Duncan and Todd Group, Scotland’s largest independent optician and hearing care provider, has opened its new £1.5million lens manufacturing laboratory in Aberdeen.

Buoyed by the Group’s continued growth, which has seen the optics firm and lens manufacturer outgrow its current site, the investment in Caledonian Optical has tripled its current capacity, allowing the leading ophthalmic manufacturer to increase the volume of high-tech lenses being produced.

The investment has been underpinned by the appointment of industry specialist Stuart Neilson to the newly created role of commercial director.

Stuart brings a broad range of industry expertise including almost 20 years’ experience in the optical and hearing sectors, working with some of the most prestigious names in the industry.

He joins Duncan and Todd from his role as managing director UK of contact lens specialist Mark’ennovy and will be charged with identifying new opportunities for business growth as the group continues to expand its reach across the country.

Duncan and Todd Group and Caledonian Optical are moving all 66 members of staff to the new site, located close to Aberdeen International Airport in Dyce.

This includes employees from its former lab in the city centre, all senior staff based at Duncan and Todd Group’s head office on Crown Street and management from its corporate offering, Smart Employee Eyecare (SEE).

Mark Robertson, head of manufacturing at Caledonian Optical, said: “After more than 40 years at our city centre location, the whole team at Caledonian Optical and Duncan and Todd are hugely excited about our move to new premises. We have been able to create a bespoke space and invest in the very latest digital lenses technology.”

Established in 1976, Caledonian Optical specialises in the research, design and manufacturing of premium digital lenses, offering an extensive range of lenses to suit individual’s needs.

The company has grown to be one of the UK’s leading labs for the latest digital lenses using free-form technology.

In addition to manufacturing lenses for Duncan and Todd branches throughout Scotland, Caledonian Optical also provides lenses to more than 200 clients across the UK, including independent opticians and multi-chain brands.

Mark continued: “As long-time pioneers of innovation in optics, the new lab will offer the very latest equipment for manufacturing bespoke prescription lenses for our customers.

“As part of Duncan and Todd Group’s wider remit of operating a greener business, striving to reduce its carbon footprint, we have invested in new machinery which uses recycled wastewater for processing. This is a fantastic step forward for the business, and one that we know is important to our customers,” he added.

Frances Rus, managing director of Duncan and Todd Group said: “We are significantly expanding both our capacity and scope to better meet today’s requirements for world-leading lenses. Clients want bespoke solutions that work for their customers and patients, and our new digital lenses, designed with lifestyles in mind, meet these demands.

“The new lab strengthens this offering and will see us continue to provide clients the quality service they have been accustomed to, while offering them even more innovative solutions, with the capability to accept larger volumes of work.

“As part of our growth strategy, we are delighted to have Stuart on board as our new commercial director, as we continue to grow through acquisitions and investment in our new lens manufacturing lab, which will considerably increase our production capacity.

“He brings significant experience in the optical sector and we look forward to continued growth in the coming months.”

Stuart said: “I’m excited to be joining Duncan and Todd at a time when it is experiencing considerable growth both geographically and through the provision of additional services. I’m looking forward to supporting the group as it continues to grow, expanding its reach across the UK to bring its expertise and innovation to a new cohort of customers.”

This latest news follows a special anniversary year, which saw Duncan and Todd Group mark its 50th anniversary.

The investment in the lab follows a string of recent acquisitions across the country, as well as the appointment of a product development manager, Gillian Sibeth.

The group has recently acquired a number of independent opticians, including Eyewise Optometrists on Banchory’s High Street, Pitlochry Opticians, G A Henderson Optometrist in Thurso and The Spectacle Company in Stonehaven and Montrose.

This followed the acquisition of nine practices from Black & Lizars in 2019, which bolstered Duncan and Todd’s reach across Scotland, from the Borders and central belt to the Highlands and Islands.

Duncan and Todd Group was founded in 1972 by Norman Duncan and Stewart Todd, when they opened their first branch in Peterhead. It has since expanded significantly and now has more than 44 branches across Scotland.

Over the past few years, the group has also invested in hearing care and also offers this service across Scotland, with free hearing tests and supply, fitting and tuning of a comprehensive range of hearing aids, including digital aids.

More like this…

View all