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Unique optician eyes funding for further expansion after paying off business loan

A performing arts optician from Yorkshire has a clear view on growth, after paying off its first business loan and more than doubling in size.

Allegro Optical provides bespoke optical examinations and lenses for musicians, who often experience specialist eye problems due to their craft.

The family business - the only opticians accredited by British Association of Performing Arts Medicine - was founded in Meltham by Sheryl Doe and her husband Stephen Tighe, with the help of £40k loan from the Business Enterprise Fund (BEF) and now, with over 6,000 clients and a turnover of almost £600k a year, is looking to expand again.

“We have already identified a site for a third practise, having opened our first two with the initial help of BEF”, says Sheryl; an optician, cornet, cello and double bass player. “Word of mouth has certainly spread - we have clients from as far afield as New Zealand and Japan, who have their consultations online, although most of our customers are face to face.”

Sherly and her conductor, composer and brass band player husband employ 20 staff - all musicians themselves - and will be recruiting more people over the coming months.

“We are already in discussions around further funding with BEF, as there is a real need for musicians to have the right kind of optical care,” says Stephen. “We are completely unique in that we can provide that care, and that is why there is such a growing demand for our service.”

The company works with the Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain as well as the Royal College of Music and has been recognised with awards from the Federation of Small Businesses, as well as being named Dispensing Optician of the year in 2019 and 2021 and Arts and Entertainment Business of the Year in 2019.

“We were delighted to have played a part in the formation and development of this wonderful business,” says Steve Waud, CEO of BEF, a not-for-profit lender providing much-needed support to small and micro businesses, which make up over 95% of the UK economy. “Allegro Optical have identified a real need in the musical community and their growing customer base proves this. The region is lucky to have them as they grow.”

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