Illinois-based optical services provider moving into Prairie Trails Shopping Center

Bard Optical logo

QUINCY — Bard Optical, a retail optical services provider with 20 locations in Illinois, will be putting its 21st location in the Prairie Trails Shopping Center.

Construction work is underway at the site near 63rd and Broadway between the Bath and Body Works store and Jen’s Nails. Vice President Mick Hall hopes for the store to open in October. 

Bard Optical, headquartered in Peoria, has locations in Rock Island, Springfield, Peoria, East Peoria, Galesburg, Washington, Decatur, Champaign, Jacksonville, Springfield, Normal, Peru, Lincoln, Pekin, Sterling, Pontiac and Canton (Ill.). It offers eye exams, eyewear, sunglasses and contact lenses. Hall said Bard Optical is medically modeled.

“When you’re medically modelled, you are diagnosing, following and treating disease,” he said. “A lot of other private doctors out there are referring to those people to ophthalmology. We have special testing equipment in our offices that allow us to do that, and then when we get to the need for a doctor, we co-manage those patients.”

Bard Optical also has a full-service digital optical laboratory in Peoria that services each of the company’s locations.

When asked what enticed Bard Optical to build in Quincy, Hall said, “Honestly, it was the co-tenants. It’s the other businesses that are out there. We’re members of every Chamber of Commerce in every city that we’re in, and we like to support other businesses. 

“We tend to be a destination type of retailer. People are coming to us, not because typically they’re walking by. They’re coming because they have an appointment. Obviously if they want to walk in, we’re there for them. We draw people to a center, so we’re looking for other tenants around us that kind of do the same thing. There were a lot of them (in Prairie Trails) that were top-notch businesses that we want to be a part of, and obviously Tom Marx’s group is a great group to work with.”

Most of the property in Prairie Trails is owned by the Tom and Kathie Marx Trust. Businesses leasing from Marx are Old Navy, Shoe Carnival, TJ Maxx, Petco, Buff City Soap, Bath and Body Works, Jen’s Nails, Snap Fitness and Great Clips. 

Hall said Bard Optical has been looking for a place in Quincy for several years but only recently hired Dr. Dinita Cooley, a long-time Quincy optometrist, to be its lead eye doctor.

“She’s been practicing over there for many years and has a great following over there,” Hall said. “She and her husband are directly tied into that community, and that’s what we look for. We look for doctors who are employees of ours, but they’re also hometown people who are good representatives of who we are as a family-owned business.”

Bard Optical will open a 22nd location in Litchfield later this year.

Bard Optical had a store in Quincy in the late 1930s at 527 Maine. A story in the Dec. 5, 1979 edition of The Herald-Whig shows that it eventually moved from the Hotel Quincy to 642 Maine to 507 Maine before it finally closed because of a lack of business.

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