A qualified optician reveals it has been a “sleepless, emotional time” since his Twickenham eyewear shop set on fire four days ago.

Firefighters were called to a fire inside The Optical Gallery - an opticians and eyewear shop on King Street, last Saturday afternoon (March 19).

The Optical Gallery is managed by three brothers - all who are qualified dispensing opticians and business partners.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:  From left to right: Marios Jr, Antonios, Nicos (images: The Optical Gallery) From left to right: Marios Jr, Antonios, Nicos (images: The Optical Gallery)

Marios Jr - the accounts, technology, and online manager says he has been “shaken up, confused and devastated” since the blaze occurred.

Marios told the Richmond and Twickenham Times: “I’ve been feeling all of the emotions that you could imagine at once.

“It's hard to explain unless you have been through this yourself.

“You have to focus on the positives, only materialistic things were damaged and thankfully nobody was injured.

“The shock is settling in, but to be honest, we haven't had too much time to think about the worst.”

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Aftermath of the fire (images: The Optical Gallery)Aftermath of the fire (images: The Optical Gallery)

Marios says the Twickenham branch has been transferring goods to the Chessington store, whilst making sure all staff are aware and informing clients about the situation.

He added: “We have had to check our awaiting job orders, collections and try to rebook everyone, if possible, in our Chessington store.

“We are now going through the motions of trying to get back up and running in Twickenham as soon as possible.”

Marios found out about the blaze from “good business friends”, P. Cooper and Sons Grocers, who initially contacted Marios’ dad, who previously owned the eyewear store.

Richmond and Twickenham Times: The three brothers/business partners and their father, Marios (images: The Optical Gallery)The three brothers/business partners and their father, Marios (images: The Optical Gallery)

Marios explained: “The store was closed at that point of the fire, so thankfully no one was there.

“Our dad called us from Cyprus and said, ‘there is a fire at the shop, you need to get there’.

“I'm not sure which of us brother's he called first, but we all got the shocking news and went straight to Twickenham.”

Marios says The Optical Gallery has been “flooded” with messages from clients, business neighbours, family, and friends.

He added: “It's only times like this, that you truly realise the love that is around you within the community.

“My brother Antonio is the general overseeing manager of the company, I take the role of accounts, technology and online and my other brother, Nico, brings the creative marketing and media direction we have been building over the past six years.

Richmond and Twickenham Times: images: The Optical Galleryimages: The Optical Gallery

“We are a family owned business; the community has seen us grow up over the years.”

Marios says the messages he and his brothers have received from the community are “truly strengthening”.

He said: “We have been working hard over the past six years to differentiate ourselves in the optics world, and the support from our local community gives us the strength to come back.

“We love what we do, we feel like we are more than just opticians, we are a movement for eyewear enthusiasts around the world, and that ideology has moved forward over the past 8 months during COVID.

Richmond and Twickenham Times: The Optical Gallery logo (images: The Optical Gallery)The Optical Gallery logo (images: The Optical Gallery)

“We have just launched our new website and have been styling clients from as far as; Los Angeles, Mexico, Israel and more.

“The plan will not be deviated giving the best optical experience we can with our family values which have always been at the forefront.

“This knock back will not bring us down, we love our movement, and we love our community and staff, and we intend to soldier through to continue our legacy there forever.”

You can visit The Optical Gallery at the Chessington branch, or book virtual stylings and home visits here