By Denis Langlois

Erica Seyler says her Sault Ste. Marie-based Eye Deal Optical has evolved over the years from a conservative, budget-friendly eyewear shop into something more.

“We will always offer plenty of those options but have added more to our arsenal,” she tells Optical Prism magazine.

“We now offer more new up-and-coming trends and brands as well as high-quality premium lenses with the latest technology that are on the market. We want to make sure we have exactly what our clients want, whether it be big or small, extravagant or basic.”

Eye Deal Optical first opened in 1995 by optician Alison Stemp. Seyler, also a licenced optician, came on board in 2003 and purchased the business when Stemp retired in 2013.

Recently, Seyler talked about her business and its future with Optical Prism.

Q. What are some of the benefits of operating an independent outlet?

A. There are many benefits. One that comes to mind is that we have the freedom to order such a broad range of frames and lenses. We are not tied down to certain products. I like being able to try new things that have come available to us in the industry with little restrictions. If a customer comes in and asks about a frame they saw while they were away on vacation, I can explore the option of potentially bringing that frame or line into the store. It plays to our advantage so we can offer our customers more choice. I also love the feeling of contributing to our community and its economy.

Q. Tell us about the brands available at Eye Deal Optical.

A. We do very well with popular brands such as Ray-Ban, Coach, Tory Burch and Tom Ford. We are just now starting to explore some more independent and boutique-style frames as well. We have been very happy to feature Nikon digital lenses with much success.

Q. What kind of marketing tools do you use to promote your business?

We have used print, television, radio, Internet, social media and a mobile sign, but our biggest and best marketing tool is 100 per cent word of mouth. We pride ourselves on our customers referring new business to us. This is one of the ways we see things come full circle. We have such a great staff and I attribute so much of our success to that.

Q. Are there any changes or plans for the future for the store?

A. The store has come a long way over the past 22 years and I would love nothing more than to see it continue to grow and flourish. I am very happy with what we have become thus far and I love that, in a sense, our brand is our people. We have become who we are because of the generosity of our customers, the support of our community and the vision and dedication of our staff.