One of Perth’s longest-standing independent businesses, Salmoni’s Optician, has marked their 50th anniversary with the completion of an ambitious £1.4 million city centre investment.
Transforming the former Clydesdale Bank headquarters in South Methven Street into a cutting-edge opticians’ practice will “future-proof the facility as much as possible”.
Salmoni’s was founded 50 years ago and is one of the oldest independent operators in Scotland. Director and optometrist Eddie Russell, who is just the third owner of the well-known business, teamed up with local developers, Verimac, to deliver a £1 million property conversion, the second of its kind in the old bank, following a move by Dental Care Perth, in 2018.
In addition, Mr Russell has invested nearly £400,000 kitting out the practice with the most technologically advanced eye care equipment on the market.
“Obviously it was a huge decision to make the move from South Street premises where the business has been based for half a century but this is a game changer for us, an exciting time for the business and for our many clients.
“The aim was to future-proof the facility as much as possible and although that comes at a cost – one piece of kit alone comes in at £100,000 – we were determined to provide Perth with one of the most advanced practices in the country.
“Our new property is easily accessible and one of our eye test rooms was designed specifically for the comfort of clients using wheelchairs.”
Embracing a move from their cramped, traditional premises not only offers additional comfort and accessibility for all, it also provided an opportunity for better location based partnerships.
“In countries like Australia and the USA, you often see healthcare outlets in the same part of town so being adjacent to Dental Care Perth is an added bonus for mutual clients.
“We have four fully fitted consulting rooms, a private dispensing area and an instruments room with the most up to date ophthalmic equipment. We also have a laboratory where we can do our own glazing on-site and have full quality control, rather than sending to labs further afield.
“It is 25 years since I qualified, and the technological advances of recent years have been remarkable in terms of providing greater accuracy and comfort in fitting glasses.
“Like so much of healthcare nowadays, the emphasis is on early detection of any issues clients may not even be aware of when they book regular eye examinations. Myself and the staff have undergone extensive training to make the most of the latest technology.”
Speaking on the development and build itself, Mr Russell praised local contractors Verimac.
“Inevitably, the original timetable was impacted given the challenges thrown up by the pandemic but it has worked to our advantage because the design has evolved and we now have exactly what we wanted. To say I am thrilled with the transformation is an understatement and we are looking forward to feedback from clients.”
Verimac director Brian Blair echoed this sentiment, thanking the local team of contractors who completed the project in the face of the pandemic. “They had to cope with unprecedented challenges in terms of creating a safe working environment and securing. materials. But their professionalism ensured that the re-development of a long-vacant bank building has come to fruition.
“I’d also like to acknowledge the excellent support we have enjoyed from vacant property development officer Isobel Butt and place development manager John McCrone at Perth and Kinross Council.”