2014 marked the 20th anniversary of the Business Development Department of Momentum. To celebrate, we collected 20 stories about past participants who have thriving businesses. Written by Marnie Schaetti of RaiDo Dynamics, these stories reflect the diversity, innovation and hard work of the inspiring participants who come through our doors every year to take one of our many programs.
This is one of those stories.
Entrepreneur Name: Joseph Park
Program: Self Employment Program
Program Year: 2004
Business Description: Full scope, one-stop vision care.
Joseph Park sent the furniture on ahead. He then packed his wife and three young daughters into his van, drove across Canada and, coming in along 16th Avenue, got his first glimpse of Calgary. It was June 2004.
He had arrived in Toronto from South Korea two years before. His career in engineering had been decided by the scores on his school exams and, in spite of his success in the field for over 30 years, it was not a career he would have chosen. Now, with a new life in a new country, Joseph had the chance to decide for himself what he wanted to do.
After thoroughly considering his options, he decided to train to be an optician. He studied fulltime for two years to be licensed in fitting both glasses and contact lenses, and as soon as his practicum was over, he headed west.
Once in Calgary, he chose Momentum’s Self Employment Program to help him understand how to run a retail business. He learned about developing business and financial plans, about choosing a location, about setting a realistic price for his product—all very valuable skills. More than anything, he learned how to approach business in western culture.
In May 2005, Joseph launched EyePro Optical in a medically oriented neighbourhood mall. His business has the same professionalism as large chains with a better feeling and better service. His commitment to customers includes educating them about their prescriptions and offering a
style guarantee. His commitment to community includes donating a portion of each day’s sales to charity and welcoming all clients, regardless of income.
From the first day forward, he has never lost money. His business has grown consistently, has employed 14 people over the years, and now includes two optometrists. Joseph expects this year’s revenues to exceed $500,000. Ten years after that cross-country trip, his new life is busy, satisfying and rewarding.
Learn more about Momentum’s Business Development programs.