Earlier this year I named Eric Healey, owner of Container Park’s Monocle Optical, as one of the city’s coolest business owners in Vegas Seven’s Best of the City issue. I did this because it’s true. Healey is an absolute mensch. He donates free, custom-made eyeglasses to Las Vegans in need and does business fairly and openly. I sincerely doubt you could find sunglasses or eyeglasses of Monocle’s quality offered cheaper anywhere in the Valley. His glasses are nearly 75% cheaper than retail.
Point is, Healey recognized a problem–eyeglasses cost too friggin’ much–and decided to do something about it. But it hasn’t been easy. He doesn’t do a huge volume of business because he’s hidden away on Container Park’s third floor (did you even know they had a third floor?), and he hasn’t had a day off in months.
With his talents, Healey could easily get work in one of those optometry joints where eyeglasses cost as much as a damn moped, have Sundays and Mondays off and make what we in the business call family money. But he’s sticking it out, because he wants you to have affordable specs.
This week, Healey was hit with an $8,860 bill from Container Park owner the Downtown Project. Much of that total is back rent (Healey admits that Monocle had a slow summer, perhaps because no one wants to visit a solid-metal box when it’s 110 degrees outside), but a substantial portion is seemingly arbitrary fees levied against Healey by Container Park, which the Review-Journal’s Alan Snel explains here.
Healey, who’s sunk $200,000 of his own money into Monocle, is facing an undeserved eviction. A friend of Healey’s has started up a GoFundMe campaign in the hopes of paying down Monocle’s fees. Healey promises that anything raised above the $8,860 bill will go back into his efforts to supply Las Vegas’ needy with free eyeglasses. I know that it seems weird, giving money to a business and getting nothing back. But I wouldn’t ask if I hadn’t met Eric Healey, and purchased goods at Monocle. He’s the real deal. Monocle is a business that deserves to succeed, and Healey’s a businessman who deserves a successful business. Let’s help him out, if we can.
UPDATE, NOV. 14: Downtown Project now says it’ll grant Monocle an extra month to right the ship. Downtown Project Ventures CEO Mark Rowland–an innately decent guy and another Best of The City winner–told the Review-Journal that he’ll work with Healey to determine how viable Monocle is as a business. “We need to be more humane,” Rowland told reporter Snel. In the meantime, let’s keep showing Healey our support.