Community optician honoured by Quebec National Assembly for $1M donation effort | Globalnews.ca

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 cooperative was recognized and received praise in the Quebec National Assembly for this achievement by district MNA Robert Campeau.

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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.

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

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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.

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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 glasses for those in need can start as low as $20, with the majority of pairs costing about $80.

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

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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.




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