Q and A: Sergio Guayante at Lesco Optique

June 20, 2012

Sergio Guayante persistently urged his business partner, David Lester, for a number of years to open a Lesco Optics store Downtown. Guayante finally won Lester over and in December 2011 they opened Lesco Optique, 25 E. Congress. Eventually, the company headquarters, laboratory and manufacturing operation will move to Lesco Optique, which has more of a boutique ambience than the other Lesco Optics glasses shops on the East Side, Northwest Side, South Side and Mid-Town.

Sergio Guayante

Q: What’s up with calling the Downtown store “Optique”?

Guayante: Optique is part of the design of the store. It’s a large store, but we still offer the value pricing.

Q: How are you able to sell single vision glasses for $29 and bifocals for $49?

Guayante: We don’t accept insurance. That allows us to offer better prices as well as our high volumes. We negotiate really well.

Q: What’s it like having a Downtown store?

Guayante: We have quite a following. It’s word of mouth. They want to call it their own store. It’s the community. They’re coming to us. They are helping us during the construction.

Q: Do you have more customers who work Downtown or live in the Downtown neighborhoods?

Guayante: It’s about 50-50 right now. I expected a little more foot traffic from people working here. We get people from Armory Park, Iron Horse, also West University and the West Side. Surprisingly, we’ve seen a lot of people from South Tucson. Some were going  to our Valencia location.

Q: How many Lesco stores are there?

Guayante: We have seven locations. We did a little different advertising for this store. We did a lot of fliers in Armory Park, Menlo Park and the university area.

Q: How’s business Downtown?

Guayante: The first four months were huge, our fastest growing store yet.

Q: What has streetcar construction been like?

Guayante: The message has to be a positive message. The positive message is we’re here, we’re here to service you. We have to be positive because we will get over this.

Q: What future do you see with the streetcar?

Guayante: I think it will be huge. It will move a lot of people, especially students. Also, a lot of West Side people work at UMC. Also, the streetcar goes right by our door.

Q: What impact do you see student housing having?

Guayante: I think it will increase business for all of Downtown.

Q: What’s the newest fun item you have?

Guayante: We have our high-end sunglasses, Rudy Projects. It’s a high-quality sunglasses, used for sports. We also have our house brand, 34 Degrees. Those are all polarized sunglasses.

Q: What’s on your mind today?

Guayante: I’m just excited to be Downtown. It’s a great place. The community here is awesome. I’ve never seen that in our other places. There’s a sense of belonging with the community down here.

Q: What’s your favorite Downtown event?

Guayante: Because I’m always working, I have to think about that. I like the movies at the Fox. Most of the films they show are older films and I love that.

Q: What do you like to do when you’re away from the store?

Guayante: My thing is I’m always working. I don’t have a true personal life at this moment. I’m a busy person.

Q: You have a business partner, David Lester. How did the two of you decide to open a store Downtown?

Guayante: Really, it was me pushing him into going into this with me. This is my brainchild. I didn’t want a regular Lesco operation. I wanted something that would fit in Downtown and be different. But we still offer our value pricing.

Q: How long have you lived in Tucson?

Guayante: I was four when we moved here from Nogales. I consider myself a native.

Q: You grew up living Downtown.

Guayante: Downtown was fun. We had Thrifty with the ice cream. We used to swim in the fountain at the TCC. That was our swimming pool. I lived in Iron Horse. I grew up with my friends from Empire Market. We visited Downtown. We rode our bikes down here. We had a lot of fun.

Q: What do you think of the new Downtown?

Guayante: I think it’s great for Tucson. It opens up a venue where people can come down here and have dinner, go to a show. There’s a great nightlife here but I think there needs to be a good day life, too.

Q: What would make Downtown a better place?

Guayante: I believe more service oriented businesses. We really need a grocery store down here. That’s a plea to Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. The community is looking for you down here.

Q: Where do you like to eat Downtown?

Guayante: I love Poca Cosa, the HUB. Monkey Burger is great.