From the 1970′s til the present, Ferreira Optical has stood as a pioneer in quality service to our clients.
Ferreira Optical Limited (FOL) started out on September 1st, 1973 on Oxford Street in Port of Spain, with a small optical dispensary and laboratory, and four employees. The business grew rapidly, and within a year, Neal & Massy and two other investors were invited to participate with three major shareholders each having 30% interest in the company. It was at this time, that the business was relocated and expanded at 94a Frederick Street.
From early on Ferreira Optical established a reputation for quality products, workmanship and a high level of customer service.
Up until 1978, FOL consisted primarily of optical dispensaries providing spectacles and lenses and wholesale laboratory services. It was dependent on prescriptions from independent Ophthalmologists. To eliminate this dependency, the company’s services were expanded to full optometric services with the employment of optometrists and the acquisition of the necessary equipment. Due to a nationwide shortage of professionals, FOL has been providing scholarships to quite a number of local Optometry and Opticianry students.
As the company outgrew its facilities, it continued to expand and opened the following locations:
- (1980) Long Circular Mall
- (1983) Colsort Place
- (1983) Tobago
In 1986, Mervyn Ferreira retired as Managing Director and remained as Chairman with his son Colin succeeding him as C.E.O. In 1988, the opportunity arose to reacquire 100 percent ownership of the company. There was considerable risk in light of the deep economic recession but the Ferreiras made the decision to purchase all stock from its other shareholders.
As we entered the nineties, there was a boom in competition with a number of new optical companies opening. This spurred the company to action to define its market focus and to open additional branches in:
- (1990) Chaguanas
- (1994) Gulf City Shopping Complex
Both of which continue to thrive today.
In 1997, realizing that customer service will always be its primary goal Ferreira Optical took its customer service training to another level by developing an employee training programme called Effective Quality Customer Service (EQCS). In this programme, customer service standards are defined from a customer’s perspective, staff are trained and monitored in their delivery of customer service, and are then evaluated periodically by their peers, supervisor and head office personnel. The standard for achievement is a score of 90%. This program continues to play a key role in providing a more consistent level of customer service at all locations thereby differentiating Ferreira Optical from its competitors.
In 2003, expansion continued with the opening of the Trincity Mall branch. In 2006, after twenty years of managing the day to day operations, Colin Ferreira took a bold step and resigned as CEO to emigrated to the USA, his wife’s native land, in order to better home-school their children (something they are committed to doing) and take advantage of the strong support available there for home-schooling.
Such a major shift was possible due to the strong culture of trust and shared values within the senior management team and the delegation style of management that already existed. Sean Francis was promoted from the Chief Operating Offer to his present position of CEO. He holds the same strong spiritual and corporate values as the company’s previous executive leaders and with his MBA degree and unique strengths, continues to provide the necessary leadership for the challenges of the times.
With internet technology as it is today, Colin Ferreira continues to be very involved as a key member of the company’s Strategic Management Committee whose purpose and objective is to assist the board in steering the strategic direction of the company in a more detailed way. The committee which meets monthly via Skype (since it has two foreign based directors) comprises of Colin Ferreira (Director/ Sole Shareholder), Sean Francis (Director/CEO), Mark Teelucksingh (Director: Finance & Administration), Robert Fullerton (Director) and Michelle De Leon-Thomas (Senior Manager – Operations).
In December 2006, the company, experiencing a growing demand for high-end products opened Optique – a high end boutique shop in the West Mall. The branch was marketed and branded separately from the Ferreira Optical chain, targeting high income customers with a unique and mostly exclusive product mix. Frames made from wood, gold and precious jewels were sold at this location. In the beginning, the branch showed promise but fell short of expectation with the economic downturn that began in 2008. The branch was closed in 2010 and the resources were employed to more profitable endeavours.
After 37 years of maintaining the market leadership position, Ferreira Optical continues to grow. The company’s ability to leverage its years of experience and value system to constantly evolve is key to its continued success.
With customer focus always at the forefront of its initiatives, Ferreira Optical went a step further to develop its own line of Designer eyewear – Emmanuel Nissi – designed specifically for Caribbean people and distributed exclusively at all its branches.
The company continues to remain fluid, adapting itself to an environment of constant change. This is reflected in the present revision of the company’s logo and redesign of its stores. As part of these developments, Ferreira has revolutionised the merchandising of frames with the focus on lifestyle. It has also established its own Sunglasses shop called Solaris using the ‘store within a store’ premise to feature its large portfolio of brands. This process is ongoing and expected to be completed in 2012.
The business now consists of seven retail locations throughout Trinidad and Tobago with full optometric and dispensing facilities, a laboratory and head office with a total of approximately 160 employees.