Since moving to Melbourne to complete his optometry studies, Dr. Dean Garnett had always wanted to open an independent optometry practice in the inner west. Coronavirus, plenty of hard work and finding the ideal location resulted in the birth of Oculus Dexter Optometry in Spotswood.
A true eye-guy and Footscray local, after studying in Canberra, Melbourne and Canada, Dean cut his teeth at a number of leading independent practices around Melbourne. The COVID situation in 2020 resulted in some extra time to flesh out a business plan, and once the ideal shop became available in Hudsons Road, there were no more excuses.
“Spotswood is the perfect location. Being close to the freeway it’s so accessible, yet has a homely village feel. Being on the corner opposite the station, we’re right in the thick of it so we get to soak up the awesome community vibe. I love it!”
Opening a business during a pandemic hasn’t been without its challenges. With support from partner Cameron who’s a marketing professional, and more recently from Stella their full time optical dispenser, it’s been a team effort, and the future is bright.
“The COVID situation has certainly delayed routine care, but we’re here for the long haul. There’s a fierce pride and loyalty from locals about our neighbourhood, and the community is full of like-minded people with a friendly outlook, so being a new small business we’ve had such a warm reception.”
Designed and built by West Wood (until recently also Hudsons Road locals), the impressive fit-out invites you to linger and take in the detail. As do the spectacles and sunglasses, which are on the inspirational side of things.
“Independent practices leave room for more personalised care. We’re the sort of place that will greet you by name, and know what works for you. Plus, the eye-wear we stock are by boutique makers, all handmade and hand selected, so you won’t find them in corporate chains.”
Although running a small business takes a lot of time, Dean still finds time to volunteer on the board for the Royal Flying Doctors Service Victoria, and care for their adopted greyhound Owen– who can occasionally be found in store greeting customers.
And lastly – what are your favourite west-side haunts??
“Our Footscray locals are Bar Josephine or Zymurgy. For restaurants Aangan or Luxsmith (Seddon). And for Spotswood you can’t go past Candied or Hudsons Road Wine & Beer.”
Oculus Dexter Optometry are at 68 Hudsons Road Spotswood. Instagram: od_optometry
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