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Visionary growth for optician thanks to £50,000 BEF loan

The Eye Store, a Leeds-based optician and eyewear business has invested in stock and people following a £50,000 NPIF loan from Business Enterprise Fund.

Eye Room received a £50K NPIF loan from BEF delivered by Mark Iley

A Leeds-based optician and eyewear business has invested in stock and people following a £50,000 loan from Business Enterprise Fund (BEF) and NPIF – BEF & FFE Microfinance, which is managed by BEF and FFE Microfinance, and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

Established in 2003, Tomas Oppedal has been a beacon of eye care excellence in Leeds, West Yorkshire. Strategically located near the heart of city, the business offers optometry and optician services for eyesight testing and sells contemporary designed glasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses from its retail store and online at

The business is owned and run by husband-and-wife team, Tomas and Hafiya Oppedal, who pride themselves on providing a level of customer care that is often missing from the high street. The business aims to offer high quality and individuality at realistic prices. Customers are afforded a retail experience that affords them the time and support required to choose from a comprehensive range of contemporary designs are from the UK, Scandinavia and beyond.

In a bid to expand its customer base, Tomas Oppedal turned to Business Enterprise Fund (BEF), a trusted finance partner with a track record of supporting local businesses. Having previously received a Start Up Loan from BEF, Tomas Oppedal was well-acquainted with the organisation's commitment to fostering growth for businesses unable to secure funding from high street lenders.

With the support of Mark Iley, Senior Investment Manager at BEF, Tomas Oppedal secured a £50,000 Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS)-backed NPIF microfinance loan. This strategic infusion of funds has enabled Tomas Oppedal to boost its marketing efforts, expand its eyewear inventory, and expand its working capital.

This investment has resulted in the creation of one full-time job and one part-time job, while simultaneously safeguarding three existing positions. This, in essence, fortified the local workforce and contributed to the economic vitality of the region.

In the words of co-founder Tomas Oppedal: "Our partnership with BEF has been instrumental in realising our growth aspirations. This NPIF loan has empowered us to better serve our community and expand our horizons."

Tomas Oppedal’s remarkable journey, from a vision for outstanding eye care to becoming a thriving eyewear provider with an enriched workforce, showcases the profound impact strategic financial support can have on local businesses. It exemplifies the shared commitment of Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) like BEF, the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, and Tomas Oppedal to fostering growth and making a positive impact on the communities they serve.

Mark Iley, Senior Investment Manager at BEF said: “Start-up and scale-up phases are two critical stages of business growth. We take immense pride in supporting businesses like Tomas Oppedal whose dedication to excellence is truly commendable. We are delighted to be part of their growth journey and wish them every success."

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