I meet clients from every walk of life as a Nashville Realtor, from executives to musicians to local entrepreneurs. And I try to keep up with as many of those folks as I can, to see how life unfolds in the dream home we found together.
The shop opened a few weeks ago at 1011 Gallatin Avenue, and their approach makes them a unique and needed addition to a tight-knit, consistently stylish neighborhood.
Nashville, and East Nashville in particular, tends to be more than welcoming to independent, locally bred businesses, and residents are happily inclined to take advantage of the extra attention and care that comes from hometown entrepreneurs. That's something the Brasfields both recognized and aligned with.
“The passion of local owners and the care for community that comes with being a thread in the local fabric is tremendously important,” Joe says. “Also my wife, Dr. Brasfield, is an excellent doctor and loves spending time with her patients and explaining the comprehensive exam process. I think most people have found that lacking if they've been to an optometry chain because the corporate structure doesn't allow as much time with patients as necessary for a thorough evaluation. We want to give people the best quality of care that they deserve, and being our own bosses allows us to make the decisions required to maintain that quality.”
Dr. Brasfield sees patients from age 4 up, using advanced diagnostic equipment to assess and manage everything from cataracts to contact lens fittings.
"In addition to basic eye exams for glasses and contacts, I treat glaucoma, dry eye, eye infections, eye injuries and foreign body removal, and perform diabetic eye exams among other medical eye services," she says. "We are full service at Look East!"
Her ocular health expertise is just part of the Look East program, though; Dr. Brasfield also handpicks all the frames at the shop, seeking out other small, independent businesses and choosing styles that reflect the creative, discriminating tastes of their community.
“We’ve found that the independent brands, just like in many industries, are held to a much higher standard,” Joe says. “They want to create the highest quality and best looking eyewear in the world. And their success is directly related to exactly that: the styles they create and how well they're made. It's not a corporate philosophy of keeping margins low, buying up successful brand names and following the trends well enough to keep people around.
“These companies are the innovators, being fashion forward and technologically improving on design. We want people to experience that and get a selection that's different than most places in Nashville.”
The Brasfields (and their 15-week-old baby girl) call East Nashville’s Lockeland Springs home — I’m not alone in considering it one of Nashville’s most inviting, charming places to live, work, eat and shop, and I’m glad that their family has found a perfect fit in the area, setting personal and now professional roots.
If you’re exploring East Nashville and need to refresh your specs, I’d highly recommend looking toward Look East. If you need recommendations for local businesses to hit in the neighborhood afterward, though, maybe don’t ask Joe — he’s, fittingly enough, too enamored with the community to pick favorites.
“Asking someone for a favorite independent business in Nashville or East Nashville is akin to asking someone what their favorite band or movie is,” he says. “You love different ones for different reasons and there are so many excellent options it's an impossible question!”
True enough. But I’ll go on record with my favorite new Nashville eyewear and eye care stop.
Visit Look East
1011 Gallatin Ave., in East Nashville
Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, 9 to 6 Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 to 3 on Fridays, and 10 to 3 on Saturdays.