20 years? How could that be possible? When Mike and I opened Eclectic Eye in the fall of 2002, we couldn’t imagine a year later, much less 20. In the late ’90s and early ’00s, we were both working full-time and parenting two small, hilarious offspring. We dreamed about building a business to service our beloved Midtown Memphis.
We had grown up with the outrageously entertaining Overton Square of the 1970s. Our formative years were spent cavorting through a magical Overton Park, the surrounding neighborhoods, and a then-deserted Downtown. We met at Central High School in the ’80s, which deepened our love for our diverse, wonderful community. We blindly believed that if we built a business in Midtown, people would come. Traditional commercial real estate agents told us we would fail in Midtown. They were wrong.
When I consider what helps Eclectic Eye succeed, the answer is simple – relationships. For two decades now, we have been incredibly fortunate to work with a beautiful, ever-changing, and ever-evolving group of humans whom we are thankful to call our “team.” (Though we could just as easily call them our family.) We have been willing to learn, grow, fight, and recalibrate in ways that have built a sense of respect and trust with each other. It is an ongoing, humbling task.
Whether it’s the eyewear or eye care that initially brought them to our door, our customers, have been willing to ride the roller coaster with us. They have been the key to everything. We have made plenty of mistakes on this journey. By learning from our own failures, we have built a legendary, devoted customer base that we work hard for every day.
It takes a collaborative approach to nurture all of the relationships required to make Eclectic Eye run. The relationships we have built with our frame vendors and reps, computer services company, and advertising teams are just a few of the important groups invested in our success – and help us maintain a clear vision of our future.
I think one reason Eclectic Eye continues to shine is because we choose to support Memphis – and she continues to reciprocate. Her flaws can be a barrier to entry for many. Mike and I have refused to allow that to be the story of our businesses. Eclectic Eye continues to exist as a beacon of hope through the relationships we hold most dear to us.
We have witnessed gentle and positive steps forward during our 20 years in Midtown. It’s an exciting time to exist in our little corner of the Cooper Connector. And we can’t wait to see what the next 20 look like.
Thank you for being a part of our story. We invite you to celebrate 20 wonderful years with us during the 2023 Annual Sale, beginning Monday, February 20, through Saturday, February 25. For each frame sold during the sale, we will donate $5.00 to Kindred Place on behalf of our customers.
We hope to see you there.
We’ve shared how our community and customers have shaped and enhanced our vision for Eclectic Eye. Share your favorite experiences and stories about Eclectic Eye throughout the past 20 years here.
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