Following an investment of £900,000, Specsavers Merthyr Tydfil has relocated to Market Square, created five new jobs and welcomed a new director.
New director at the helm
After providing eyecare from 126 High Street for more than 28 years, the optical and audiology business moved to its new 10,000 square foot premises on 29 February.
The move sees the number of test rooms increase from six to nine as well as two soundproofed rooms for its audiology services.
Ophthalmic director, Brian Borland, is joined by new retail director, 36-year-old Richard Dyson as the store opens for business from its new home. Mr Dyson replaces Peter Render, who is stepping down from his role after 16 years.
Mr Dyson brings more than 15 years’ experience with him, having worked for Specsavers since 2005. He has spent the last 10 years as a store director in Cairns, Australia, and relocated to Wales in October.
Richard Dyson says: ‘It’s been a busy time for my family moving from one side of the world to the other, but it’s brilliant to be here and Wales has a special place in our hearts. We wanted to be closer to our families and for them to spend more time with our children as they grow up.
‘It’s an exciting opportunity to join the Merthyr team at such a pivotal time and I feel privileged to be joining a business that offers such high standards of clinical and retail services. The new store will allow the team to take these standards, which our customers have come to know and expect, to an even higher level. I’m very much looking forward to being part of the business’s next chapter.’
Out of this world technology
The investment of nearly £1 million includes state-of-the-art clinical equipment, including two hospital-grade optical coherence tomography (OCT) machines. An OCT machine provides a more detailed scan of the eye than a regular eye test, using light to take more than 1,000 images of the back of the eye including the retina and optic nerve. A layered image is then created to allow an optometrist to view the deeper structures of the eye in more detail than ever before.
An OCT scan can detect eye conditions such as glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration up to four years sooner than a standard eye test.
Brian Borland - who has been ophthalmic director since 2008, but is also a professional advisor to the Welsh Government on policy changes relating to the optical sector - adds: ‘It’s a huge milestone to open the doors of the Market Square store, and, personally, it means a lot to me to continue investing in Merthyr, not just running a business here but creating new jobs opportunities in the community, too. In opening the new store, we’ve increased our employees by 15 per cent, up to a team of 40.
‘We’ve also expanded our hearcare offer by establishing a wax removal service, and created a new lab meaning we can manufacture onsite. Couple this with investment in the impressive optical equipment, I’m confident we have an offer second to none. This is particularly true of the OCT innovation – astronauts have been known to use OCT technology to measure the effect of space travel on the eye and we’ll be using it in Merthyr.
‘Looking ahead, I’m excited to welcome Richard to our talented team and thank Peter for the significant contribution he made to the business’s success leading up to our relocation.’