Get to know the opticians behind your glasses. Today's optician: The venerable
Name : Bernard Champagne
Nickname : Docteur Patate
Years of experience : more than 30 years
Territory : Granby -Sorel-Tracy – Iberville – St Hyacinthe
At Bonhomme à lunettes, we can count on a team of experienced opticians. Despite this, the career of Bernard Champagne stands out. Indeed, Bernard founded his first store when some of his colleagues were not even born yet. When he tells a story, we immediately want to start a fire and gather around with marshmallows. The people of Montérégie and the Eastern Townships who are lucky enough to have him as an optician can rely on a real pro whose expertise is second to none. The rest of the crew here at Le Bonhomme are also fortunate to to benefit from the vast knowledge and experience of our dear Docteur Patate. We all really want to keep him in one piece!
HOW DID YOU BECOME AN OPTICIAN?
It's an interesting story! Initially, I studied aircraft engines. You also have to understand that I have major vision problems. One day, my former roommate Mr. Chamberland, who was a math teacher, decided to drop everything to become an optician. That's when I had an epiphany. I told myself I was going to be able to provide excellent service to customers, because I would understand them particularly well.
CAN YOU TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR IMPRESSIVE CAREER?
Once I graduated, I launched my own business. I got my first storefront in 1980. Let's just say it didn't work too well, but that didn't stop my partner Jacques and I from buying a second one. With that, we managed to get ahead. The older readers will remember that in the early 80s, with interest rates and inflation, it wasn't easy. Let's just say we got better at that whole business thing because of that. After a while, my partner and I went our separate ways. I kept an office, then I bought a second one on Mont-Royal Avenue in 1983. With that, I had what is called “volume”.
It's weird to imagine now, but back then, we weren't allowed to advertise. However, we found a way to do it anyway. We were placed closed to the bikini girl in the pages of Journal de Montréal. It worked well and then I became one of New Look's first associates in the early 90s. Now that we were allowed to advertise, the notion of marketing really took off. It was part of my duties for a while.
For different reasons, I sold in 1999. Afterwards, I took a bit of a break. I did consultation work, I had a medical chair company. I've had all kinds of bad luck over the years, so having a medical chair company was once again a way of becoming my own client. I also provided a small-scale eyewear service, often in health centers for example. Then one day, I was watching Les Naufragés des villes, and I saw this interview with Philippe. Immediately, I said to myself: “this is what I want to do”.
IS THERE AN INTERESTING STORY BEHIND YOUR NICKNAME?
When I said earlier that I had a lot of bad luck in my life, I am serious. Among other things, I injured my spinal cord. Lots of problems with my back. I was nicknamed Docteur Patate because like the famous Mr. Potato Head toy, there are several parts of my body that have been repaired or replaced over time.
WHAT'S YOUR NUMBER ONE ADVICE FOR CLIENTS?
We have two ears and one mouth. Basically, you have to listen twice as hard to the needs of your customers. Listening is very important. Afterwards, you find solutions. So my advice is not so much for customers as it is for opticians: listen first. That's the key.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT WORKING AT BONHOMME À LUNETTES ?
I kind of say often (including in this video): "We're not serious, but we're professionals" There's a joie de vivre at Le Bonhomme that you can't find elsewhere. Then there's the prices, which are unbeatable in my opinion. Not to mention the service, which is excellent, because we genuinely listen to our clients.