Written by Abbie Walker
With over 40 years of experience, Trish Hammons of Custom Optical in Fondren knows that a person’s glasses should be as unique as they are, and she loves helping find the best pair of frames to match their individual style.
“People come here for something different,” she says. “I like to think outside the box and carry more eclectic frames, as well as traditional.”
Hammons has been working in the optical business since 1976. Her first job was at Royal Optical on Capitol Street in Jackson before she moved to wholesale, overseeing final inspections in a lab for 25 years. She later decided to revisit the retail side of optical.
When the previous owner of Custom Optical was looking to retire, Hammons grabbed the opportunity and bought the store in 2006. She also inherited coworker Susan Johnson, who has been with Custom Optical since 1993. Hammons says she keeps her grounded. “We work well together,” says Johnson. “Everybody thinks we’re sisters.”
Her time in the industry has helped her develop an eye for detail, Hammons points out, and a standard for good quality. “It’s good to know what an end product should look like when you’re selling it,” she says.
A certified optician, Hammons’ lab experience provided her with the technical knowledge to offer a wide variety of services in-house, including tinting, customizing shapes on rimless frames and emergency repairs. Thanks to state-of-the-art equipment, the shop can ensure a quicker turn around time for customers. “I do all my own cutting and edging of lenses,” says Hammons.
Popular brands include Ernest Hemingway, Penguin, Ray-Ban, and John Varvatos, but Hammons says she tries to carry a wide variety of frames for every budget. She adds that she seeks to reach a new generation with funkier frames.
Hammons says her priority has always been customer service. “I love helping people,” she says. “And my customers trust me.”
She enjoys staying on top of trends and helping people find the best frames to fit their lifestyle and personality. “My name is going out with those glasses,” she says. “So I spend a lot of time one-on-one with the customer to make sure they get a frame they really like and a custom fit.”
Hammons says she loves working with children and families. She also helps with glasses fittings for Wells Church’s outreach ministry.
“I love what I do,” says Hammons. “It’s my home away from home, and my customers are my extended family.”
She adds that the Fondren community creates a great atmosphere for business. “Everyone feeds off one another,” she says. “I believe Fondren will continue to grow, and I want to grow with it.”
When Hammons isn’t at the store, she enjoys spending time with her two sons and four grandchildren.