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downtown vision
story by Audrey Hanes, photo by Amy Long

LensMasters, which specializes in the latest lens technology, designer frames, sunglasses, protective eyewear and children’s frames, opened its doors on Church Street in 1989 and is the longest standing retail business in Downtown Jonesboro. For Rusty and Holly Acebo, taking over that family business and
being a continued part of a revitalized and growing Downtown Jonesboro is a perfect fit.

Rusty’s family moved to Jonesboro in 1977 and operated the area’s first wholesale optical laboratory. The retail store on Church Street opened in 1989 and became the region’s only full-service, on-site lab that made glasses in an hour; The Acebo family purchased the business in 1990 and changed the name to LensMasters.

“Over the years, we have witnessed a lot of changes in lens technology and cutting-edge lab equipment, and we have been able to stay on the forefront of these trends to keep up with our customer demands,” said Rusty.

After marrying Rusty 13 years ago, Holly spent nine years working at NEA Baptist Clinic and Hospital as director of marketing and as executive director of NEA Baptist Charitable Foundation before joining Rusty in the family’s optical business when Rusty’s parents retired.

“I never thought that my career would take the path that it has, but God has a plan for everyone, and when you follow His lead, good things happen,” said Holly. “… I love the relationships we create. When patients come back time and time again, you develop sweet relationships with them. I’ve made lasting friendships with people I would never have met otherwise, and that’s a silver lining.”

LensMasters, located at 320 South Church Street, is open Monday through Wednesday and on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call 972-1818, visit rxlensmasters.com or find LensMasters on Facebook.

How is eyewear such an important part of a person’s style? Holly: That’s easy – it’s the very first thing people notice about you. When you ask, “What do glasses say about you?” The answer is: “everything.” It’s amazing to think that people own lots of pairs of shoes; you’d never dream of wearing the same shoes with every outfit, or the same earrings, necklace (and) watch, so why wear the same glasses with everything? Glasses have gone from a necessity to a favorite accessory. The styles are so diverse that you can change your entire look with simply changing your glasses.

What kinds of eyewear does LensMasters carry? Holly: We offer the largest selection of eyewear in our region, so we cover all styles, trends and classics. We also travel to vision conferences to keep up-to-date on what is offered and see what the trends are in other parts of the country so we can offer them first in Northeast Arkansas. We are proud to have won or placed in Occasions’ “Best Eyewear” category every year, and it’s due to our vast selection of the latest styles. Some of the brands we carry are Ray Ban, Polo, Coach, Oakley, Versace, Tom Ford, Michael Kors, Tory Burch, Vera Bradley, Silhouette, Nike, Laura Ashley, Nine West, Dana Buchman, Flexon, Hickey Freeman, Brooks Brothers, Anne Klein, Lilly Pulitzer, Disney, Converse, X-Games and many more, and we regularly feature trunk shows from several of the designers.

What are some of the latest trends in eyeglasses and sunglasses? Holly: What we are seeing a lot of for women this year is vintage-inspired and modernized shapes, edgy styles and lots of pastels and bright colors. For men, we are seeing both oldschool and sleek profiles, not to mention edgy detailing and very bold looks. It’s awesome to have eyewear recognized as a fashion accessory for both men and women and to have patients recognize that multiple pairs help with their lifestyles for both style and functionality. We love sun wear, too, and having big, bold frames is a bonus for your eyes. Larger frames offer more protection from the sun’s harmful rays. It’s a win/win – you get great style and great protection in one.

Are there other factors that people should consider when selecting their eyewear? Holly: Anti-reflective coating is another easy way to improve your appearance. It not only improves your vision through your lenses, but also the appearance of your glasses, so people can
actually see your eyes and not see their reflection in your glasses. While eliminating the reflections of light from the front and back surface of your lenses, your lenses become almost invisible, and your eyes and facial features become more clear. This helps your nighttime driving with headlight glare and computer screen fatigue, as well as cosmetically. I’ve even been asked before if I had lenses in my frames because they were so clear. It’s a small touch
that can make a big difference in your eyewear.

What do you enjoy most about your job and about finding the perfect eyewear for your patients? Rusty: Being able to help people. There is nothing like fitting a child with a pair of glasses for the first time. To see their eyes light up to a new world is really hard to explain until you have experienced it. I enjoy being able to help those in a time of desperation. People who depend on their glasses and lose or break them are in desperate need of getting a replacement fast. (For the) man who loses his glasses over the weekend fishing or the grandmother whose grandchild broke her glasses and she can’t do without, those situations and knowing we’ve helped them in their time of need makes us thankful we are there to provide that service quickly. It’s about serving others, and in our business, we make eyeglasses in about an hour, and that fills a need in our community.
Holly: There are so many things I love about working with our patients. It’s so much fun when you take a patient who doesn’t like shopping for glasses and show them how much fun and how stylish glasses can be. It can transform their entire look and their self-confidence, and with the right frame, make them look years younger. I love it when someone tries on a bold frame and their first response is “no way,” but by the time they try on a few different frames and get comfortable with the style, they end up loving it. The other thing that is a huge blessing is when children who have needed glasses for a long time try on their very first pair and they can see clearly for the first time. It makes my heart melt.

Why is Downtown Jonesboro such an ideal location for LensMasters? Holly: Downtown Jonesboro is like a small town within a big city. There’s so much within walking distance. A diverse customer base comes to Downtown Jonesboro; our location has served us well being centrally located and serving patients from all over Northeast Arkansas. With front door parking convenience and close proximity to many local restaurants and shopping – and glasses in an hour – Downtown Jonesboro gives patients the whole local experience.