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Shop Hartlepool Blog

Welcome to the Shop Hartlepool blog, a great place to find out more about the amazing businesses signed up to Shop Hartlepool.

We want to shout about Hartlepool’s success stories and introduce you to the new kids on the block. You’ll find behind the scenes articles about local businesses alongside regular updates and news from the Shop Hartlepool team. 

We are always looking for great stories, so if you want to to be featured, or know a business who would, get in touch using the button below.   

Local Success Story: Looking to the future

Thomas & Saunders may be a new name on the Hartlepool high street but but the business and people behind it have been serving the people of Hartlepool for many years. 

The practice was established in 1986 by Pagan (Mark Pagan) and McQuade (Gary McQuade), two optometrist friends who founded the company soon after graduating from university. Young idealists, the pair had a vision of opening their own opticians, offering quality optometry services with great customer service. Over the years, the company grew from strength to strength, opening practices throughout Teesside and North Yorkshire. Pagan & McQuade has itself served generations of locals and become a part of the very fabric of the local community. Joanna Thomas joined the Stockton practice in 1996 working as a Dispensing Optician and studying to gain her Contact Lens Optician qualification. She became the manager of the newly opened Darlington practice in 1998, moving to the Hartlepool branch in 2004 where she met optometrist Tony Saunders.

In 2017 Joanna and Tony were approached by Mr McQuade to ask if they would be interested in taking over the business as he was planning to retire within the next couple of years. It was a monumental decision, but one that could not be missed. ’We have a great team and working relationship and did not want anyone or anything to spoil that. We all look after each other and that is something very special’ The practice was bought by Joanna and Tony October 2019, who decide a name change to Thomas & Saunders Optometrists was the perfect fit.

The name may have changed but their mission remains the same: to offer quality optometry services with great customer care by investing in their people, their technology and their customers. Joanna and Tony’s vision is to promote excellence in eye care and promote eye health in the local community of Hartlepool. Tony is the principle optometrist and he has had the pleasure of looking after several family generations over the years. He is known as a professional who spends the time needed to go the extra mile to ensure good eye health and vision. 

Speaking to Joanna and Tony, you can tell they love what they do. 

“We can really make a difference, not only to a client’s vision but feeling and looking good is a big part of it too.”

Being trusted to look after someone’s eye health is a privilege and many of their customers have become more than that, as long term friendships have built up along the way. 

Some of the questions they are frequently asked include:

– How often should I have an eye test ?

– My eyes feel dry and gritty, what can I do?

– What is the benefit  between the different types of varifocal?

– I don’t know what suits my face shape, can you help?

The team have all been in the practice for a lot of years and have a lot of experience to deal with all questions and concerns. Though there is one question that always makes them giggle…Are you married? Joanna says it’s probably because they work so well together.  

Thomas & Saunders is a great example of a local business helping to build a stronger economy and local community spirit. They are located on your doorstep, making a trip to the optometrist not only easy to access, but good for the environment as they have a smaller carbon footprint. If you are due an eye test soon, why not shop local? 

Thomas & Saunders gave us a few top tips to take care of your eyes

– Protecting your eyes from Uv is important for all ages, good quality sunglasses or having a Uv filter on your prescription glasses is key

– Regular eye tests are important to keep your vision up to date and we can detect any changes in eye health early

– Eating leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale helps to maintain good eye health

– We all have a lot of screen time, taking regular breaks is important to give your eye a rest from looking at a set distance constantly

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