Alexandria Nancy Benjamin was 16 years old when she decided that she wanted to be an optician. Beginning as an apprentice, she aggressively studied and worked to earn the credentials necessary to make her professional dream come true — owning her own business. Benjamin not only achieved that dream but on July 26, celebrated the 25th anniversary of Brahm Opticians, an independent optical store that has been fixture of the West End business community.
"I knew early on this is what I wanted to do," said Benjamin at a reception celebrating the milestone. "I have had great support from the community as a small business owner trying to raise a family on my own. I would not have this success without the help of a lot of people over the years."
Located on the ground floor of the medical building at 4660 Kenmore Ave., Brahm Opticians thrives against chain retailers by focusing on personalized customer service.
"I can't tell you how many pairs of glasses Nancy has done for me," said longtime customer and City Councilwoman Del Pepper. "There isn't anyone better than Nancy and she is a huge asset to Alexandria's small business community."
Brahm Opticians stocks a broad array of glasses and lenses for adults and children and Benjamin is known for making the extra effort to track down specialty lenses or frames for her customers.
"I won't get my glasses anywhere else," said Carolyn Graham, who playfully tried on several pairs of glasses during the celebration. "Nancy not only has a successful business, but she goes above and beyond in sharing that success with those less fortunate in the community."
Benjamin, a board member of the West End Business Association, dedicates a substantial amount of her time to philanthropic efforts. She provides financial support and donates eyeglasses to those unable to procure them on their own through the Lion's Club, T.C. Williams High School, the Alexandria Scholarship Fund, Alexandria Crew Boosters and Help the Homeless. For her service to the community, Benjamin was recognized as 2011 nominee for the city's Salute to Women Award.
"I have worked hard but also know how fortunate I have been," Benjamin said. "I have the support of my family and the best customers in the world. Without them, I wouldn't be here today."
To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Brahm Opticians is offering $25 off any pair of glasses now through Sept. 30. For more information, call 703-751-2800 or visit brahmopticians.com.