13 July 2024
  • 13 July 2024

Specsavers: Keep your eye on Paisley

on 5 May 2023 1

A staple of the town centre, Specsavers Paisley is reflecting on both their commitment to the area and the bright future that lies ahead

A common misconception that people may have is that Specsavers Paisley is owned and operated by a major corporation. In actual fact, Gail Thompson and Amy Chotai serve as directors in partnership with the franchise. In doing so, they provide 40 jobs to the local community consisting of optometrists and dispensing opticians as well as lab, retail and admin staff.

Leading with a person-centred model of service which comes complete with real-time feedback on how they can make their care as impactful as possible, Gail, who has been an employee of Specsavers for 20 years, has seen things expanded from two rooms in the Paisley Centre to their current base on Moss Street which has seven consulting rooms and even offers audiology services.

“Through it all, the dedication of our staff and their commitment to the community has remained the same,” she happily proclaimed. “We now take referrals directly from GPs, so we’ve basically become the first port of call due as we’re open seven days a week.

“It’s a round-the-clock service, so we can see up to 12-14 patients in a day and they’re often not customers of ours. We’re a training practice too, so we always take two graduate opticians to do their year in practice before they become fully qualified. They start very slowly, before gradually building their skills up. We’re happy to say that both Kirsten and Eve did their training with us before becoming fully qualified opticians here.” 


Gail Thompson, photo by Danny Livingston

A thriving business which refuses to stand still, Specsavers Paisley recently added a new wrinkle to their offering by training up an independent prescribing optometrist in co-director and tenured staff member Amy Chotai. 

“Why this is beneficial for both the practice and the patients is because it saves them a trip to hospital,” she said of undertaking the role. “So, if there’s something that I can prescribe rather than having to refer them elsewhere, then it’s better for the patient and the hospitals. It expands my knowledge too, so it improves the treatment we can offer here.

“Everything we do is for the patients,” she continued. “So, when we invest in something new, like the OCT machine, we do it because it’s better healthcare for the patients. I started here 13 years ago and what we do now compared to then is massive.” 


Amy Chotai, photo by Danny Livingston

“Apart from myself, we have three other members of staff who’ve been here for over two decades, with another recently celebrating 15 years of service,” Gail said of their impressive retention rates. “They’ve all come along on this journey so that loyalty and commitment is something we’re really eager to celebrate. I think [the reason why people stay] is because of the approachability and flexibility. You’re people first here before employees. Due to having complete ownership of the business and being in partnership, we always try to treat people exactly how we’d like to be treated. Not to mention, it’s an interesting workplace which provides lots of job satisfaction.” 

This mindset is evident in the view of staff member Isobel, who has savoured the opportunity to see people’s lives unfold as they continue to visit the store on a yearly basis. 

“It’s amazing to see the same families coming through here,” she proffered. “I served kids that have now become adults and some of them even come here with their children, so that’s really rewarding.” 

Alongside Gail, Isobel and Anne who’ve provided generations worth of care, other members of staff such as Danny came aboard 13 years ago through an advertisement in the job centre and have since found a vocational home there as a supervisor. Now, he’s synonymous with the place as he’s often the person you see when crossing the threshold and is always on hand with a warm welcome. 

A locally-minded organisation which works within the framework of a major brand, Gail, Amy and their team are aware of the commercial pressures of the marketplace, but they never get in the way of doing what’s best for everyone who walks in the door. 

“Some people think we’re this global company that is just here to make money, but we’ve personally invested in this business and we know why we’re doing it,” Gail revealed. “My original training was clinical and it was always about giving back, so that remains the case here. We have this ethos of ‘if it was your parents or grandparents, what would you want someone else to do for them?’ Yeah, we sell glasses and need to make it work, but that’s secondary to doing our best for the people that come in.” 

Specsavers Opticians & Audiologists, 5 Moss Street, Paisley, PA1 1BG, 0141 848 9192, website.

1 Comment
  • Agnes Haldane 1 month ago

    Could you pass to Cherish i now have two bad legs as my left has given up. He will be happy about that as he was going to stand on my good leg to make i had two bad legs.
    I will never forget this horrendous behaviour. But Gail you knew me and still you didn’t support me. Carma comes round at some point in our lives.

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