Community optician honoured by Quebec National Assembly for $1M donation effort

Click to play video: 'Community optician honoured by Quebec National Assembly for $1M donation effort'
Community optician honoured by Quebec National Assembly for $1M donation effort
WATCH: A Montreal optician's vision to make prescription glasses affordable for the masses has reached a milestone, raising more than $1 million in donations for community organizations. As Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports, the small clinic's work is getting high praise from Quebec's National Assembly – Feb 2, 2022

Over the last 15 years, optician Philippe Rochette’s vision to make prescription glasses more affordable has raised $1 million in donations for local community organizations throughout the province of Quebec.

On Wednesday, the small business with a focus on social economy was recognized and received praise in the Quebec National Assembly for this achievement by district MNA Richard Campeau.

READ MORE: Riverview Elementary hosts annual food basket walk-a-thon for Verdun families in need

Campeau thanked the team behind Bonhomme à Lunettes for its “dedication to providing fair eyewear.”

Rochette says he is humbled by the call out, and adds the success of the giving-back business model is thanks to the community he serves.

“I wouldn’t have a million dollars today if I wouldn’t have been giving back,” Rochette says.

Story continues below advertisement

“The fact that we give back the money to the charity is what is making us grow.”

READ MORE: Planted trees at Pointe-Claire’s Solidarity Orchard honours those who died of COVID-19

Based in the Mile End neighbourhood, what started as a small operation has grown over the last two decades to serve 65 locations on a weekly basis.

Over the years, Rochette says the mission has never changed: selling prescription glasses at prices that people can afford.

“Like affordable food and affordable housings, we need places like this to have access to essential needs,” says Guillaume Grenon said while trying on a pair of new spectacles.

READ MORE: Simple trick can stop glasses from fogging over with coronavirus mask, says Winnipeg optometrist

Name brand glasses can easily cost $300 at a regular retail store, according to Rochette.

At Bonhomme à lunettes staff aim to have you save that much.

Prices for frames for those in need can start as low as $20, but all others are $70.

“It doesn’t matter what they choose, they are all the same price,” Rochette says.

Story continues below advertisement

For each pair of glasses sold by Bonhomme à lunettes, $10 of the sale is donated to one of the 100 partner community groups.

Last year, the program managed to raise $116,000 in donations.

For customers like Sophie Pascal, the community partnerships are an added bonus.

“It’s really a win-win,” she says. “The choice is there. The service is there. The community engagement is there. The people are friendly and competent. What more do you want?”

The secret to the low cost, according to Rochette, is mass production. The community optician intentionally lags months behind the ever-changing trends, waiting to acquire overlooked frames for a fraction of the cost.

Rochette says luckily, style is cyclical.

“You don’t know if this is fashion from April 2019, November 2020 or February of 2021 — who cares? Is it really different anyways? By being three to six months after the new stuff this is how you get a good price and quality,” he says.

Sponsored content