The Shop It Like It’s Hot Award



(10 or fewer LOCATIONS)

Valley Vision Optometry
Port Alberni, British Columbia
Owner: Shaun Golemba, OD

Submission Essay…

“Shaun Golemba dared to imagine that this hopelessly outdated ugly duckling could be turned into a retail powerhouse. He believed that the building could somehow be transformed into a ski-lodge style optical office that would get his practice noticed. He challenged his design team to use natural materials and colors to create an environment that echoes the active outdoor lifestyle of the community. He also commissioned a local native artist to carve the colorful tribal-style sculpture that welcomes patients at the reception desk. A new skylight lets daylight pour through the center of the building over a new rock wall. The big new front window showcases the greatly expanded optical. The taller, gabled roof and wood-clad walls lend Alpine charm to the exterior. The project started out as a major interior remodel with a cosmetic update for the exterior. As the planning progressed, it became apparent that the exterior would require a completely new roof design as well. The desired look and visual impact could not be achieved without increasing the construction budget. It was a daring move to accept the higher risk of borrowing more, but Golemba saw it as a good investment in his future. Today, new patients constantly stream in thinking it’s a brand new building since they never noticed the old one. Golemba had to take daring action not just once, but twice. He could have ended up with a slightly improved exterior by sticking to the original budget but dared to risk even more and go for his dream. Now, he’s enjoying the rewards—sales up 22 percent over last year—and has a unique office environment that reflects local culture and boosts community pride.”

Daring because…

“We pay attention to body language and ask pointed questions to uncover needs our patients are not readily able to communicate to us. Eye care is complex – by daring to put ourselves out there, we are able to really get to know our patients and make a difference in their lives. Online, we have left our settings open on Facebook to engage the community without screening the messages before they are posted. It shows everyone we are ready to take on any challenges head on with nothing to hide. So far, it has paid off as a method to engage our patients as well as those we haven’t seen yet. Competition in any area will only intensify with time because of advancing technology and knowledge. We have to be committed to incremental change and to finding ways to differentiate for us to stand out in the consumer’s mind,” said Shaun Golemba, OD, owner of Valley Vision Optometry.