France’s Optical Center Enters Canada with 3 Locations

Date:

Share post:

Optical Center, an eye and hearing care store, is geared for big future expansion after opening three locations in the past year in the Montreal area.

Benjamin Blaise, director of development for the company in Quebec, says Optical Center is a company based in France with the first store opening in 1991. The company currently has 522 stores in seven countries – 90 per cent of them in France. The others are in Spain, Turkey, Switzerland, Belgium, Israel and now Canada.

The company plans to grow more locations in Quebec.

“We want to open a lot of stores – to franchise the concept of Optical Center,” says Blaise. “Right now we don’t have a good number to know how many stores will open. We want to make good on these three stores and after that probably open a lot of stores. In Quebec, we will have probably 40 or 50 stores (in the future).”

Optical Center

The next step after that could even include expansion outside of the province’s boundaries.

“The last store in Pointe-Claire is in the English part in West Island. We are trying a new concept with the English part. If this one works very well, maybe we think of moving West or maybe even south,” says Blaise.

The first Canadian store opened in LaSalle, Quebec followed by one in Montreal and then another in Pointe-Claire.

“All of them opened this year,” says Blaise.

Optical Center

Optical Center has opticians and optometrists as well as audiologists. It sells eye frames, lenses and contact lenses. About 12 years ago the company began to offer audiology services.

“Now we are probably one of the first stores in Canada with both parts hearing and eye care,” says Blaise.

Each of the three Quebec stores has opticians and optometrists based there. There is one audiologist for the three stores.

Blaise says the company has a great partnership with Construction Vergo – Mylène Hardy, Paul Belanger and Yves Ducharme – which allowed the concept to come to fruition.

“Paul went to Europe to see what exactly an Optical Center store is and what we exactly wanted for Quebec,” he says. “Mylène was my eyes and my ears during construction. It was so nice to have somebody who understood exactly what we wanted and being self-motivated.”

“It’s our first stores in North America and we wanted to share this adventure with someone who truly understands our concept store. Working with them was one of our best decisions.”

Optical Center
Optical Center

Hardy, Account Manager, Commercial Interiors Division with Construction Vergo, says the company was tasked with finding the right architects and engineers that would respect the concept and design of the stores which were already created in France.

“We needed to understand their concept and apply it to Canada,” says Hardy. “For example with the lights. We had to find an equivalent here in Canada to make sure that it was as per their spec and as per their needs. They have special needs for lighting . . .  We applied their design to our Canadian stores.”

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

1 COMMENT

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More From The Author

RECENT RETAIL INSIDER VIDEOS

Advertisment

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Subscribe

* indicates required

Related articles

Spanish Luxury Brand Loewe Enters Canada with 1st Standalone Store at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre [Photos] 

The brand entered Canada through Nordstrom several years ago, and is now expanding in a big way with its first flagship storefront carrying Loewe’s entire product assortment. 

Upscale Vancouver-Based Sushi Restaurant Chain ‘Hello Nori’ Unveils Ambitious Global Expansion Plans [Interview]

The company has plans on expanding throughout Canada and into global markets with its popular hand-rolled sushi in elevated dining spaces.

Peavey Mart Spearheads Retail Revamp of Stores Across Canada while Launching Media Network 2nd Phase [Interview]

The Canadian farm and ranch retailer is focusing on updating stores across the country this year, while expanding its first-in-Canada retail media platform which includes digital radio and ads.

Innovative Direct-to-Consumer Furniture Startup CouchHaus Opens 1st Physical Retail Space in Vancouver [Interview]

The husband-wife team's modular furniture became so popular online that they are opening their own physical store, allowing customers to see the product-in person.

Canadians Look to Make Major Purchases in 2024 Despite Economic Uncertainty: Survey

Economic uncertainty isn't stopping Canadians from planning major purchases in 2024 according to a study, potentially giving retail a boost depending on the demographic.

Canada’s Agri-Food Sector Lacks Vision as Consumers Struggle with Grocery Prices [Op-Ed]

Canada's lack of cohesive vision and strategy for its agri-food sector, despite significant budget allocations, is stark contrast to the decisive approach evident in U.S. agricultural policy says Sylvain Charlebois.

Flexible Work Company ‘LAUFT’ Discusses Expansion Plans and New Government Collaboration [Interview]

Founder Graham Wong discusses the Canadian company's plans for new locations, enhanced spaces for events and content creation, and a future in places such as airports and hotels.

Ice Bath Spa Concept ‘Othership’ Opens 2nd Toronto Location with Expansion Plans for Major Markets in Canada and NYC [Interview]

The company's co-founder discusses the concept that began in his back yard in 2019, which is now a big business with a new Yorkville location and plans for Manhattan and other urban centres.

Anatomy of a Leader: Peter Mammas, President and CEO, Foodtastic

The man behind the food empire got started in Montreal where he wanted to be a pilot, then an architect. He eventually worked his way up in the world of foodservice, where he found his passion.

Nostalgia vs Reality: Exclusive Poll Shows Canadians Warm to Zellers’ Return but Hesitate to Shop One Year After Relaunch

Zellers relaunched a year ago as shop-in-stores at Hudson's Bay, and a poll done for Retail Insider shows that Canadians' think the current offerings fall short.

Cracking the Newcomer Code: Study Urges Canadian Retailers to Adapt for Inclusivity as Immigrants Reshape Retail Trends [Feature]

Making newcomers feel at home could mean increased sales for retailers. Ian Large of Leger says retailers should collaborate with communities as Canada's population changes.

Italian-Themed QSR Chain Fazoli’s Announces Major Expansion into Canada with 25 Locations Planned [Interview]

The chain could open even more locations according to its development officer, who discusses Fazoli's success being rooted in quality ingredients and speedy service.