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The Yankee Express

Charlton Optical’s customer loyalty continues to rise

Feb 09, 2021 10:34AM ● By Janet Stoica

Staff members (L-R): Shelley Smola, Peter Maly, Lynda Schultz, Jayne Deluca, John Verdolino, Dr. Renee Gomez, and April Swanson.

There are approximately 200 optical stores in central Massachusetts, many of which are great places to have your eyes checked, contact lenses ordered, and eyeglasses chosen, but for the last five years, Charlton Optical has stood at the top of the list by being voted Best in Central Mass. by its loyal and happy customers. 

Owner Peter Maly is understandably proud of his professional and customer-focused staff for all that they have accomplished in the areas of eye examinations, contact lens choices, eyeglass frame selection, and their own unique lens grinding lab for customers’ spectacles.

“It’s our customer service,” said Mr. Maly, “along with the longevity of our employees and our old-fashioned values. We want to make sure our customers are happy with our products. We stand behind what we offer our customers and honor all our warranties. Our crew and their personalities are what keeps our clients coming back. It’s the teamwork.”


Charlton Optical also has a new optometrist, Dr. Renee Gomez, who, according to their website, provides primary eye care for all ages, including contact lens examinations and fittings, laser vision consultations, diabetic evaluations, pre-post cataract evaluations and general vision exams. Dr. Gomez is licensed as a Doctor of Optometry in Massachusetts and is a member of the American Optometric Association and the Massachusetts Society of Optometrists. 

“We also have top-of-the-line equipment,” stated Mr. Maly. “We offer Optos Retinal Imaging which captures a 200-degree high-resolution digital image of the retina in a single shot without using eye-drop dilation.” Mr. Maly explained that his company chose to bump out their existing floor plan to accommodate their newest eye examination equipment. 

The shop will be celebrating its 27th year anniversary at the same location this year. “We have a large selection of frames along with our ability to accept most insurances, making us one of the busiest shops around. The other very large advantage that sets us apart from our fellow optical shops is that we grind our own lenses here,” Mr. Maly said.  Charlton Optical also dispenses all major brand contact lenses along with rebates, if applicable.

Mr. Maly and his staff opticians actually create your eyeglasses right on the premises. The process involves blank generic power glass and/or plastic lenses that arrive in one-inch-thick formats. As prescriptions are accepted from customers, he and his fellow opticians use their lab equipment to grind the blanks to the proper power for each individual whether it’s one power, bifocal, trifocal, or progressive lenses. One-stop shopping for sure.

Another interesting facet of this shop is its Chemistre line of sunglasses that includes the insertion of tiny magnets in the upper left and right corners of a customer’s clear spectacles making those specs capable of accepting a flat pair of sunglasses with like magnets.  Once those flat sunglasses are clicked on those tiny magnets, it is impossible to tell the wearer has clip-on sunglasses. 

“We do almost all our own optical work,” Mr. Maly stated, “grinding prescriptions with a computerized edger with most scrips done the same day presented. We also specialize in safety eyewear for companies.”

  Charlton Optical’s customers hail from Massachusetts and Connecticut with their goal of purchasing contact lenses, eyeglasses, and frames--from designer to economy styles. Many of their regulars are local residents, coming from the Brookfields, Quinebaug and Thompson, as well as Webster and Dudley. 

Mr. Maly began his career working at Gentex Optics of Dudley. He so thoroughly enjoyed working in the production area making lenses that he decided to further his education in the lens grinding area. He is certified by the National Contact Lens Examiners, American Board of Opticianry, and the Opticians Association of Massachusetts. 

Their two newest employees are Shelley Smola, a new optician who has been with the group for six months, and April Swanson, who began her career as a technician three months ago. They are also currently seeking another optometrist and a new billing employee.

Charlton Optical is open Monday – Saturday and is located at 109-6 Masonic Home