Steveston Optical is one of the village’s newest businesses. It was originally located in central Richmond, but last summer owners Jerry and Rosanne Blair moved their shop to Steveston.
Jerry’s connection to this community dates back to his great grandfather, William Bridge, who served as the Reeve of Richmond from 1908 to 1917. William Bridge Elementary School in Broadmoor is named in his honour.
He recollects his great grandfather Bridge’s farm on No. 2 Road and Steveston Highway. As a child, Jerry grew up on an adjacent property owned by his grandmother Lillian Blair who was William Bridge’s daughter. His great grandfather John Blair also had a home in Steveston in the early 1900s.
“I’ve come home to my roots.” Jerry Blair
Rosanne is also a life long Richmond resident; her family has lived here since 1936. Jerry and Rosanne continue to feel a deep historical connection to Steveston; three years ago they purchased one of Richmond’s oldest farmhouses, which was constructed in 1895 and is located at London Landing.
The couple originally trained to be teachers but were unable to get work locally and did not wish to move out of town. Rosanne embarked on a career in the airline industry and Jerry entered the optical business.
Jerry Blair’s name is familiar to many people as he has close to 30 years of experience in the optical business.
Wishing to base both their home and business in Steveston, two years ago Jerry and Rosanne purchased the industrial building on First Avenue next door to Waves Coffee House. In July 2019 they opened Steveston Optical in one of its retail spaces. Jerry comments, “I like that Steveston still has the feeling of old Richmond. There really is not a lot left of Richmond’s early days other than Steveston, and to have that in a retail setting is even better. This is one of the reasons my family bought the building that we now occupy. I like the combination of industrial fused with the new retail shops and the many restaurants that make up Steveston. I believe Steveston is Richmond’s Yaletown in the making.”
He appreciates the connection to Steveston’s rich maritime heritage and that his shop is located in a building where boats were once built.
Jerry says, “We enjoyed renovating and decorating the space.” He credits Rosanne for the tasteful décor, which marries industrial and nautical. The white walls, wood floors, and dark wood display cases create a timeless look.
“Customers love the shop and comment that it looks like Steveston on the inside,” he says.
Steveston Optical offers prescription eyeglasses, sunglasses, contact lenses, and sportswear. Some top frame designers include Boss, Chloe, Coach, Emporio Armani, Gucci, Maui Jim, Oakley, Ray-Ban, Tiffany & Co., Tom Ford, Salvatore Ferragamo and many more.
Steveston Optical also carries a good selection of eyewear for children. If you have concerns about which glasses your child would like to wear, or more importantly, which pair of glasses will be durable, Jerry and his staff are pleased to assist.
With the volume of walk-by traffic, Jerry has increased the store’s selection of sunglasses. On sunny summer days, he noticed a surge in sunglass sales, as people dropped in to purchase a pair to wear while strolling around the village, heading to an outdoor patio or walking along the dyke. Jerry believes being a small business owner is advantageous. “We have knowledgeable staff, including Vita Chak, who has been with us long term. You don’t get the same service at the larger stores that sell glasses.”
In addition to selling optical products, Steveston Optical also offers eye exams Tuesday through Saturday. Dr. Albert Schuss is a respected optometrist who many customers know, and Dr. Christine Wang has also joined the team.
“A lot of my old customers have found the new shop. They either live in the area or visit on occasion because they love to walk in the village and explore the area. There is nothing like it in Richmond or Vancouver for that matter.”
The greatest reward for me is knowing that relocating to Steveston has been a very good move for me and Rosanne, and of course for Steveston Optical,” Jerry concludes.
110-12211 First Avenue
Richmond BC V7E 3M3