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One Man With A Vision: How Oakley Optical Has Evolved Over 70 Years In Winnipeg


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Oakley Optical Eyecare Centre is celebrating the grand opening of its new store on Regent Avenue, where they have served the community for almost thirty years. The re-opening is a testament to the success of the Winnipeg family business.

Granddad David Oakley came to Canada from England in his early twenties. He founded Oakley Optical in Winnipeg in 1948. It started as a wholesale lab and transitioned into retail when he acquired the store on Donald Street across from the old Capitol Theatre.

Oakley Optical was eventually passed down the generations, first to David’s son-in-law, Robert Hosegood, and then to Robert’s four sons Bruce, Randy, Larry, and Greg. The brothers proudly share ownership in the family business which has grown to three locations in Winnipeg.

Through the 70+ years of serving Winnipeg, the business has seen its share of ups and downs. For example, twelve years ago, the Regent store wasn`t growing and nearly closed.

“We learned a lot from Dad and Granddad about customer service. It’s always been important for us to create a family like atmosphere with our staff and to provide excellent patient care. I remember having conversations with my brothers, we were saying you know we could just shut it down (the Regent store). It might be a lot simpler for all of us,” says Larry Hosegood. But the brothers persevered and found a team of amazing staff and optometrists who have helped shape the office into what they’ve always envisioned it could be and who are still with the company today.

Then the pandemic lockdown orders provided more trying times for the family.

“I’ll never forget March 2020. It was very difficult to lock the doors on our family business and tell all the employees to go home. It was like there was a death in the family. It was a really shocking time for us and all small businesses.”

Reflecting back on how the business has grown, Larry says, “At the heart of any successful business is a core of loyal and long serving staff contributing to that success. We feel very proud of what we’ve accomplished since granddad started, we’ve taken care of so many people over the years.”

Winnipeg is a unique place for small businesses. It’s a big city that feels like a small town, “word of mouth is a powerful tool and reputation spreads like wildfire around here. Over the years we’ve loved serving the community and have seen many generations come through our doors.  Children, grandchildren, growing into parents themselves.” notes Larry.

“Winnipeggers still love going to the little guy on the corner who they trust and have developed a relationship with, rather than the big box store. It’s nice that we all take care of each other here,” says Larry.

The Grand Opening Sale of Oakley Optical Eyecare’s new location at 1574 Regent Avenue West will run from February 21st to March 3rd.

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