Optical Prism November 2019 OP_November_joomag_2019 - Page 38

Framed Q. What has been the secret to the longevity of Chinook Optical? A. We pride ourselves on our 100-plus year histo- ry in Calgary due to our focus on service. We are patient-focused and offer only the very best-quality frames and lens options. Our clients know that they are getting a quality focused experience when they come to our store and we are thrilled to continue the legacy of service that was started in 1916. Q. Please tell us more about your business - what are your most popular products, who is your clientele, what services do you offer. A century in Calgary By Denis Langlois Calgary’s Chinook Optical has been owned by gener- ations of the same family for just over 100 years. The business was founded in 1916 as Consolidated Optical by optometrist Dr. E.S. Tharp. His son, B.J.S. Tharp, became a doctor of optometry as well, after serving in the navy in the Second World War. He worked for his father in Calgary and opened Chinook Optical in 1960 in Chinook Centre. Dr. B.J.S. Tharp’s daughter, Biba Tharp, studied art and design at a European university, but later found her way to the family business, becoming a licenced optician. She acquired the store in 2004 and moved it to its current location in 2009 in the Britannia Plaza. Biba Tharp’s daughter, Anna Niemczewski, is also a licenced optician. She joined the business a few years ago and now runs Chinook Optical. The team at Chinook Optical also includes a master optician, who has been in the industry for more than 50 years, and six other staff members. Recently, Optical Prism spoke with Biba Tharp and Anna Niemczewski about Chinook Optical and its success in Calgary. 38 Optical Prism | November 2019 A. Our clients come to us because we offer a very dif- ferent experience and more unique options to what’s available elsewhere in Calgary. We love independent eyewear brands and have grown our stable of brands annually. We are focused on glasses because we love them and attract a patient base who loves them too. Life’s too short not to wear fabulous eyewear and have fun while doing so. We are thrilled to offer comprehensive eye care from our incredible optom- etrist and continue the service and care through the dispensary with all of our experienced opticians. Q. What are your plans for the future of Chinook Optical? A. While we love to celebrate the past, we are always focused on the future. My daughter and I both have Master’s degrees in product design and have started designing our own eyewear line as an extension of the store. It is made in Canada, in small batches with earth-friendly materials. This new endeavour is called ‘Modern Legacy Eye- wear’ and has already borne collaborations with local artists for lens cloth designs and a Calgary-based company who collaborated with us to develop an all-natural lens spray cleaner that is sold in our store. We wanted to merge our design and optical skills while also giving back to our community so the sale of every frame results in a donation made to a local and national charity. OP