After years of working on the manufacturing side of the optical industry, Wick Morgan opened his optical shop, The Spectacle, in the Lassiter District of North Hills 10 years ago. Along with licensed optician Gregor Owen, Wick has been helping Raleigh residents see better and look great ever since.
North Hills Live: Why did you open The Spectacle?
Wick Morgan: I moved to Raleigh to raise my son, and I opened the shop to focus on customer service and exposing my clients to some of the best brands out there. My job is to introduce customers to extraordinary eyewear designers and help them find frames that work.
NHL: Wick is known for his almost uncanny ability to fit customers in the perfect frame—sometimes with the first pair suggested. How does he do it?
WM: It helps that I have a good eye, but also, I have years of experience. I also stock glasses for a variety of faces and personalities. I go through collections of eyewear and edit them down to what’s the very best. Sometimes I will jokingly tell my customers, “I bought these glasses for you—I just hadn’t met you yet!”
NHL: What do you enjoy about your job?
WM: Working with the customer to ensure their vision is perfect and that their frame is perfect. It’s something I absolutely love. It’s enjoyable to look for frames that are unusual but wearable. There are some frames that are too much for daily wear, but can be perfect in certain circumstances. Eyeglasses are like shoes—we have both high heels and flats in our wardrobe.
NHL: Why was North Hills the right location for The Spectacle?
WM: It’s a great cross section of Raleigh, and it’s in the middle of everything. I like the accessibility, and I am not a mall guy. Outdoor developments like North Hills are a little quieter and more attractive than malls.
NHL: What is the price range on frames at The Spectacle?
WM: I have frames that sell for $165 a pair to $1,000—so really there is something for everyone.
NHL: What makes The Spectacle different from other optical shops in Raleigh?
WM: I don’t compete. Instead, I focus on what I do in my store. If I lose a sale, it’s because I didn’t do my job. It is very important that the people’s vision and the frame’s style is amazing. The philosophy of the store is to do it right. I want to bump into you and you say you love my glasses. Adversely, if someone is having a problem with their glasses, that keeps me up at night. Because I am such a small shop, I am invested in customers in a way that others are not.
NHL: What advice do you have about shopping for eyewear?
WM: Take your time. You want to find something you will enjoy wearing for years.
NHL: What are current trends in eyewear?
WM: Gorgeous glasses are always gorgeous glasses. Trends are things that tend to come and go. Eyewear lasts too long for trends. You cannot buy a prescription pair of glasses you intend to wear for three years based on a summer trend. We are transcending trends.
NHL: How has the eyewear market changed since you opened The Spectacle 10 years ago?
WM: I have seen eyewear go from being a necessity to being an accessory. Americans have adopted the European model of having three and four pairs of glasses. There are people who have come in and bought glasses who don’t have prescription in them. I never saw that 10 years ago.
NHL: How do your customers learn about your store?
WM: Word of mouth. Person to person. If you take care of someone, and you treat them properly, they will tell 10 of their closest friends that they had a great experience.
NHL: What do you do in your free time?
WM: My kids are what I get a kick out of, and why I moved here. Most of my hobbies are represented in my store—motorcycles, surfing, skiing.
NHL: How do you want clients to feel when they enter your store?
WM: My store is an extension of myself. I consider my store to be my own personal living room, and if you want to hang out you can, and if you want to talk about glasses, well, I have those too.