Optician eyes funding for further expansion

A PERFORMING arts optician from Saddleworth has a clear view on growth after paying off its first business loan, more than doubling in size and opening a third location.

Allegro Optical provides bespoke optical examinations and lenses for performing artists, who often experience specialist eye problems due to their craft.

The family business – the only opticians accredited by British Association of Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) – was founded by Sheryl Doe and her husband Stephen Tighe, with the help of £40,000 loan from the Business Enterprise Fund (BEF)

Sheryl and Steve playing Trombone

Now, with more than 6,000 clients and a turnover of almost £600,00 a year, they have opened a new site in Marsden, adding to their offerings in Greenfield and Holmfirth.

“We have also opened our own lab, which will be the only performing arts specialist glazing lab in the UK,” says Sheryl, an optician, cornet, cello and double bass player.

“Word of mouth has certainly spread – we have clients from as far afield as New Zealand and Japan, who have their consultations online, although most of our customers are face-to-face.”

Sheryl and Stephen, a conductor, composer and brass band player, employ 20 staff, most of them also musicians too, and will be recruiting more people over the coming months.

“We are already in discussions around further funding with BEF as there is a real need for musicians to have the right kind of optical care,” says Stephen.

“We are completely unique in that we can provide that care and that is why there is such a growing demand for our service.”

Amy testing Diamond Dac with his guitar

The company works with BAPAM, York University, the Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain as well as the Royal College of Music and has been recognised with awards from the Federation of Small Businesses, as well as being named Dispensing Optician of the year in 2019 and 2021 and Arts and Entertainment Business of the Year in 2019.

“We were delighted to have played a part in the formation and development of this wonderful business,” said Steve Waud of BEF, a not-for-profit lender providing support to small and micro businesses.

“Allegro Optical have identified a real need in the musical community and their growing customer base proves this. The region is lucky to have them as they grow.”

• Find out more about Allegro Optical online: https://allegrooptical.co.uk

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