UK Enterprise Awards 2021

187 | UK Enterprise Awards 2021 Opticians of the Year 2021 - Hertfordshire Chris Violaris took over GPC opticians in June 2019. He immediately used his 18 years of experience from his previous practice in Barnet to make an impact. Immediate changes started taking place. The clutter of the practice was removed. A new higher pricing structure was instigated with more designer frames and advanced lenses. The team were trained how to deliver value to the clients. This was done through their core values which permeate clearly through the team and the store. Chris runs his practice with a team of dedicated and highly qualified members of staff, making a point of welcoming each patient and ‘tailoring every appointment around specific needs, concerns and requirements of the customer’. Since 2019, Chris Violaris has instilled core values within the team, making his first value to ‘WOW’ the client as it drives the practice forward. GCP creates a family-like atmosphere; discussing the stories behind the practice or the brands they use, offering beverages or simple touches like having flowers around the space. Another important value that Chris entrusts his success to is being passionate and determined, ‘We at GPC are passionate about eyewear, the latest trends and the latest designers. We see and have the latest designs as soon as they come out from our designer brands which include Versace, Longchamp, Carolina Herrera, Armani, Boss, and many more. We are also passionate about giving our clients the best experience by giving them energy, perseverance and a can-do attitude that guarantees perfect glasses.’ Continuing on the GCP values, Chris, shares his third and most important core value. ‘CANI,’ Chris explains, ‘is constant and never-ending improvement. At GPC we know that every interaction with our clients is a chance to improve our interaction. The team is open to growing with regular team meetings, attending conferences and knowing that each mistake is an opportunity to learn and improve. We are obsessed with getting better.’ With all his passion and dedication, his continuous efforts and unlimited supply of positivity, we can see why Chris is one of the best in the industry, but what makes GCP stand out amongst its competitors? Chris replies, ‘Glasses may seem like a commodity but developing a unique eyewear styling consultation has allowed us to differentiate ourselves from our competitors and elevate us to a unique position. Instead of showing our clients hundreds of glasses, we first sit down and have a conversation with our clients. The eyewear styling consultation allows us to narrow down the frame styles to 5 or 6 styles and to sell multiple pairs of glasses for different times and multiple looks. Most clients who have had problems in the past have done so because they have been rushed into a decision, whereas at GPC we slow the process down. This allows a trusted advisor relationship to develop and the sale is made in collaboration with the clients.’ Despite the challenges of Covid-19, GPC has still demonstrated its care for clients. Chris continues, “As we have come through the crisis, we can see clients are willing to spend more on the things they value, such as their vision, but it needs to be done in a friendly, collaborative way. This has increased our focus on bringing more expensive frame brands in store and recommending higher value specialist lenses for driving, computer and sunglasses. As opticians were one of the few places to stay open during the lockdowns, we have tried to make the visit as enjoyable and pleasant as possible. We realised that a visit to the optician can give a much-needed psychological boost and a healthy dose of humanity to many of our clients who may have been shielding or having had a difficult experience.’ Chris explains that his success and practice does so well, not only due to the care he has for the clients but the respect he has for his team, ‘The store team is built around the principle of togetherness, about being selfless and helping each other out. We train our staff to think of themselves as a business family- to respect one another. As members, it’s not always about who is right or who is wrong but what is best for the team. Mistakes do happen and the staff is trained to be accountable and have an honest conversation between themselves and the client. The only caveat is that the conversations have to be positive and we have to learn from them.’ The foundation and the current success of GCP has been one been positive experience, so what of the future of the company? ‘The store has come through the Covid lockdowns and we are looking forward to a busy, thriving town centre once again. I am hoping to refit the store by the year end to a luxury boutique style practice where personal service and great eyewear can thrive together.’ Contact: Chris Violaris Company: GPC Opticians Web Address: Email: Address: GPC Opticians 22 The Forum Stevenage SG1 1EH The only independent opticians in central Stevenage, GPC Opticians gives clients a tailor-made service that provides quality beyond examinations and lenses. We find out more following the firm’s success at the UK Enterprise Awards 2021. May21167