Customer choosing some frames at K. McGuinness Opticians in Washington

K.McGuinness Opticians was established in 1975 as a small practice in Shildon, County Durham by Kevin McGuinness. Aided by his wife Terri McGuinness and employing one receptionist Kevin based his approach on a genuine caring attitude to his patients and personal service. As a young optometrist he brought fresh ideas on techniques, equipment and customer care which were clearly appreciated by the community as the business flourished.


As the patient base expanded Kevin decided he needed bigger premises, now employing a second receptionist, he moved to nearby Newton Aycliffe. Highly regarded by patients and colleagues, Kevin’s continued success led to further expansion in the 1980’s. At first, this meant moving to bigger premise next door until further expansion caused Kevin to buy back the original unit and knock them both together! The ‘team’ had grown too, with another optometrist, a dispensing optician and four reception staff now being employed. With real customer care values at its core the business continued to provide a cutting edge service in Newton Aycliffe and ensured success based on the Kevin’s original ideology.


The Washington branch, located in The Galleries, was opened in 1985 holding the same belief in customer care. The new audience in Washington and surrounding areas were as enthusiastic as those in Newton Aycliffe and the business quickly became established in the community.


Changes and developments have continued in recent times. The town centre in Newton Aycliffe has been extended and, at the end of 2003, this provided an opportunity for the branch to move to purpose built premises among new, exciting retailers. This new unit was equipped to the highest standards and provides a welcoming, professional environment. Such was the success of this modernisation that the Washington branch was completely refurbished in autumn 2006. Now both branches benefit from state of the art equipment as well as providing a professional, friendly, welcoming atmosphere.


The business is now owned and run in partnership between Kevin's son John and son-in-law Ian Barbour although Kevin still maintains an active role in the business and as an optometrist. The business employs 22 staff over the two sites including qualified dispensing opticians. Both offer an on-site lab for the manufacture of spectacles, a wide range of frames and lenses and a full contact lens service.