Looking Back at 2016
2016 has been a funny old year, Brexit, Trump and a whole host of iconic people meeting their maker. This recreated Sgt Pepper image pretty much sums it up, created by twitter user @Christthebarker.
For Valli Opticians, 2016 didn’t get off to the best of starts with the aftermath of the Boxing Day floods which saw our beautiful new practice in Hebden Bridge closed for almost 6 months. The devastating floods destroyed many homes and businesses in the Yorkshire town of Hebden Bridge including our flagship practice which had only been open since June 2015.
In February we did some work in conjunction with The Wellspring in Stockport which is a charity that supports homeless and disadvantaged people within the Stockport area. These people are often forgotten about, especially when it comes to things like eye care and the provision of spectacles. Our practice in Stockport, Aarons Opticians held a special clinic and provided free spectacles and really helped make a difference.
Many of our practices took part in the Dementia UK ‘make time for a cuppa’ event to raise funds and awareness. The tea & coffee flowed and many of the practices looked as though they were hosting this years Great British Bake Off with the vast array of baked goodies in store!
We also had an exciting trip to Milan in March to one of the largest Optical trade events in Europe, Mido. It was great to view some of the new spectacle ranges available and also make new supplier contacts.
In April we hit the headlines with an article about eye wear provision for musicians which is something we specialise in at Valli Opticians. Professor David Baker, an accomplished concert organist and professional musician came to us as he was struggling to read the music at various distances. We were able to modify the distance and near prescriptions to take into account the different reading distances. When he collected his new spectacles he was immediately delighted with them and he was able to focus easily when moving his gaze from near to far and vice versa, overcoming the problems he had previously encountered. Professor Baker said “I have been delighted with my new glasses. Being able to see the conductor and the music properly has made such a difference to my life as a professional musician. I heartily recommend this solution to fellow performers.”
We were so pleased this month when our dear colleague and friend, Kamal Aftab won the Courage Award at the Huddersfield Examiner Pride of Huddersfield Awards. Kamal always did so much for the community and raised large amounts for charity, even after his passing in 2015 his legacy continues.
May also saw the Hebden Bridge practice beginning to take shape again and we finally reopened on Tuesday 31st May. The new look practice was better than ever and had a fresh new range of frames including the iconic brands RayBan and Oakley.
In June we completed a refurbishment of our practice in Almondbury, remodeling the layout and refreshing the decor. The practice now has a fresh modern look and we have been welcoming patients both old and new since reopening.
Wakefield branch enjoyed an evening at the Wakefield Business Awards after they were shortlisted for a Customer Service award.
July we introduced a Colorimeter to our L Mitchell of Hyde practice and began offering precision tinted spectacles to sufferers of visual stress and dyslexia.
In Hull our cleaner, Joyce became something of a minor celebrity hitting the headlines and creating a buzz on our social media sites, at the grand age of 86 she makes sure our practice in Hull is spic and span.
August saw the return of Rachel Valli to the business. Rachel co-founded Valli Opticians with Moin in 2005 but took time out in 2009 to start a family. Three children later she decided it was time to come back to work part-time as the Marketing & Social Media director. It is a role that she finds exciting and she is able to explore her creative side and implement new ideas to the business.
We were jet-setting again in September to another Optical trade event, this time in Paris where we attended Silmo. We saw some amazing new innovative technology which we are keen to launch in our practices in the near future.
We also announced that we would be proud sponsors of Honley FC for this season and we will be sponsoring the new kit.
In October we were travelling again, this time to Hungary to the Coopervision Headquarters for the launch of an innovative new contact lens which helps people with digital fatigue. We had the opportunity to explore the beautiful city of Budapest and also take a tour around the Coopervision manufacturing site to see how contact lenses are made.
Awards were on the agenda again at the beginning of November, this time we were shortlisted for Business of the Year at the Huddersifeld Examiner Business Awards. We didn’t claim the top prize but were delighted to have been shortlisted alongside some prestigious local businesses.
Another event on our social calendar was this years Brass Factor competition which we have gladly sponsored for the last 2 years. This Brass Band competition offers a modern twist on the usual band competitions and we had a fantastic evening listening to the bands compete.
We started off December with our staff Christmas party and annual Valli Staff Awards where we recognise and reward our hardworking team. This event was held at Berties in Elland and was kindly sponsored by our suppliers, Hoya, Coopervision & Dunelm.
Award winners of the night were;
Tracey Eastwood, Hebden Bridge – Dispense of the Year
Valli Opticians Lockwood / Meltham (team award) – Customer Service of the Year
Emma Fortune, Birchwood – Best Newcomer of the Year
Eleanor Swystun, Wakefield – Kamal Aftab Professional Excellence Award
Maghull Eye Centre – Branch of the Year
Sarah Metcalfe – Employee of the Year
Well done to all the winners and nominees!
On Friday 16th December many of our practices took part in Christmas Jumper Day for Save the Children. Everyone entered in the the festive spirit and one branch even roped in the postman for a festive photo!
As 2016 draws to a close we are grateful to have so many wonderful patients who continue to support us and also a fantastic team of people who work for us and make The Valli Group of Opticians what it is today. We started 2016 having just recently acquired the Mertons group of seven practices across the North West and we have worked hard this year to unite the two groups and move forward together as one of the leading independent optical groups in the UK. We look forward to what 2017 will bring and have some exciting projects in the pipeline.
Valli Opticians – See Things Differently