Ryan Speed  | August 2013 

We are home after 10 days on the road and today my words of wisdom come in the form of a small business recommendation (disclaimer, they are one of my customers).


Many people seem to be shopping around at retail stores and making their final purchase online these days, my story is one that will try to encourage you against such behaviour. In many instances, there is no substitute for the exceptional service/staff experience that you get from a small business, if we continue to exploit these services for free, it will come at a great cost.


I bought a new pair of sunglasses the day before we embarked on our journey, my first pair in a few years (self punishment for poor sunglass treatment in the past). I have no doubt that I could have saved ~$50 by making the purchase online but instead opted to buy them locally, at Shelbourne Optical Ltd.


After 30-60 minutes of trying pair after pair, I made the final decision, this is the point where I thought the financial transaction would take place and I’d move on with my day, I was dead wrong.


What happened next feels like a miracle, they took the time to not only explain the warranty/maintenance of the glasses, common issues and ways to avoid them (all basic stuff). They also went through the back&forth process of fitting the glasses to my bony skull (heat/bend/shape/size/repeat). This was totally unexpected and in fact I had no idea it was actually possible, at the time part of me thought it was unnecessary.


Having worn the glasses for an 8 day paddling trip, there where several instances where my actions SHOULD have caused the glasses to fall off my face and into the lake, gone forever! What happened instead was the glasses stuck to me like glue, all while fitting comfortably, even after extended periods of use.


I’m sharing this story for two reasons, one is to encourage you NOT to steal the services of your local retail experts.


The other is to recommend the girls at Shelbourne Optical (Shelbourne/Hillside), I know many of my friends are either already in need of glasses or approaching the need for glasses. If you need glasses/sunglasses and you’re happy supporting local, they get my 100% seal of approval.

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