WATCH: A Beloved Small Business in The Bronx That Paid All Employees While Closed Due to COVID-19 Reopens

If you’re from The Bronx then you know about Metro Optics, a local home-grown small business that is still operated by the same owners for over 40 years.

Like many businesses, they were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and out of an abundance of caution, they decided to close their doors of all but one store on March 19 in order to protect their employees and clients alike.

The remaining store at Westchester Square remained open but on a very limited basis.

Despite shutting down, John Bonizio, decided to continue paying all of his 56 employees.

According to PIX11 News, that meant that he had to utilize not only $350,000 of his own money but he also borrowed $250,000 against his life insurance policy.

But to myself and others in The Bronx who know him, we know that this is who he is and what Metro Optics embodies.

Metro Optics isn’t just a place to get your eyes checked up and get your glasses or contacts but they are a true and generous community partner throughout the over 40 years they have been in business.

Judith Greifer-Braunstein, a retired school nurse told Welcome2TheBronx her fond memories of Metro Optics, “I was a school nurse at CS 102 in Parkchester for 30 years”, she said.

“I had many children who really needed glasses, but couldnt afford them. I approached Michael Ungaro, one of the owners of Metro Optics, and explained the situation. He was so wonderful, as long as he had a letter of consent from the parent, he would examine their eyes. If glasses were needed he let the child pick any ones he wanted. He said if they didn’t like them, they wouldn’t wear them. I retired in 2008 with respect and gratitude for Michael and his help for the needy children.” Greifer-Braunstein added.

The spirit of Metro Optics as embodied by Bonizio and Ungaro is the spirit of The Bronx. We know first hand that life isn’t easy and that together as a community, we can survive easier than if we are left alone.

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We couldn’t be prouder to not only be a client of Metro Optics but friends of this noble Bronx business.

All their Bronx locations are now open, Parkchester, Westchester Square, Hunts Point, and Throggs Neck, and should you need to make an appointment just head over to their website.

Watch the video below:

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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.