. Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Brendan Bohl of Peterborough adjusts a pair of glasses at his optician shop Visionz, located on Hancock Road in Peterborough. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, October 01, 2018 4:57PM

Brendan Bohl likes how immediately he can help people in his job as an optician – those with fading eyesight being able to read again, or children being able to see sharply for the first time.

Bohl has been an optician for nearly 30 years, and last year, was able to finally open his own shop in Peterborough. Bohl sells glasses and can duplicate prescriptions if the current one is still working well for his clients. As an optician, Bohl does not give eye exams, but is able to design, repair, verify and fit eyeglass lenses and frames.

He hopes to also be able to provide an exam room to lease to an optometrist to be able to provide exams within a year.

Bohl doesn’t accept insurance – though those who purchase glasses can still be reimbursed by their insurance company – because it allows him to keep lower costs across the board, he explained in an interview in his Peterborough shop on Wednesday. That makes his glasses more affordable for those without insurance, or whose insurance doesn’t cover the cost of glasses.

“Obviously, I’m in business to make money, otherwise I wouldn’t be in business,” Bohl said. “But for me, I’ve always looked at glasses as something more than just a thing you put on your head. They’re vital to people that need them.”

Which is why Bohl provides twice-monthly free vision screenings, for people to check whether they need to update their prescriptions. And for every five pairs of glasses he sells, he offers one up to a community member in need. The River Center, the ConVal School District and Home Healthcare and Hospice all have the ability to provide vouchers to clients who are in need of a new pair of glasses, but can’t afford them.

Bohl said he and his wife know what it’s like for money to be tight, and when he started his own shop on a minimal budget, he knew he wanted to be able to provide for people who were also feeling a pinch.

Since he opened his shop, he’s given away about a dozen pairs of eyeglasses, he said, including recently to a ConVal High School student who needed an additional pair for school and to a woman who can’t drive without eyeglasses, which was hampering her current job search.

“If you’re going to be part of a community, be part of a community,” Bohl said. “If you take care of the people you serve, they’ll take care of you. This is something I think is just common sense.”

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.