For more than 17 years Frank Stewart has been helping people see clearly from his idyllic little shop in Mitton Village. Now you might be tempted to confuse The Eye Guy with a high-end boutique – given the attention to detail, impressive selection of choice and personal attention. The truth is you will find all of those perks with many options in the mid-range price. You don’t just become The Eye Guy overnight though – Frank Stewart has spent years earning his reputation. Once employed by a local retailer, the licensed Optician has been associated with the role for so long that when he ventured out on his own, it only made sense to keep the title so many had already given him, “The Eye Guy”.
All small businesses start with an idea. Add an ounce of passion and some industry knowledge and you have the makings of a concrete plan. Frank was fortunate to connect with the Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation 18 years ago and gained valuable knowledge from their team. The Business Counselling services helped him create a viable business plan while also providing him the tools he would need to succeed on his own. They taught him accounting so that he was armed with as much knowledge as possible – and it worked. He does his own books, incorporated early on and gained the confidence he needed to approach banks for financing. Like most small business owners, he faced some “No’s” along the way, but he knew his plan was solid and forged ahead. An active community member for many years, he has stood the test of time and proven his longevity. There has been a lot of learning in the 17 years since he decided to open his business. He is ripe with wisdom for new entrepreneurs who are considering taking the same path. That wisdom is tempered with reality . “Give it five years” Frank says, when asked what other entrepreneurs can expect. “The early stages can be really trying, eventually as you get to year five, you can see a direction and it might be year 10 or 12 before you see financial success”. Frank credits the support and services offered at the SLBDC with helping him survive that first year. Many without supports never do.
It’s clear to see what clientele like about The Eye Guy. Customers deal with only one person. There is never any confusion about what was promised yesterday. Inventory is kept fresh, and if he doesn’t have it – he can probably get it. Frank understands his industry and has experience not only with regular glasses and contacts but also boasts more than 35 years of experience working with and fitting safety glasses. In addition to the traditional lenses, you will find the latest technology available at The Eye Guy, including lenses with Digital Surfacing for Hi Def vision and options for athletes and children as well as a “two pair special” for those of us who frequently misplace our trusty glasses.
A majority of The Eye Guy’s customers are from within Lambton County, but sometimes, customers move away or leave for University and they still count on Frank to keep their vision crystal clear. He works with a Lab in London , and as an independent, he can count on the personal service and recognition he gets from his own suppliers to trickle down to his customers. Aside from a single break for family vacation in summer, Frank Stewart is always ready to serve his customers. They know they can count on him, so if by chance they arrive at his door during that summer holiday; they tend to wait for the next week rather than go to a different business. That is a true testament to the depth of his customer care and the dedication of his customers.
If you would like to know more about The Eye Guy, you can check out his website at www.theeyeguysarnia.com . Frank Stewart can be reached by phone at (519) 337-4060 or in person at 147 N. Mitton Street.