Lifelong residents of northwest Indiana, Atse and Paulette Krstevski have been in the optical industry for 40 years.
Together, they owned and operated 10 Eyeglass Emporium stores for nearly 20 years. During a brief retirement that began when they sold the chain in 1998, they once again saw a need for the personalized services and quality products that only a local, full-service eye care center can provide.
With their daughters Amanda Bardoczi and Jennifer Ebersberger on board, the first “Visibly Distinct” VisionPoint opened in Valparaiso in 2003, and a second location was established in Portage the following year.
“Consumers can get glasses virtually anywhere, but what makes us unique is the fact that our staff and doctors provide an optical service in a fun retail environment,” Jennifer said. ““Ironically, not long after opening VisionPoint, we had the opportunity to buy back and rebrand a number of my parents’ original Eyeglass Emporium locations. As a result, some of our optometrists have been with us for close to 30 years.”
Dr. David Gilmore of the Portage location first joined the Eyeglass Emporium chain in 1983 after working with Atse at Montgomery Wards Optical. Dr. Andy Riggle came to work with the Krstevski's in Valparaiso after graduating from Indiana University School of Optometry in 1987.
In July of 2011, Dr. Rebecca Long became a part of the VisionPoint team in Valparaiso and Portage and another Indiana University School of Optometry grad, Dr. Veronica Molina Ralick joined the team in Schererville, returning home after practicing for nearly a decade in other parts of the country. Most recently, Dr. Gregory Artim began practicing at the Crown Point VisionPoint location last spring.
Today, all five Vision Point locations – Valparaiso, Portage, Schererville, Crown Point and LaPorte - take great pride in offering customers a personalized experience that distinguishes them from major chains and discount giants, while still offering highly competitive prices along with quality and fashion.
You’ll find complete eye care services ranging from comprehensive eye exams, including testing for glaucoma and cataracts, contact lens fittings as well as general eye health and treatment of eye conditions such as dry eye syndrome available at every location. Plus, with one of the largest frame selections in northwest Indiana - from trendy and traditional to budget eye wear and name brand designers – you’re sure to find everything that fits the needs, style and budget for the entire family at VisionPoint.
“Our customers appreciate the fact that we’re in-tune with the local community,” Amanda said. “As a local business, we depend on word of mouth for success, while larger chains depend on their brand name to bring in consumers. This means we’re always striving to provide you with the best possible personalized one-on-one care, while offering you the most unique and unusual brands.”
“We definitely pride ourselves on our unique selection – we carry over 50 different brands and over 1,200 optical frames at each location,” Jennifer added. “Our wide selection allows consumers to find the right glasses they may need for all the various activities they do in their life since there are different ranges of vision for every activity.”
Between all the locations, you’ll find great choices in eyewear, including popular brands such as Nike, Coach, Nicole Miller, True Religion and Oakley, as well as s specialty lines like Silloutte & Koali and jewelry-inspired rimless eyewear by LineArt. Plus, you’ll find a variety of sunglasses that can be made with prescription lenses or worn over contacts. Brands include Oakley, Ray-Ban, Columbia, Brooks Brothers, Coach, Vera Wang, Dana Buchman, Elle and Esprit.
Plus, in response to a growing a need for specialized sun and sports eyewear in Porter County, the Krstevski family introduced a new retail chain of sunglass specialty shops. Based on the overwhelming success of SunGlass Point in Valparaiso, the owners chose to remodel the established Portage VisionPoint location and bring the next SunGlass Point to Portage.
Demonstrating the link between fashion and function, SunGlass Point is where you’ll find “Sunglasses for Every Lifestyle” with up to 600 pairs of sunglasses or sport specific eyewear including ready-to-wear brands such as Oakley, Ray-Ban, Maui Jim, Nike, Wiley X, Coach, Elle and Fendi.
“Our expert staff can help you find the sunglasses you want and need for an upcoming beach vacation, your morning bike ride or playing the outfield,” Amanda explained. “There are even specialty sunglasses available if you want to go for a long ride on your new motorcycle – ‘biker’ sunglasses with removable foam inserts block wind and dust for your comfort. Whatever need you may have, there’s most likely a sun, sport or safety glass solution.”
“The added benefit of coming into one of our stores, VisionPoint or SunGlass Point, is that we can have your eyeglasses and/or sunglasses customized and ready for you the same day or next day in most cases thanks to our in-house labs,” Jennifer added.
While each VisionPoint location has its own unique attributes, it’s truly the people who make the brand strong.
For example, the Valparaiso store is led by Manager Christina Cowen, who has been with VisionPoint for seven years now.
“From the very first day, Christina showed such potential,” Amanda recalled. “She quickly grew from Receptionist to Optician to Lead Optician and was recently promoted to Store Manager. Christina has the ability to remain level-headed in situations that would fluster most others which allows her to make the best decisions for our customers.”
In LaPorte, Dr. Hicks and optician Bobby Komendera bring a combined seventy years of optical experience, and in Schererville, Nancy Hein is an American Board of Opticianry (ABO) certified optician, who has worked at VisionPoint since 2005 and previously with Eyeglass Emporium for many years.
“When you’re a kid, you don’t think you will choose the same career as your parents. But what we realized, as many kids do, the family business is exactly where we want to be and where we belong,” Amanda explained. “Our decision to join the family company is re-affirmed everyday as we work together to reach the same goals. For us this business is very personal, it’s our family brand. Everyday, each of us knows you can’t fail, or you’ll be failing your family.”