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The eyes still have it

Shane Macomber/vaildaily.comOrlando Martinez, left, merged Alpine Eyewear with Dan Barry's Eyepieces. Martinez started with Barry almost two decades ago. He started Alpine Eyewear eight years ago and rejoined the Eyepieces fold earlier this month.
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EDWARDS ” Putting Orlando Martinez back together with Dan Barry was like an old friend leaving a room in the middle of a conversation and returning a few minutes later and declaring, “Now, as I was saying …”

Barry’s Eyepieces merged earlier this month with Martinez’s Alpine Eyewear, the latter coming back under the banner of the former. For customers it’s business as usual, they said.

“He’s right across the street,” Barry said. “Customers will get the same service, a better selection and the same eye doctor.”

“Alpine Eyewear has 2,000 customers, and it just got better for them,” Martinez said.

Eyepieces acquires Alpine Eyewear’s customers and Martinez will still take care of them. Alpine Eyewear had two locations, one in the Edwards Riverwalk Center and one in Wal-Mart. Those locations are now closed.

Eyepieces has three locations: two in Vail Village and one in Edwards Corner, next to Ray’s and the Marble Slab.

Martinez, who was born and raised in Leadville, started with Barry in 1989 when he was 25 years old. Barry asked Martinez’s father-in-law if he knew anyone interested in the eye business. The father-in-law said he did.

Martinez started in the lab making glasses then moved out to the retail side of the store, and by the end of his first term with Barry, he was managing three stores and was an optician.

Eight years ago he shook hands with Barry and left to start Alpine Eyewear. He bought Barry’s Avon and Edwards Eyepieces locations. Martinez’s stores were highly successful by anyone’s standards.

“Orlando should be proud of what he’s done the last eight years,” Barry said.

Eight years later Barry wanted him back. As it happens, Martinez wanted out of the business end but wanted to continue his career as an optician.

So they struck a deal to merge Alpine Eyewear into Eyepieces; Barry has his optician back, Martinez gets to go home at night, and they’re all living happily ever after.

“We’ve known each other 20 years, and we’ve never had an argument,” Barry said.

People who start with Barry tend to stick around. Two Eyepieces staffers just celebrated their 20-year anniversaries.

“There have been a lot of transitions, but it worked out well,” Martinez said. “We left on good terms eight years ago, and we’re still on good terms. Nothing has changed. Customers will get the same great products and the same great service.”

Barry was the optician for the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. The night after the games ended, he packed his sleeping bag and headed west. He landed in Vail and never left.

Barry has his own lab and can make glasses on site. They do eye exams and specialize in sports vision. You can get specialty glasses for just about anything ” flying, fishing, boating, golfing and almost anything else you can think of. They also specialize in progressive lenses, the kind that let you see from up close out to infinity.

“As they get older a lot of people are losing their near vision,” Barry said. “These allow us to see to read as clearly as we see the leaves on the trees or a hook on a fly or our computer screens.”

Barry invented prescription ski goggles. It’s part of the Smith goggle package and includes a tiny defroster fan that keeps the goggles from fogging.

Or try a custom-fitted ski helmet. Barry puts together packages of custom helmets with custom-fitted goggles.

“They’re both fit perfectly, and it makes a huge difference,” Barry said.

To celebrate Martinez’s rejoining the fold, Eyepieces is offering up to 60 percent off some select designer frames, 20 percent off some prescription sunglasses and 40 percent off some prescription eyewear.

Vail, Colorado


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