Paul Manocha has always had his eye on the ball.
After graduating in marketing from BCIT, he turned to the eye care field and decided to become licensed optician and contact lenses fitter.
In 1998, after a few stints with larger chains, the Newfoundland native launched his career path in Coquitlam by buying an optical store, which had been around since 1970.
It is now called Beyond Basic Eyewear Optical, on Austin Avenue.
It wasn’t a good time to be an entrepreneur, though. “We had some lean and mean months — and years — to follow,” Manocha says.
Despite the faltering economy, he rolled up his sleeves and held on, working hard to recoup the practice and to bring in customers — new and old.
And they did come back.
Three years ago, Manocha expanded Basic Eyewear Optical to include the word “Beyond” in his moniker to better reflect the new lines and emerging brands.
Today, his orders come from all over the Lower Mainland and even other provinces and states. “It’s a really nice feeling to know that we can service clients from all communities,” Manocha says.
What are they looking for? For the most part, Manocha says, they want prescription eyeglasses, prescription and non-prescription sunglasses, and contact lenses.
But, unlike some other optical shops, Beyond Basic Eyewear also offers eyewear repairs and adjustments.
Manocha says he and his staff of three take pride in helping customers find the best fit for their face and budget, in a casual and relaxed setting (and, if required, the company provides direct billing to a client’s insurance company).
Beyond Basic Eyewear has plenty of selection in all shapes and sizes: from the trendiest frames to iconic lenses from the past four decades.
For men, he says, the round glasses like what Beatles’ frontman John Lennon wore and the black-framed spectacles in the Buddy Holly mode from the 60s are back in fashion, not to mention the aviator double-bridge shades from the 1980s.
For women, however, “We are finding both metal frames and plastic frames are still quite popular,” Manocha says. “The emergence of bright colours in frames is proving to be a great mix of fun and professional.”
Manocha says the biggest misconception about eyewear is that some people feel that glasses are “nerdy, or may cause one to be very conscious of their looks.”
But glasses and eyewear have come a long way and, these days, are considered an accessory or a piece of jewellery, adding a flair to their ensemble.
“Eyewear has now become a part of the fashion industry,” Manocha says. “We are selling a lot of glasses just for the look with no prescription in them. On top of that, glasses are fun and really can speak to one’s personality.”
As for his dedicated client base, Manocha says he’s grateful for their support, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the past 22 years, he and his employees have made lifelong connections with families and have established good relationships with community groups. For example, Beyond Basic Eyewear has sponsored local sports teams, as well as high schools with their dry grads festivities and other charitable causes such as the BC Children’s Hospital, SHARE Family and Community Services and the B.C./Yukon Heart and Stroke Foundation branch.
In addition, the company is a member of the Austin Business Improvement Association and the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce to stay current with business trends in the area.
Manocha says, “We will continue to focus on our clients and their needs and provide them with outstanding customer service.”
To learn more about Beyond Basic Eyewear Optical, visit beyondbasiceyewear.ca.