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The Brenemans Retire

Exiting a dying industry, with gratitude to their loyal customers

by Sabine Bickford

From the January, 2018 issue

After fifty years in Lamp Post Plaza, Breneman Optical will close its doors on December 30. Husband and wife Jay and Cindy Breneman say they're ready for retirement after forty years of running the business they inherited from Jay's father, Walter.

"We just wanted to do a little thank-you to all of our wonderful customers in Ann Arbor" says Cindy, who called to let us know about the closing. The couple ran the shop entirely by themselves as one of the last optical retailers in Ann Arbor without a medical professional's office attached. "We just fill prescriptions and make the glasses," says Cindy, "It's really a dying industry."

Cindy says they were lucky to have had a loyal customer base, but that online optical retailers like Warby Parker were having an effect on business from younger customers. By her account, though, even they may miss the brick-and-mortar presence. "They'll order online, but then they'll come in and say 'Can you fix this? It's so uncomfortable!'... We do," she adds. "We never turn anybody away for anything!"

They will be staying in the area, and Cindy says any of their customers who haven't had a chance to come in to the shop before it closes can still reach them regarding their accounts through the business's email and phone number (below).

Breneman Optical Inc., 971-7940,


Got a retail or restaurant change? Email or leave voicemail at (734) 769-3175 x 322.    (end of article)

[Originally published in January, 2018.]


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