After 70 years in business a new chapter in the story of Vernon Optometry has been opened.
Vernon Optometry owners and optometrists Meghan Ashton and Tanner Udenberg excitedly unveiled their new building to the public and dignitaries at their grand-opening located on 39th Avenue close to the Civic Arena.
The 5,500-square-foot, two-storey building has been a labour of love for the last five years for the business partners, who both have young families.
“There was a lot of backpacking babies and ‘you hold this baby and I’ll drill’ sort of situations,” laughs Udenberg, who has a four-month-old son named Leo.
“I was going to meetings (about construction of the new building) massively pregnant, then I took a few weeks off to have a baby and I was back to meetings holding a baby,” said Ashton, mother of Kenzie, three and Zella, 10 months.
Udenberg and Ashton are proud of the many personal touches they have put into their building such as the geothermal heating, wheelchair accessibility and abundance of free parking for their patients and customers.
The showpiece of the bright welcoming space is the eye wear gallery, which is one of the largest in the province. It carries brand names like Oakley, Maui Jim, Ray Ban, Michael Kors, Tiffany and BMW.
The practice was started in 1946 by Jack Turner, then taken over by Doug Irwin in 1976 who was then joined by Tuck Warner in 1989.
After retiring in July of last year Warner and Irwin are happy to see Vernon Optometry grow and change.
“It was time that they grew and time for us to step back and leave it to the younger generation,” said Irwin, who is happily enjoying retirement.
The practice has six optometrists: doctors Ashton, Udenberg, Rowe, Farley, McComas and Rollett, and 14 staff members to serve their patients.
“For us it’s about being able to scale up and have four doctors on duty each day, so that when emergencies come in we can address them right away,” said Ashton.
“It gives us the ability to see more patients, to help people in a timely manner instead of having people wait months and months for an eye exam, we are able to bring them in and help them a lot sooner.”
The upper floor of the building is home to two local businesses, UES Engineering and Hatch and Associates Chartered Accountants.
Ashton’s husband Tyler Underwood is an electrical engineer with UES Engineering and was on the building site for much of the construction of the building.