The End of and Era

The end of an era but a path to something better

Times are changing for a 134-year-old Belfast-based optical practice as Petticrew Optometrists joins prestigious NI group Mackey Opticians to form a revamped practice in Church Lane.

Andrew Petticrew BSc(Hons) MCOptom Prof Cert Glauc

Andrew Petticrew, the fourth generation of the Petticrew family to work in eye care, shared his “excitement” at the merger: “I have been truly passionate about delivering the best standard of eye care and the best products available anywhere in Northern Ireland for 20 years now, alongside my late father,” he explained. “This move is a step change towards being able to deliver high-quality, consistent and enduring care and I’m thrilled to be welcomed into the Mackey fold,” he added.

Mackey Opticians, third generation itself, has built a reputation for delivering excellence and innovation in the field. The 14 practices distributed throughout the province continue to maintain the feel of a family-run business despite the group’s increasing size. Brothers, Mark, Richard and Chris Mackey are at the helm with ongoing input and support from their father, Jimmy.

Petticrew Optometrists, established in 1887, was originally a jewellers, clocksmiths and opticians on Lisburn’s Bow Street before moving to Belfast’s Cornmarket in 1969. Building on his father Frank’s enthusiasm for learning and commitment to clinical excellence, Andrew has developed a number of different areas of special interest within the practice, including medical contact lenses, eye care for children and babies, and glaucoma. This skill set is well aligned to complement the expertise developed by specialist practitioners in Mackey Opticians.

Explaining the benefits of joining forces, Andrew said: “Running a small business nowadays involves a huge compliance load. You need specialists in IT, finance, HR, marketing and many more to meet obligations to a large number of different organisations like Companies House, HMRC, the NHS, and the General Optical Council.”

“The time, effort and discipline required to do all of this is not easily paid for by one optometrist in one consulting room. Indeed, the strength Mackey Opticians brings in this will help us do it better across the board.”

Chris Mackey says, “We’re delighted to welcome Andrew and his team at Petticrew Optometrists to Mackey Opticians. Andrew brings a depth of experience and the whole team bring a level of enthusiasm to their practice which we are sure will make them an important part of the future development of the wider Mackey Opticians group. Like Andrew’s, ours is a multi-generational family practice and we share very similar priorities and approaches to our work.”

Andrew added: “Our new premises on Church Lane, which is the main route from Victoria Square to the Cathedral Quarter, will be undergoing a full makeover to accommodate new stock, state of the art equipment, and a fabulous team. We’re enthused and raring to go.”

Lily Smyth, practice manager, shared Andrew’s enthusiasm: “This is an exciting opportunity for Petticrew Optometrists and Mackey Opticians to join together to do what we do best, putting our people first. We are looking forward to welcoming our patients to the Church Lane practice and to introducing ourselves to some new faces. This will be a wonderful new chapter.”