By Denis Langlois
Residents of St. Albert, Alta., have chosen MDO Opticians as the city’s best optical business for the past 10 consecutive years.
It’s an important honour for the third-generation, family-run business, says owner Douglas Reinbold.
“Winning the ‘best of awards’ so many times in our cities is important to us because it shows we are listening and staying connected to our communities,” he says.
“At the speed our business is changing, it is absolutely imperative to listen and adjust. We are like a small boat that can turn on a dime, while the big companies are like cruise ships taking a long time to chart a course and change direction.”
MDO Opticians traces its roots back nearly four decades to when Reinbold’s mother Marian Deptula opened her first optical shop in St. Albert.
Marian was an optical industry trailblazer who became one of the first opticians in Alberta in 1977. She was the first woman inducted into the Alberta College & Association of Opticians Hall of Fame in 2014.
MDO Opticians, now owned and operated by Reinbold, his partner Jackie Fox and daughter Brittany, opened a second location, Women with Vision, 15 years ago in Edmonton.
The MDO team includes 15 employees.
Recently, we spoke with Douglas about MDO Opticians/Women with Vision.
- What eyewear products do you carry?
- We are independent from our attitude to our collections of the best in eyewear. We really avoid cookie-cutter brands. We have never been enamored by the persona they attempt to create. It boils down to quality, value, shape, colour, style and support systems by the vendors.
Andy Wolf, Anne and Valentine, Caroline Abram, Blake Kuwahara, Cutler & Gross, Etnia Barcelona, Kirk&Kirk, Matsuda, Face a Face, Res/Rei are just a few of the amazing brands we dispense.
- What is the secret to your success?
- Without a doubt the biggest reason for our success is an unwavering passion for the industry and our clients. But also a “no fear” attitude in changing the way our profession looks at things.
- What are the benefits of operating an independent optical?
- Independents are always the facilitators of change and open the doors of new possibilities, creating better ways to do what we do. We are not encumbered by conglomerate decision-makers focused on profits for their shareholders. Instead, we focus on making the experience for our clients personal and caring. Our decisions are based on a street level of talking to our team and customers to find out what their needs really are. The best part is discovering a need they never knew they had.
- What are your plans for the future of the business?
- Moving forward, we would like to expand the Women with Vision brand into every major city in Canada, partnering with amazing optometrists who are fiercely independent.