The Hing dynasty: Family affairs in Bedfordshire

One family has been passing the torch in optometry in Bedfordshire since 1979. Jo Gallacher finds out more

You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family, so the old saying goes. For some, spending Christmas day with the family causes enough bickering and sarcastic comments to cancel any future engagements for at least another year. Yet optics boasts a large number of family-run businesses and for many practices, like Hing Opticians in Shefford, Bedfordshire, it is the recipe for success.

At the head of the family is optometrist Stephen Hing, who originally set up the business in 1979 as a house practice with his wife, Jackie. Stephen bought Sydney A Smith Opticians in Bedford in 1985 and went on to purchase another property in Shefford 10 years later. Hing Opticians ran the two practices simultaneously up until 2002, when the Bedford practice was shut in order to focus the family’s efforts in one place.

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