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The Eye Academy to expand into Dorset after receiving funding from Santander
The Eye Academy, a fast-growing regional chain of luxury opticians, is to open its fifth store after receiving £170,000 in funding from Santander Corporate & Commercial. The new store is based in Ferndown, Dorset.
The business was originally started by sisters Romana and Ruby Hashim who opened their first store in Windsor in 2001. Romana remains as the main shareholder and Managing Director. Over the past 15 years, The Eye Academy has opened additional stores in Guildford, Cobham and Banstead.
The new store in Ferndown is an acquisition of existing opticians, Underwood Eye Care, which had been growing at up to 10% per year. The acquisition will bring the group turnover to beyond £4 million and create new jobs across the group. The Ferndown store also provides specialist sports vision services, the first time the business has diversified into what it believes will be an in-demand market differentiator for it.
Romana Hashim, Managing Director, The Eye Academy, said:
The funding from Santander has allowed us to gain a footprint in the Dorset market and we hope to expand further there, and elsewhere, in the coming years. The expansion is good news for our business and the local area as we will be hiring new members of staff to help our growing brand.
Kevin Farrell, Relationship Director, Santander Corporate & Commercial, said:
We have worked with The Eye Academy since they opened their Cobham store and continue to be impressed by Romana and the team’s vision for the business. We are confident they will make a success of the new store and look forward to helping them expand their market share across the South.