The team at Blackwood are celebrating the long service of their two directors, Jonathan Evans and Vincent Welsh, who joined the High Street store 20 years ago.
Abergavenny-born Mr Evans, 53, first joined the business as a dispensing optician after graduating from Cardiff University. Four years later, he completed the Specsavers’ pathway programme, a course that allows members of staff to work their way up to director level. He has since held this position for more than 16 years.
Meanwhile, Mr Welsh took his first role at the store as a trainee lab technician, without any prior experience in optics, when he was 19 years old. After three years working in the lab, he completed a dispensing optician course before becoming store manager in 2011 and progressing to director in 2016.
Since joining the store, which opened in 1992, the duo have seen the number of test rooms increase from two to five, while staff levels have tripled – from eight to 24. In addition, the store has continually invested in state-of-the-art equipment, as well as an audiology centre.
Mr Welsh says: ‘When I began my career in Specsavers in 1998, the thought that I would still be where it all began 20 years later, let alone a joint owner of the store, never crossed my mind. The support and guidance I have received from my colleagues over the years has been phenomenal, I can’t thank them enough.
‘As someone who grew up in Blackwood, playing for the local rugby team, I’m passionate about having a positive role in my local community. Since becoming director, every decision that Jonathan and I have made aims to put the community and our loyal customers first.’
Mr Evans adds: ‘It’s been fantastic to see this store develop over the last 20 years and I have enjoyed being able to help make this an opticians that Blackwood residents can be proud of.
‘We’ve seen significant growth in both staffing levels and store size since Vincent and I took the helm, and our continued success is a testament to the hardworking ethos that all of our staff follow.’