About Discerning Eye

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It all started with...

The story of Discerning Eye begins with a class project in 2004 at the UI Tippie College of Business. Owner Joni Schrup's son, Sam, was taking classes to earn an Entrepreneurship Certificate as an undergraduate and needed to create a business plan for an imaginary business.

Since Joni had been in the optical industry for as long as he could remember and she spoke often of owning her own store, she became a great resource for Sam's project. He decided to write a business plan for an optical retail store. With each passing semester, Sam refined his plan to incorporate financial projections, legal & marketing plans with Joni's knowledge and insight.

In Summer of 2005, Joni and Sam used the business plan to acquire a business loan and sign a lease in downtown Iowa City. After countless hours of work, Discerning Eye opened its doors for the first time on December 8, 2005. The day's sales were a whopping $2.

Ten years dedicated to customers...

Since first opening its doors, Discerning Eye has prided itself on focusing on its customers. Every member of the team strives to make shopping for eyewear an enjoyable and fun experience. With eye exams by Dr. Dan Wolfe, customers receive the very best in eye health care.

Whether taking time to find the best possible frame and lens options for each customer, hand delivering a pair of glasses before a customer's big event or repairing the eyewear that should have been beyond repair, Discerning Eye's dedication to its customers is evident. This dedication has cultivated a customer base that is fiercely loyal and has led to over ten years of success for Joni, Sam and the Discerning Eye staff.

A new location...

In early 2016, when the Chait Gallery site became available, Joni and Sam jumped at the opportunity to move their optical to a bigger, brighter location. Discerning Eye opened their newly remodeled store at 218 E. Washington Street on September 28, 2016.

The former art gallery space is the perfect venue to present Discerning Eye's curated collection of eyewear from throughout the world. In addition, the larger space allowed for a new concept - Focus by Discerning Eye - which offers quality frames that are friendly to your face and your wallet.

With a new location, a fantastic staff, and amazing products, the future of Discerning Eye looks very bright. If you find yourself walking in front of the Englert Theatre downtown, cross the street and stop in - your perfect pair of eyewear awaits!