Many people aren’t aware that Specsavers stores are part-owned and managed by their own directors. The store in Ashbourne benefits from the leadership of three local directors, whose specialist knowledge and experience have ensured a successful first year of business, which has customer satisfaction at its core.

Local leadership

At the very heart of Specsavers’ success is the ‘partnership’ - a joint venture partnership (JVP) model that enables optical, audiology and retail professionals to run their own store.

However, the secret to the success is the partners themselves and, at Specsavers in Ashbourne, directors Andrew Wells, Uan Gohil and Raj Gohil combine decades of industry experience with home-grown local knowledge and clinical expertise to provide the best possible service to their customers.

‘The Specsavers JVP model allows us to wake up every day and focus on what matters most - looking after our customers and leading our own, chosen team,’ explained Ashbourne’s optometrist director, Andrew. ‘The beauty of the model is that we deliver the day-to-day running of the business while having the support and security of a hugely successful and well-known global brand.

‘This means that we can provide security for our staff and a local, personal touch to our customers while being known for the Specsavers quality of care.’

Developing leaders

Part of this support is ensuring that leadership teams feel equipped and confident in the day-to-day management of their store. Many directors have had a successful career at Specsavers climbing to optometrist or store manager, and the step up to business owner is often a huge leap.

Specsavers offer the ‘Partner in Development Programme’ (PID) to smooth this transition, which takes ambitious, driven professionals and moulds them into competent and confident business owners, ensuring they hit the ground running as a JVP.

‘The PID Programme really ensures that you learn the ropes of running a business before you dive in,’ said Andrew. ‘It’s a fantastic resource for ambitious professionals, as it means that you gain the practical tools to use when owning your business, providing security for your staff and an excellent experience for your customers.’

The perfect blend

Part-owning and directing a business is a tough task, requiring leadership, commercial and clinical expertise. At Specsavers in Ashbourne, the store benefits from a combination of these things from its three directors.

Optometrist director, Andrew Wells BSc (Hons) MSc MCOptom brings more than 25 years’ clinical experience to the store, alongside a Master’s degree in Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences and donating his expertise as an examiner at the College of Optometrists.

Uan has extensive retail business experience, as the retail director of the Derby Intu Centre, Oakwood and Normanton stores and the audiology side of the business, underpinned by a bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Master’s degree in finance.

Raj Gohil also brings decades of experience as director of the Derby Intu Centre, Oakwood, Normanton, Belper and Ripley stores, as well as audiology, with professional accolades including the Fellowship Diploma of the Association of Dispensing Opticians (FADO), membership of the Faculty of Dispensing Opticians and the Contact Lens Certificate of the Association of British Dispensing Opticians.

‘As a leadership team, we have an excellent working relationship and appreciate that each member brings something unique and important to the table,’ explained Andrew. ‘Our combined experience is significant, with the benefit of having specialist clinical and business knowledge.

‘I think what gives us the edge with our customers is that we are all local to the store, and we are providing a service to our own community. It’s important for people to see a friendly, familiar face when they come and see us, and so we also concentrate on recruiting and nurturing local talent. That’s what drives our passion and ensures we are giving the best possible optical care.’

Supported by technology

A key part of Ashbourne’s leadership team’s focus since opening has been on ensuring that locals can access the latest technology at no extra cost.

‘The OCT technology represents a huge investment of around £30,000, which we decided would be a key part of what we could offer customers from the moment we opened our doors,’ said Andrew. ‘This is something we are extremely proud of, as this technology is the latest optical equipment on the market. As directors, it’s important that we support our team’s expertise with the best technology.’

The cutting-edge piece of equipment, usually found in hospital eye departments, is used for a variety of functions including screening and management of conditions such as age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma. The OCT machine produces a structural scan of the eye, including layers of the eye that would not normally be visible using traditional eye testing techniques.

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