By Denis Langlois
Grimard Optique founder Robert
Grimard has been recognized as an
International Optician of the Year.
The new award from Silmo and the
International Opticians Association
“recognizes the importance of the
optician in the optical business and
their role in the choice of the optimum
products for their clientele,” according
to the IOA.
Grimard, an optician since the 1970s,
opened his first optical clinic in Montreal
in 1980. After running his own practice
for 25 years, he developed a professional
and independent network of 22 high-end
IOA president Fiona Anderson said
Grimard demonstrates the professional-
ism, entrepreneurial spirit and innovation
that are at the heart of the international
optician of the year award and
the optician profession.
Optical Prism recently spoke with
Grimard, who has been an executive
committee member of the Opticians
Association of Canada since 1992 and
chairman of the Opticians Council of
Canada since 2015, about his award
36 OPTICAL PRISM January 2019
Q. What was your reaction to being named International Optician of
the Year at Silmo?
A. I was very surprised and especially honoured to be named International Optician
of the Year. In my professional life, I have always tried to get involved in the
advancement of my profession. I believe that by giving me this award, the IOA
wanted to recognize my commitment to the profession of opticianry.
Q. Please give us a sense of the growth of Grimard Optique since its inception.
A. My partner and I opened our first store in 1980 on Saint-Denis Street with one
other employee. In 2004, I bought a second location. My son had recently graduated
as an optician and I had the idea to put together a group of stores to promote
entrepreneurship among young opticians and for them to become shareholders in
Since 2004, we have been buying the new locations one by one. We say that we are
not acquiring furniture and inventory, but human resources. Our goal is to bring
together experienced optical professionals with the younger generation of optical
professionals and have them transfer to this younger generation their knowledge
and experience. Currently, we have 22 stores with 130 employees, including 36
opticians and 34 optometrists.
Q. Can you share with us some of the secrets to your success?
A. The secret of my success is very simple. I sum it up to these things: have a passion
for opticianry; surround yourself with the right people; trust your employees; give
back to the profession through volunteering; and work a lot without counting hours.
Inevitably, by following these rules, success will follow.
Q. What do you enjoy most about being an optician?
A. I love the diversity of the profession. It is the perfect mix of fashion, technical
and medical; no two customers are the same. I like the challenges of managing the
business, but I also still dispense at my Saint-Denis Street location one day a week
because I am totally passionate about opticianry.