The owners of Specsavers Haverfordwest have celebrated 15 years in charge of the store.
Andy Britton and Paul Skoczek have been active members of the local community since becoming business partners in 2006 and have seen first-hand how the industry has evolved.
Mr Skoczek is a specially-trained Low Vision Service Wales practitioner and dispensing optician, as well as a previous member of the learning and development department, which earlier this year was recognised as one of the Top 15 Learning Departments in the world.
Haverfordwest residents also benefit from the expertise of Mr Britton, who holds a postgraduate diploma meaning he can directly prescribe medication to his patients, which reduces the number of referrals to GP surgeries and hospitals.
He is also one of only a handful of Welsh optometrists to be named a Fellow of Optometry at the College of Optometrists.
Since the duo took the reins, the Bridge Street store has almost doubled its number of consulting rooms from four to seven, and has a strong team of nine optometrists who are all encouraged to complete higher qualifications and training to ensure the business can deliver the best quality of care seven days a week.
Mr Skoczek says:
‘Staff development and raising professional standards have always been key priorities for us in Haverfordwest. Since 2006, we have seen four members of staff qualify as dispensing opticians and seven members of staff become contact lens opticians.’
Mr Britton adds:
‘When Paul and I first took over the store 15 years ago, the business was very much centered around the provision of glasses and contact lenses. Now, approximately 30 to 40 per cent of appointments made are for enhanced eye care services – taking pressure off both GP’s and hospitals.’
The impact of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has also shaped and reformed the way in which the business operates.
Mr Britton, along with other members of the Haverfordwest team, volunteered to administer the COVID-19 vaccine in Haverfordwest’s vaccination centre after responding to an advert by Optometry Wales, which resulted in them receiving specialist training and an accreditation with Hywel Dda University Health Board.
Mr Britton says:
‘A lot can happen in 15 years, and I am proud to have been able to advance the store during this time in a bid to serve local people. It’s also been important to me to encourage colleagues and young people entering optometry to use their skills and knowledge not only to progress themselves, but also to help others.’
Gifts were handed out to the pair as they celebrated their achievement in store.
Mr Skoczek adds:
‘This year has been testing for everyone in the community, as well as those in business and in healthcare. One of the great things about Haverfordwest is seeing different groups pull together to get through the crisis. It’s been a privilege for me and Andy to play a small part in this and we are very much looking forward to the future.’
Stores in Wales currently remain open for all eye and hearing needs. Specsavers will adhere to each country’s industry guidance if and when changes to local rules are made.
To find out more information, request an appointment or browse the online store, visit: https://www.specsavers.co.uk/stores/haverfordwest.