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Retail Roundup: Discount optical chain adds sixth LI store

America's Best Contacts & Eyeglasses has 700-plus stores

America's Best Contacts & Eyeglasses has 700-plus stores nationwide and six on Long Island; 200 stores have been added since 2018. Credit: America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses

A once-vacant Mattress Firm store in Centereach now has an occupant with a new vision.

A discount optical store, America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses,  opened in the space June 5, continuing the retailer’s expansion into Long Island after a pause related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The newest and sixth local store is at Centereach Commons, 1959 Middle Country Rd.

“We are proud to serve communities around the country with affordable, accessible eye care and eyewear and have plans to continue opening stores in the years to come,” America’s Best said in a statement.

With more than 700 stores in 31 states and Washington, D.C., including about 200 added since late 2018, the chain of vision centers was growing quickly before the pandemic began to hit the United States hard in February.

Now, the Centereach store is among the 50 to 55 America's Best locations opening in various states in 2020, a reduction from the 75 new sites that were previously planned, the Duluth, Georgia-based chain said.

The optical retailer entered the Long Island market in December 2018 with a Carle Place location, and with Centereach now has opened five other local stores, including those in Northport, West Babylon, Freeport and Elmont.

Due to the pandemic, the chain closed all stores March 18 and gradually began reopening locations April 27, with all stores open by June 8.

The pandemic also is affecting health and safety protocols in the stores.

Now, appointment scheduling must be done over the phone, customers are asked to come alone unless it’s necessary to bring companions, and temperatures will be screened when coming into the store, according to the vision chain.

No follow-up appointments are being taken now.

The retailer offers an eye exam by an optometrist with two pairs of eyeglasses for $69.95.

The vision centers are owned by National Vision Holdings Inc., which has more than 1,000 stores under five different names in the United States.

America’s Best’s 4,775-square-foot Centereach store was vacated by Mattress Firm in September 2019, said Igal Nassim, director of leasing at Great Neck-based Mason Asset Management, which co-owns Centereach Commons through a limited liability company.

Houston-based Mattress Firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2018 and closed 700 stores around that time.

It now has more than 2,500 stores.

Correction: An earlier version of this story gave the wrong date for the start of the America's Best Contacts & Eyeglasses reopenings.

Retail Roundup is a column about major retail news on Long Island — store openings, closings, expansions, acquisitions, etc. — that is published online and in the Monday paper. To read more of these columns, click here. If you have news to share, please send an email to Newsday reporter Tory N. Parrish at tory.parrish@newsday.com.

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