She was bold enough to venture into unknown territory

Thursday, 28 March 2024 02:48 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Unlike today, three decades ago not many females dared touch business as their career –at least in Sri Lanka. The situation is totally different today. We hear so often of successful businesswomen. However, a young girl who went to UK and returned professionally qualified as an optometrist had the guts to venture into the business world. She had considerable experience both in UK and here. It was March 1984 when Anoma Wijesuriya opened her practice in Nugegoda. She had one person to assist her. Even though there were ladies in the optical industry they were from family businesses. Anoma was the first female in the optical field who started on her own and happened to be the seventh optician to set up business in Nugegoda. 

Today 40 years later, Anoma opticians is a well-known name not only in and around Nugegoda but in distant areas from Jaffna through Nuwara Eliya to Matara too. As the business grew she moved into a bigger place. Over the years the customer base had widened, staff has increased virtually twenty-fold, the workshop is kept pretty busy all the time. A wide range of frames personally selected by Anoma including designer to economical and also accessories fill the showcases. In fact, there are many overseas customers as well. Many Sri Lankans and foreigners living abroad prefer to get their spectacles from Anoma’s when they come here as they know the care and attention that goes towards the customers and the product, keeping to British standards.

As she prepares to celebrate the big day on 28 March, I asked her what the secret of success is. She gave a simple answer. “Quality of our service and quality of our products” was her answer. “Our staff is well trained, experienced and they are friendly and courteous. They are experienced to select the right product to suit the customer’s needs”, she elaborated.

The staff is customer friendly. They listen to the customers, they assess their needs. “We educate the customers. Sometimes we talk to them for hours explaining why a particular type of lens or frame suits them. In the case of the Ienses, we select what is most suitable according to the customer’s profession depending on the work he or she does. A frame should suit his or her shape of the face”, she points out. I have personally experienced the high quality service. Having been educated and trained in UK, right from the start Anoma tried to maintain British standards which were universally accepted as top quality “This has paid dividends throughout the forty years”, she proudly claimed.

Housed on the first floor of the Amara Nagaraya- the five storied building between Anula Vidyalaya and St. Joesph’s School, it’s difficult for anyone to miss the striking Anoma Opticians name board. On the same Floor is the workshop. The close proximity between the shop and the workshop minimises the time taken for any repairs or adjustments in the spectacles.

Anoma makes it a point to be on hand providing a personalised service to customers. Knowing of her knowledge and experience, the customers naturally wish to get her advice and guidance. Although it is a tough ask she tries hard to spend as much time as possible at the practice. 

In her forty year journey, Anoma’s yet another success story of a businesswoman.