Merchant of the Month: Metro Optics

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For over 40 years, Metro Optics has been nestled in the Westchester Square community serving the eye care and eyewear needs of thousands of customers and clients in and outside of the Bronx. This Westchester Square community staple is one of five vision stores in the Metro Optics franchise. The first Metro Optics store was founded in 1978 on Metropolitan Avenue in Parkchester (hence the name “Metro Optics”) by licensed optician, Michael Ungaro. Metro Optics in Westchester Square was opened ten years later (1988) followed by the Hunts Point/Southern Blvd. district store in 2008. A fourth store opened in the Throggs Neck Shopping Center in 2014, and just in time for its 40th Anniversary, Metro Optics acquired a fifth store, Central Eyes Optical, in Hartsdale, NY in 2018. Metro Optics founder, Michael Ungaro, met John Bonizio - a former optician and current Chief Operating Officer of Westchester Square Metro Optics - in the late 1970s. It was through their friendship, as well as Bonizio’s industry experience and business savvy, the expansion of Metro Optics began with the store located at 25 Westchester Square.

Metro Optics Group thrives on its commitment to the community and the partnerships it has established with local merchants and small businesses, and it is this promise to serve the community that makes Metro Optics distinctly unique from its competitors. Participation in community events, health fairs, and other activities that raise awareness of and advocate for eye care and eye health is a top priority for Metro Optics according to its Marketing and Community Relations Manager, Sara Bonizio.

The company is equally devoted to each of its employees. “We are very much a family and we have many long-term employees who have stayed with us. We are not only invested in our company, but fully invested in the career growth of all those within our company; this is a personal issue for me,” stated Bonizio, who first took an interest in the vision business at 10 years of age when her father brought her to work with him on “Take Your Daughter to Work Day.” Her participation in the business under various roles throughout the years has allowed her to effectively lead all aspects of communications and marketing, and manage community relations for Metro Optics.

Their vision for the future? “The Bronx is our home. We work here, live here, have grown up here, we love it here, and the Bronx is important to us as the foundation of the business,” stated Bonizio. “With that said, our operating philosophy may eventually lead us to expand further past our existing geographic locations, which would benefit the business and our employees.”