“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten.” Spoken more than two centuries ago by Benjamin Franklin, this statement stills rings true today. We, as consumers, are all too often sucked in by the deep-discount deals designed to push sales volume. Once the allure of having “saved” money wears off, we’re often left with a product that doesn’t quite deliver what it promised to. Then we begin at square one again.
Enter Beaulieu Vision Eye Care Boutique, a family-run business that has established quite a following in The Kingsway and beyond for its attention to detail when it comes to both service and product. Opened more than ten years ago in a space that once housed a shoe store and later a restaurant, Beaulieu Vision is a full-service optical that takes you from eye examination to eyewear purchase with an ease of transaction that you just can’t get anywhere else. And the design of their lenses cannot be easily duplicated by any ordinary optical business. Beaulieu Vision uses state-of-theart instruments to deliver high-resolution, maximum performance, custom-made lenses that even have the patients’ initials on them. Now that’s a personal touch!
After years of working in the optical business with ophthalmologists in Etobicoke and specializing in contact lens fittings – she is known as somewhat of a guru in the contact lens fitting business – Cathy Beaulieu decided to strike out on her own. She was inspired by colleagues of hers who were doing the same and liked the fashion direction in which the eyewear business was headed. With her brother Tom and colleague Wolfgang on board (both licensed opticians), she happily settled on the Kingsway location she had worked across the street from since the mid-‘80s. And in February of 1999, Beaulieu Vision was open for business.
Cathy’s two daughters helped in the family business from an early age, filing papers, answering phones and sharing opinions on frames with customers. The girls also travelled with their mother to eyewear expos in New York, Paris and Milan, getting a big taste of the fashion side of the business. Her youngest daughter Jennifer, in particular, wanted to become more involved in the business but didn’t have the needed qualifications. So the two-year Opticianry program at Georgian College plus a two-year co-op placement paved the way for her full-time assistance in the store. Now she is the go-to frame stylist. If she doesn’t think a particular set of frames looks good on you – even if you do – she won’t let you plunk down your money and leave the store. She’ll suggest other options based on your face’s shape, your skin tone and other factors before you make your final decision. Ask any of the hundreds of customers seeking her advice – she is always right. Many fashion-conscious patients or those wanting the appropriate look for their lifestyle will make a special trip to hear Jennifer’s professional opinion.
While all members of the well-rounded Beaulieu Vision team are educated in every facet of the optical industry, each has his/her own specialty. For Cathy, it is contact lenses; Jennifer is the frame stylist; and Wolfgang and Tom are the experts in optical lab finishing. It’s a team that works efficiently to deliver a level of service unmatched by the big chains.
Because they are an independent optical boutique, Beaulieu Vision is not limited in their resources or their frames. They can call on any lens manufacturer they wish, meaning they can better match the individual needs of their clients. If they can’t pick the right set of frames from among the more than 20 lines they carry in-store, they will actually visit trade shows with a handful of clients in mind, searching for frames that match their needs.
And if the satisfaction of buying your eyewear from Beaulieu Vision isn’t enough, it’s nice to know that they are a business with a heart. The annual Out of the Cold concert at Our Lady of Sorrows was born from a conversation Cathy had with one of her patients several years ago. Sponsored by the Kingsway Business Improvement Area, of which Cathy is currently vice-chair, the November Christmas concert now serves as the biggest fundraiser for the Out of the Cold program at All Saints’ Anglican Church, which helps keeps people in need warm during the winter months. Beaulieu Vision also supports Read for the Cure and has been a fixture with the annual Taste of the Kingsway Festival from its small existence on a side street to its present of stature as one of the top festivals in Ontario and one that attracts more than 250,000 people each year.
Beaulieu Vision puts their customers first. They treat them like family, placing a huge importance on their eye health and providing them with the best quality products available for their unique needs. That’s just the way a family business should be. And that’s what keeps people coming back for generations.
Beaulieu Vision carries contact lenses and a wide variety of the latest and hottest fashion frames available in the industry today from such noted manufacturers as J.F. Rey, Lafont, Tom Ford, Chanel, Tiffany, Oliver Peoples, Martin & Martin, Ray-Ban, Maui Jim, Theo and many others. They offer on-site eye examinations of all types as well as free exams for kids 18 years of age and younger. To learn more, call 416-233-EYES (3937), email firstname.lastname@example.org or go online to beaulieuvisioncare.com. Beaulieu Vision is located at 2938 Bloor St. West, just west of Prince Edward Drive.