The opening of Lesley Cree Opticians was the realisation of a life-long dream for optometrist Lesley Cree, who calls it ‘one of the best decisions I have ever made’Lesley Cree Opticians was established by optometrist Lesley Cree and opened its doors in July 2012.
Based in Radcliffe-on-Trent, Nottingham, Ms Cree had dreamed of opening her own practice since qualifying in 1987 and after two of her three children had flown the coup for university, she decided that there was no better time to make the transition.
Leaving full time employment at the end of 2011, Ms Cree described the next seven months as “a whirlwind,” during which she developed a business and marketing plan, found premises, secured planning permission, developed a brand identity and website, purchased stock and employed staff.
Recalling this period, Ms Cree said: “It was a very busy time, but it is one of the best decisions that I have ever made. I absolutely love what the team and I have created. Running my own practice never feels like being at work.”
Within the first 12 months of opening, the practice performed 970 eye examinations, and has been growing steadily ever since, reaching 1,079 eye examinations in the 12-month period the following year.
Integrating itself into the community in which it serves has been pivotal to the practice’s success. Occupying a prominent High Street location, Ms Cree explained that “the practice promotes an ‘open-door’ policy whereby everyone is welcome to pop in with any eye-related problem, and they will be helped and advised by a member of our compassionate and caring team.”
Sending out regular information leaflets, newsletters and e-newsletters detailing current eye advice helps promote the practice locally. Paired with Ms Cree attending schools in the area to talk about Going to the opticians, and regularly writing for a local magazine, this helps it maintain its profile in the community.
When asked what Lesley Cree Opticians’ there best qualities are, Ms Cree credits her staff, time and stock.
She explained: “The most valuable asset to delivering excellent patient care is our staff. We ask patients to complete a feedback form and the fact we provide ‘a welcome and relaxed atmosphere, provided by genuinely interested and helpful staff,’ is the most regularly occurring feedback we receive and often is top of the comments box.”
Runners up: Planit Opticians and Yorkshire Eyewear