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Bowers & Snyder has been a constant fixture on the Baltimore eye care and eyewear scene since its opening in 1947. Today, Brad Bowers, the son of the company’s founder, works with a team of opticians and eye care specialists at four stores throughout the region, including one in Cross Keys, which opened in 1990.

Here, Bowers discusses what he likes most about his job, good (and useful!) holiday gift recommendations and which celebrities have hit Bowers & Snyder for a bit of eyewear help:

How did you get into the optician business?

I’m second generation – a Bowers. My dad started the company in 1947. I started working with him in 1966 and have been here ever since.

What is your favorite service to provide your customers – or favorite pair of glasses or contacts to sell?

One is helping them find the right style – what looks good and will also fit comfortably and work for their prescription. Sometimes there are limitations based on prescription needs.

The other part is services – keeping the glasses comfortable, little repairs and adjustments.

What holiday gifts are available from Bowers & Snyder – and what is your go-to recommendation?

We have gift certificates and small stocking stuffer type gifts. Eyeglass chains – we also call them leashes – or a pretty case for mom or someone else who wears glasses. Non-prescription sunglasses are another gift.

But most eyewear, even non-prescription sunglasses, are so personalized. It’s a matter of taste and what will fit the bridge of your nose and look good on you. Without trying them on, it’s difficult to pick something out for someone else. Sometimes a gift certificate is the best fit.

What style icon or celebrity could you imagine shopping at Bowers & Snyder?

James Caan, Clint Eastwood and Jim Palmer have all been in.

What’s new and exciting at Bowers & Snyder?

We have some redecorating in the offing – new carpeting and chairs and that sort of thing.

On a product basis, that’s just constant. Hardly a month goes by that we don’t get a still better lens – it just keeps rolling. That’s exciting for us. For many years it was same old-same old and now we have new lens materials, new product design on the bifocals. It’s constant.

Bowers & Snyder is located at 32 Village Square in the Village of Cross Keys in Baltimore. For more information, visit

Kit Waskom Pollard is a Baltimore Fishbowl contributing writer. She writes Hot Plate every Friday in the Baltimore Fishbowl.