Popular Fire Blocks business in downtown Dayton will not close after all

A business in the Fire Blocks District that sells affordable eyewear that closed its doors earlier this month will reopen early next year.

Kevin Harrington, owner of Downtown Dayton Optical at 112 E. Third St., thought his business was going to close for good, but his son, Sean Harrington, has agreed to take it over.

Harrington said he is thrilled that his son will follow in his footsteps and take over a store and job he absolutely loved.

“It’s the best job I ever had, hands down,” Harrington said. “You really feel connected to the community, and you get to know people and you get to help them with something that is incredibly important in their life, which is their sight.”

Harrington opened his store in the Fire Blocks District in downtown Dayton in 2009, long before the district’s recent transformation into a hotbed of new housing, restaurants and bars.

Harrington said he recently decided to close the business after he became very sick with COVID-19.

Harrington, 67, said he has some other health issues he wants to address, and he also wants to spend more time working on a passion of his: stained glass artwork.

He has a studio in a building on Linden Avenue.

Harrington said Downtown Dayton Optical shut down on Sept. 8, but it will reopen Jan. 2.

Harrington said he is going to spend the next several months training his son, who also needs to get licensed.

He said he will decrease his hours significantly once his son is up to speed.

Sean Harrington until recently worked as a fire paramedic in Washington, D.C., but the hardships of his job took a toll and he was ready for a change, Harrington said.

Harrington said his business philosophy has always been to sell a good product at a fair price and not take advantage of people.

Patrons told this newspaper that Downtown Dayton Optical’s lenses and eyewear are cheaper than any other store they’ve visited.

The shop, which makes and fits lenses, usually has about 1,500 frames on display, but it also has roughly 10,000 more in stock.

Prices are going up a little bit, but they are still hard to beat, Harrington said.

Instead of two pairs of single-vision glasses for $60 they will now cost $64, he said. He said two pair of bifocals will see a similarly small price increase.

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