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Chris Kazarian at AmericanSunglass

Technically, I’ve purchased sunglasses before. I qualify this statement because it all depends on what your definition of sunglasses is. If it means the plastic, $10 and under ones sold at big box stores or small, neighborhood pharmacies, then I’m a seasoned pro.

Which means I’m also a seasoned pro at breaking and losing them. When you spend less than the equivalent of two Starbucks cups of coffees on sunglasses, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be careless with them. 

All of this is a precursor to my first real trip to an actual retailer, American Sunglass in Falmouth. I’ve admittedly never stepped foot into a sunglass shop, browsed for name brand sunglasses and bought a pair that I was truly proud of wearing. Until last month.

What changed? Well, I’ve been writing the majority of blogs for American Sunglass for well over a year. I’ve learned about polarized technology; the history of Ray-Ban; and the potential health impacts to our eyes due to prolonged exposure to the sun.

Some of the writing has been fun and some of it has been educational. And a lot of it lingers in the back of my mind until those moments of clarity arrive and I think to myself, “Why don’t you own a decent pair of sunglasses?” Usually, those thoughts arrive as I’m driving home, squinting to discern the color of the traffic lights as the sun temporarily paralyzes my vision.

So yeah, it would basically be good to see when inside two tons worth of moving steel.

That practicality was the motivation behind my purchase which found me inside the American Sunglass brick and mortar store at the end of October. If you’ve never been, it’s on Falmouth’s Main Street which has the charming, quaint feel of small, historic New England. Independently owned boutique stores, restaurants and two ice cream shops line the downtown area which features a well-manicured lawn where there’s a statue of Katharine Lee Bates, a recently renovated library, several impressive elms and a walkway dedicated to the town’s veterans. There’s a definite sense of place and history here, all wrapped up in a general warmth; this is how you imagine all downtown areas should feel.

While the brick façade of American Sunglass embodies that spirit, the inside is light, airy and modern. There are rows and rows of sunglasses. It can be overwhelming with so many choices, but the store is laid out by brands, making it easier to find the exact look and style that suits you. There are Ray-Bans (hip, edgy), Costas (rugged, sleek), Oakleys (sporty) and Maui Jims (durable, outdoorsy), just to name a few.

The staff is friendly, educated and not overly aggressive. While I walked in unsure of what to buy, I quickly focused on the Maui Jims. Perhaps it’s because I live near the water - the brand is the choice of many fishermen and boaters, though I don’t do either. Well, I have been on a boat, but not enough that the word can be used as a noun to describe me.

I ended up going with the black Maui Jim Peahi. Carly, the consultant, told me they are one of the most popular styles they sell which means one thing: I have great taste.

As for the sunglasses: I like them. A lot. Especially when I’m driving. One of these days, I may wear them on a boat. But that’s for next summer.

If you happen to live in Boston, Newport or Cape Cod, I encourage you to check out American Sunglass, or one of their sister stores. Your experience will most likely be like mine – easy, inspiring and fun. And if you happen to live elsewhere, check out their online store. You’ll be supporting a small business and its dedicated staff that contributes to the fabric of its local community.

This blog was penned by Chris Kazarian, a regular contributor to American Sunglass and now a first-time proud owner of Maui Jims. We asked him to pick his three favorite blogs he has written for us. Here they are, in no particular order:

Becca Pizzi BlogBelmont mother who ran seven marathons on seven continents in seven days.

Shaun Cunningham – Remember the dad who blocked a baseball bat with his forearm during a spring training game to protect his son? Chris tracked him down and interviewed him.

Sean Swarner – Not only did Swarner conquer cancer, he conquered Mount Everest, and each of the highest peaks in every continent, serving as an inspiration to countless others.