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Family-owned retailer expands vision

Written by ryan. Posted in Uncategorized

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Published on March 08, 2011 with No Comments

by Carl Kurek

Bono, Lance Armstrong, the Terminator – all are famous for their shades. But sunglasses are not made specifically for Irish rock stars, professional bicyclists and human-looking cyborgs, yet these three individuals – whether real or fictional – have made the eyewear famous.

Sunglasses can be specifically used as a fashion accessory, but the fact is they are an important piece of protective eyewear. While they are all made up of basically two lenses held in place by a frame, finding the “perfect” pair of sunglasses may not be so easy.

Until now.

VisionPoint is a family-owned optical retailer that first opened its doors in Valparaiso in 2003. The business soon expanded to Portage, Crown Point, Schererville and LaPorte as it acquired the Eyeglass Emporium chain.

The retailer has always been known for its wide selection of frames that will appeal to every consumer and age group, but now eight years later, the owners of VisionPoint are ready to introduce another one-of-a kind shop to Porter County: SunGlass Point.

The name says it all; SunGlass Point offers more than 600 styles from 30 different brands. From fashion, to sports to everyday needs and even prescription, SunGlass Point aims to be the mecca of sunglasses in Porter County and even all of Northwest Indiana

“It’s a growing trend in the optical field, and a need in our area,” Jennifer Ebersberger, director of finance for VisionPoint and SunGlass Point, said.

“Our goal is to carry a lot of brands, but to carry a lot of products from each brand to give people more options.”

Housing such a wide selection is what makes SunGlass Point unique according to Ebersberger’s sister Amanda Bardoczi, director of operation for the retailer.

“We wanted to give people the ability to find whatever it is they’re looking for,” she said.

“We tried to figure out all of the reasons people would want sunglasses for, and then tried to have a niche for each one. We definitely have a wide variety for all lifestyles.”

Another unique aspect of SunGlass point is that there is no waiting after selecting a pair of shades.

“They’re ready-to-wear. You want them, you buy them and you’re good,” Bardoczi said.

While each VisionPoint location has an independent optometrist on-site to conduct eye exams, Ebersberger and Bardoczi hope to get away from the feel of a doctor’s office with SunGlass Point and adopt more of a “Chicago-ee” feel for the shop.

“There’s going to be a misunderstanding with people thinking we’re doctors here, but we’re just a store,” Bardoczi said. “We just want people to know you don’t have to leave town or travel far to get really great sunglasses.”

The duo love what they do and are proud to be a locally-owned and expanding business, but they are not surprised by their success.

“Honestly, it’s exactly where we should be,” Ebersberger said. “Northwest Indiana has a lot of potential. And if you’re working with family for five days or more every week, you have to love what you’re doing.”

Ebersberger and Bardoczi also want to steer away from having an adults-only atmosphere, and pride themselves on offering brands and products that appeal to teenagers as well. But the pair did more than just choose the merchandise – they designed the entire store.

From the layout to the pictures to the furniture, there is not one thing in the store that Ebersberger or Bardoczi did not pick out.

“This is just who we are,” Ebersberger said. “There is definitely nowhere like this in the area, and now it’s just getting people to know we’re here.”

As part of the effort to gain more public awareness, SunGlass Point will be hosting an open house Friday, March 11 and Saturday, March 12. The two-day celebration will feature a drawing to win a free pair of sunglasses each day as well as door prizes to everyone who visits the store.

All ready-to-wear sunglasses will be $25 off and prescription sunglasses will be $50 off. Visitors will also get to pop a balloon for a chance to earn additional savings. Bardoczi said the fact that sunglasses are not an item that is on sale often makes the event even more special.

Ebersberger and Bardoczi took up the family business in 2005, but their parents got their start in the optical business in 1979. SunGlass Point is located at 2106 N. Calumet Ave. in Valparaiso, right next door to VisionPoint, and is open six days a week.

For more information about VisionPoint or SunGlass Point, call 219-510-5907, visit www.visionpointnwi.com, or find the organization on Facebook.

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