Optical Heights celebrates 25 years in Roslyn

Optical Heights celebrates 25 years in Roslyn
Optical Heights 25th Anniversary. (Photo courtesy of Optical Heights)

Diane Szwed, owner and president of Optical Heights in Roslyn, said she believes it is important to be a part of the community. As of October, she has had her doors open for business for 25 years, all in the same place. 

“I grew up in the North Shore and always wanted to stay local,” Szwed said in an interview. “My mom did the same thing for 25 years actually and I wanted to emulate her.”

The Port Washington resident was raised by Polish immigrants that came to the United States in 1964. Her parents, including her mother who was a beautician in her hometown, showed a work ethic that made her proud to be from a first-generation family.

Szwed recalls seeing the joy on customers’ faces walking out of the store and sees herself in a similar position. 

“We are making people look good too,” she said. “It’s a combination of fashion, medical and technology into one.” 

As a STEM major at Adelphi University, Szwed worked jobs in the medical field during her undergraduate years, including veterinarian and surgeon’s offices. 

As a small-business owner, she, like many others, experienced months of adversity to keep the doors open during the coronavirus epidemic. Considered the operator of an essential business, Szwed was able to make the most of it, even though she was by herself.

“For three months, I was the only employee,” Szwed said. “I handled the shipments, any walk-ins, and offered curbside pick while also handling deliveries. It turned into what I called ‘Uber Optical Heights’ for a little bit.” 

With her store located at 195 Mineola Ave., a stone’s throw from the Long Island Expressway, Szwed was making deliveries from New York City to the Hamptons. Because her hours were extended longer than other stores in the area, she was able to increase her clientele. 

“I was doing about 90 miles a day, running around,” Szwed said. “I was ringing doorbells, leaving packages in people’s mailboxes, their porches, anything I could.”

Along with the increased workload for herself, Szwed increased the social media presence of the store while adding online shopping options for parts of the catalog. 

Optical Heights was given a certificate of recognition by the Town of North Hempstead on its 25th anniversary, Oct. 16. The owner said she saw the experience as another reason she loves living and being a part of the community. 

Szwed says she also owes much of the success to her amazing coworkers, many which have been with the store for the last 20 years.

Outside of the business, Szwed is involved in a number of organizations, including the American Heart Association, Manhasset Women’s Coalition and Babes Against Cancer. 

“I think supporting the community is just as important as running the business itself,” Szwed said. “It’s always nice to help one another because we need to be there for each other all around.” 

Editor’s note: a previous version of this article was published. It has since been updated.

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