Forty, forty forte

Forty years ago on her 40th birthday, Dame Mary Perkins was opening Specsavers’ inaugural store on the firm’s home island of Guernsey. Four decades later she returned on her 80th to unveil the group’s new look. Chris Bennett took the opportunity to catch up with the Specsavers founders

Doug and Mary Perkins celebrating 40 years of Specsavers

Valentine’s Day should be a restful time of hearts, flowers and intimate meals but for Specsavers co-founder, Dame Mary Perkins, the date has a habit of marking milestones. This February 14, Dame Mary not only celebrated her birthday but also the refit of the Guernsey practice, 40 years of Specsavers and the approach of the multiple’s 1,000th practice in the UK. Needless to say the night ended not over an intimate tête-à-tête with fellow founder and husband Doug but with a big family do.

There was no respite the following morning, as Optician took the opportunity to ask the husband and wife team to talk about four decades of Specsavers past, present and future. Rewinding to 1984, Dame Mary and Doug had already chalked up considerable success in optometry with their West Country chain of Bebbington and Perkins. Optician asked what their goals were in the run up to starting Specsavers.

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