BRATTLEBORO >> A local eye care center is ready to take on more patients.
Brattleboro Family Eye Care's building at 328 Western Ave. was brought out approximately 140 or 150 square feet. Construction was completed two weeks ago.
"We are capable now of doing more business than before," said Laura V. Fidler, an optometric technician. "And we have this new doctor. Well, he's not new. He's new to us."
Brattleboro Family Eye Care is having an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday. Door prizes will be given out, hors d-ouevers will be served and attendees will have the chance to win a pair of glasses.
The public is also invited to check out the new building expansion and newly available eye glass brands. The newest member of the team, Dr. Nathan Stocke, will be there too.
Patients were very understanding throughout the construction project, according to Fidler. She said patients stuck it out while walls were shaking and dust was falling. Hammers and saws could be heard during visits.
During the open house event, a doctor will be conducting refraction tests for those who do not yet have a prescription.
"We're the only practice in the area that makes glasses," Fidler noted. "We had a much smaller lab so this expansion will be better for that."
A trained team of three staff members cranks out five or six pairs of glasses each day but say they can do a lot more. Each pair takes 15 to 20 minutes to make.
Fidler said some of the newly available glasses are on the "high end," including Jimmy Choo and other designer brands.
"Everything we offer tends to be made by small production," she said. "A lot of lines are made in Italy. They're not mass produced. They're very good quality and nicely designed."
The practice moved to Western Avenue approximately 12 years ago. A previous renovation saw one exam lane increased to three. Office space downstairs was also fixed up, but Fidler said patients don't go down there.
"This was the first big public expansion," she said. "We are very busy all the time. We are booked out usually weeks in advance, which isn't bad. It's a good thing. But it means that we are busy. So we wanted to offer more space for us to work in and for patients to have a better selection."
Stocke owns a practice in Burlington but makes the drive to Brattleboro two days a week. He began at Brattleboro Family Eye Care back in July. He earned a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Kentucky, located in the same state where he grew up. He went on to receive a doctoral degree from Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tenn.
Stocke has treated ocular disease and children's vision, and has experience in contact lens fitting and evaluation. Also, he has helped in co-managing eye surgeries.