Randy Bott is finding success while realizing a vision at his shop in the Marco Walk Plaza.
The optician is the owner-manager of Marco Optical, which offers prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses from around the world. Aside from top designers like Tom Ford, Lilly Pulitzer, Armani, and Dolce and Gabbana, the store also has an international flair, with boutique lines from Italy, France, Poland, Japan and Spain.
This is Bott’s 25th year in the optical business and his third optical boutique. He previously owned stores in Bonita Beach and then Sarasota, but with this new venture, he’s taken a different, more satisfying approach to his inventory.
“I really enjoy and really focus on the ‘more-boutique’ lines,” he explained, “because they’re fun and unique and interesting and it’s not something that 10 places between here and Naples have. I handpicked every frame here. When I decided to open this I decided that it’s more fun to sell Ferraris and Bentleys than it is Kias and Toyotas.”
Marco Optical opened in August in a storefront that, ironically, had been the longtime home of another optical store. The Optical Boutique of Marco occupied the space for 15 years before the March, 2019 death of its owner-optician, the late Greta Markowski-Ficarra, who owned the business for 25 years.
Bott, who’d sold his other stores, became aware of the empty storefront when contacted by Marco Walk’s owner, North Miami Beach-based Venetian Investments, LLC, to see if he might be interested in leasing it.
“I came down and looked at it and decided that I wanted to make a go of it, but do it a little different this time,” he said. “I wanted to see more boutique-type, interesting frames that you can’t find at every store you go to.”
Markowski-Ficarra’s impact is still being felt within the shop’s walls. Bott said a good portion of his business has come from her former customers. “They love what I’m carrying,” he added. “It’s been a very positive thing so far. I’m sort of carrying on her tradition.”
Opening during the pandemic hasn’t proven to be a major stumbling block for Marco Optical.
“I’m doing very well,” said Bott. “I think it’s because the business has been so well-established. I think it’s also because Florida has been kept open and we haven’t closed down like a lot of states. Of course it (the pandemic’s affect) was a concern, but entrepreneurs are risk takers. It’s something I always wanted to do and I’m doing it the way I’ve wanted to do it, with the higher-end, boutique lines.”
Marco Optical is located at, 599 S. Collier Boulevard. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/pages/category/Optician/Marco-Optical-102929778197788/ or www.instagram.com/marco.optical/ or call 970-2169.