The Best Optical Shop in Town



Since 2015, Ara Toranian has been running Arto Optics, an optical store in Yerevan. In the seven years since it opened, Ara and his shop have become a neighborhood fixture, a place where people stop in just to say hello.

Born in Yerevan, 65-year-old Ara was 10 when his parents took him to Aleppo, Syria, where they set up their own optical business. Ara went to medical school but eventually became more involved in his family’s business. He met his wife on one of his visits to Armenia. Eventually, the war in Syria forced the couple to resettle there.

In 2021, Ara applied for the Small Business Assistance Program (SBA),through which he was able to purchase a wide variety of equipment like glass polishers that clean and soften lenses.

“I used to outsource this service to other ‘masters’, which cost me a lot of extra time and money. Now, thanks to FAR, I have all-inclusive services and I am the only one in the neighborhood who owns such equipment,” he said and noted that he has about 15 clients on a daily basis.

Launched in 2016, and sponsored by Howard and Catherine Atesian Family from Michigan, SBA has supported about 50 entrepreneurs who wanted to launch or expand their own small businesses. To support business development in Armenia, make a donation on FAR’s website today.