It is refreshing to explore the intricacies of the trading world with someone who defines a sale as a starting point and not as a goal. Ana Marília Castro, graduated in optometry, looks a bit at the many transactions that take place in her establishment, the Forum Óptica, in Aveiro, located at Avenida Lourenço Peixinho, nº97 A, in Aveiro. But her eyes shine as we immerse ourselves in the complexities of light and its phenomena, part of Ana's area of study, which she openly discusses in this interview. Optometry is a relatively recent science, with approximately 100 years of existence, and Ana’s father, Helder Araújo e Castro, was, in Portugal, one of the first optometrists to be trained and practiced in the area.
The passion for optics has lasted in the family for three generations, and the first store in Guarda was founded by his paternal grandfather, Vitaliano Araújo e Castro. Subsequently, the business passed into the hands of Ana's parents and grew to the point of opening another point of sale in Aveiro and then in Porto, which was in charge of the brother of Ana, also optmetrist.
In the middle of this story, Ana grew up on the balcony of the Guarda’s store, following closely the method of work and aquiring, from an early age, a love for the area that teaches us so much about the health of one of the most prominent senses.
Each of the establishments of the family has its own identity, however there is a trait or philosophy strongly shared by the owners, something Ana had already seen in practice since she was little in Guarda: the concern with customer service and support. In fact, at some point in our interview, Ana's position is more akin to a health professional than to an owner of an optics store, both due to her in-depth knowledge of the area and to the evolution of patient cases that she keeps present in her memory.
However, such a business doesn’t survive on health issues alone and fortunately our owner knows how to identify aesthetic trends and the need for a customer to feel good about the item they buy. Ana explains that the people of Aveiro are conscious about fashion and even the older generations, with a bit of mirror dating, are open to new suggestions that introduce more daring or refined looks. Also worthy of mention is the excellent team that works in the Forum Óptica: dedicated and experienced professionals who know the history and tradition of the brands that they sell. They are even sometimes requested by name, which leaves in Ana's face an indelible pride. The service also excels by the friendliness and easiness. In Ana's words, "nothing is impossible", from the cutting of lenses to a specific frame, through slight adjustments to the frame or the explanation of the finish used by a particular brand.
And since we´re talking about brands, it would be difficult not to mention the variety that can be found in this establishment: brands that excel in the quality of materials used and launch trends such as Cartier, Gucci and Mykita or more accessible brands such as Rayban, Lacoste and Le Jour .
In this store, there is a perfect fusion of functionality, aesthetics and excellent service, assuming a preponderant role in the look and health of the people of Aveiro.