When you walk out of Jamie Rose Eyewear in Howard Beach, you are marked by the owner’s brand.
Since one person’s eyes naturally search for their counterpart, the gatekeeper for any first impression will be his glasses. If they don’t look right, not only might you look bad, but so would Jamie DeNaro, who has kept his shop at 156-14 Cross Bay Blvd. open for more than 18 years.
“We try to stress to people, when somebody looks at you for the first time, they aren’t looking at your shoes. They aren’t looking at your designer jacket. They aren’t looking at your three-hundred-dollar pocket book,” DeNaro said. “Where do they look? Your face — our glasses.
“It’s really face jewelry.”
While the business recently finished up a glitzy renovation, expanding the storefront as well as refurbishing the inner sanctum, DeNaro sees many of the same faces. By remaining in the same location, he has handled eyewear needs for fathers and mothers and their sons and daughters. DeNaro even kept the store open during the renovation so his faithful shoppers would not be shut out for any period of time.
The next generation will now reap the benefits of the store upgrades. Sure, the new display cases sparkle, but technological advances like the “optomap” scan could help patrons recognize eye conditions that were nearly undetectable previously. Powered by an Optos machine, DeNaro’s staff doctor can view a 200-degree computer image of the back of the eye, which often hides conditions such as melanoma. And unlike many procedures that dilate the eye, causing a few hours of blurred vision, the optomap can take a picture with a quarter-second of dilation, causing little post-procedure blurriness.
DeNaro is also proud of his $70,000 lens cutter, “the Mercedes Benz” of those machines, he says, helping his staff fill around 25 prescriptions a day. He could have “cheaped out,” getting an inferior piece of equipment for tens of thousands of dollars less, but DeNaro refuses to discount his customers.
Prices remain competitive, though. DeNaro stocks his store with a variety of brands, fitting into the budgets of anyone from the sanitation worker to the Wall Street executive. At the same time, Jamie Rose is the only store in the Howard Beach area which carries Chanel, according to DeNaro, because it passed the eyewear designer’s twice yearly quality inspection.
“Not only do we have a broad selection for everyone’s price appetite,” DeNaro said, “but since we’ve been here so long, you just know where to go.”
Jamie Rose Eyewear is open Monday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.