Reggae stylin’ has come to eyewear in Lower Mills with a change of ownership in a small, independent optician business on Dorchester Ave.
When Jack Peters decided at year’s end it was time to put up his feet and seek an early retirement, he began to look for a potential buyer for his long-established Peters Optical shop that is tucked into the business district on Dorchester Avenue.
Then one day, a Codman Square man with a dream to operate his own business took his wife’s advice and stopped in for a look around Peters’s shop.
Bobin Nicholson is a native of Jamaica who arrived in Boston in the 1980s when his family relocated here from that island nation. After school at Jamaica Plain High and studies at Berklee College of Music, Nicholson concentrated on his music. A bass guitarist, he is a member of a five-piece band, Conscious, that plays Reggae-style, and can be seen at venues like Shenanigans in South Boston and Johnny’s on the Side near the TD Garden. He explains that he found his career path as an optician by accident:
“In my last year at Berklee, I was jammin’ and the guitar player knocked my glasses off, and accidentally stepped on them,” he recalls. He went to a chain eyeglass store for replacements, and became intrigued with the business. “I liked the way the exchange was going between myself and the optician,” he said.
“My mother was always saying ‘You have to get a real job.’ I asked if they were hiring, they asked me if I could sell. I said to them, ‘I am from Jamaica, I can sell anything.’ ” And so began a working career in eyeglasses.
After his graduation from Berklee, he spent almost twenty years working in the retail eyeglass field, first as a saleman, later as a Newbury College-trained licensed optician. Until last year, he worked in the Kenmore office of the Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates’ Optical Services Department, where he says he had “ a very big following.”
But when he visited the Lower Mills shop for that first time, and Jack Peters asked if he would be interested in buying the business, the trajectory of his daytime work took a change for the better, he says. After some brief negotiations, Peters began his retirement in the new year, and Nicholson bought the business and set out to re-design the shop. The shop’s name, “Eye to Eye,” is an expression borrowed from Rastafari usage. “Instead of saying we, we say I and I,” he says. “My wife came up with it.”
Says Nicholson of his new business: “This is my dream. The sky’s the limit for it. I want to meet everybody. I want to be acclimated and very active in the neighborhood. My specialty is second to none. I specialize in customizing eyeware. That’s one of the reasons why I have a lot of following. I can customize no-rim glasses in different shapes to match your face, your personality. I specialize in giving you that one-on-one care to pick out the ideal pair of glasses that works very well for you.”
Nicholson finds great synergy between his music and the dispensing of eyeware. “ I am doing both, they are both art. When you pick out a pair of glasses there’s a very artistic approach to it – just like music.”
(Eye to Eye Opticians is located as 2271 Dorchester Avenue, Dorchester Lower Mills.)