We have a Lab Guy, His Name is Stu.
Not all Optometric Centres are created equal. Not to toot our own horn, but we like to think we go above and beyond in all aspects of our work and business; and one of our secret weapons is Stu the Lab Guy. That’s right, he doesn’t even have a last name – even his business card reads: Stu the Lab Guy. He’s just that good! We go to Stu and his lab for all kinds of vision solutions when it comes to customizing frames and lenses so they suit our clients perfectly – and it’s all done on site. Since this is a unique service (and you don’t get this behind the scenes kind of stuff often), we want to show you what happens after you’ve picked a pair of frames, and tell you more about the guy responsible for it all!
First off, Stu gave us a quick rundown of his process. It goes like this: frames and lenses are received from suppliers, and the lenses have a prescription range, which Stu narrows down to the client’s exact prescription. He does this by dotting the lenses with a lensometer (what a cool name! This is serious science stuff!) to first orient the lenses and confirm the prescription, he then traces the frames in the tracer (hmm clearly inventors got bored with cool names here), then all of the client’s data goes into a blocker, and finally transferred to the cutter – and this is where the magic happens! Here, Stu cuts the lenses to fit your new frames!
He is also the spectacles and sunnies handy-man when things go awry. Want to find out what makes our lab guy tick? Here’s a fun Q&A we did with him:
Q: What is a day like in the life of Stu at work?
A: I’m not the first one in the door, which suits me (not a morning person)! On average, I work from 11-5, and Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. When I arrive, everyone is welcoming and friendly. I might see 15 to 20 jobs per day, with three to six walk-in appointments, when patients need to wait for their glasses. I interact mostly with the opticians, who are so helpful when I have questions regarding specific lenses or orders.
Q: What is your favourite part about your job?
A: I can be a bit of a joker, and I have fun trying to make the staff laugh. Their jobs are demanding, and contributing some humour to their days is fun for me. Recently I came to work to find that I had my own business cards: they say “Stu: Lab Guy” – I love it! I also take pride in being as accurate as I can be with every job, which I know will lead to happy clients.
Q: What do you find most challenging about your job, and what is the most rewarding?
A: A busy day with back-to-back appointments means juggling and prioritizing to ensure everyone’s needs are met. There are also some challenging frames to work with; and those that require some TLC. The most rewarding part of the job is the thanks and appreciation of my colleagues – the team environment at Merivale Vision Care is the best I have encountered in any job.
Q: How did you get into this field?!
A: In 2000 I had my own house-painting business. I had known Dr. North since the early 90s, and she was looking for someone to cut lenses part-time. I was happy to learn a new skill (I was trained for about 3 months), and the 10-12 hours a week fit well with my schedule. In 2008 I became a full-time ice technician for a curling club, and had to leave the optometry business. By a stroke of luck, when I was in for an appointment at Merivale in April 2015, I was asked if I would be interested in coming back. I was ready for a job that didn’t require cold, early mornings on an ice rink, and was happy to return. It was amazing to see the growth that had taken place during the years I was away – and that growth is continuing!
Now you know some of what goes on behind the scenes at Merivale Vision Care!