Local Stories

Jenny and Ashley, Owners, Eyecare Plus

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Jenny and Ashley have been the Clarence Valley’s go-to for all your eyecare needs since they started Eyecare Plus back in 2007. Although they’ve been serving their locals for 13 years, they have an even longer history in their local community, as their partner George has been providing eyecare in the Clarence Valley for nearly 30 years.

As the Valley’s population has grown, so has the business, and they now have clinics in three locations, Yamba, Grafton, and Maclean. Business has boomed so much recently that Jenny and Ashley have had to move all their locations into larger premises to cope with the ever-increasing demand for eyecare. They were thrilled with their latest move back into 2018, as they moved their Maclean practice into the historic Blairs building located on Maclean’s main street. They love working in the old building, and the original moulded ceiling and fireplace make for a lovely workplace.

The outset of COVID-19 meant that Jenny and Ashley were limited to providing emergency eyecare only. This was tough for the store, as they knew they could do more than just seeing patients with eye injuries and infections, but they knew they were making a difference in their local community just by being there to help. They know the feeling all too well, as they’d barely recovered from the fires last year, where five of their staff nearly lost their homes, and then COVID hit.

Thankfully, they’ve been able to open doors fully since, albeit with strict hygiene procedures, but their staff don’t mind wearing facemasks and constantly disinfecting their surfaces. Their biggest challenge was figuring out how their customers could wear face masks with their glasses without them fogging up! But on the whole, Clarence Valley locals have been deeply appreciative of the extra measures, and have been more than happy to support them.

The team knows the importance of their local community, and they love the feeling of being able to help out when they’re suffering. When the bushfires devastated the Valley they were there to provide glasses to volunteer firefighters who lost their glasses, and their Grafton location is a big supporter of Vision Australia, which provides free glasses to low income earners who can’t afford eyecare.

As a small business they’re better able to adapt to tough circumstances and change than other larger companies, just like so many other Australian small businesses. Even better, since they’ve been embedded in the fabric of their local community for so long now, they know their customers (Jenny calls them friends) and their needs better than anyone. Their local community is so supportive of small business, and they do their best to improve the lives of their locals as best as they can.

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