26 August 2021
It takes vision, and often teamwork, to make a successful business.
Being married to your business partner, especially when you work well together and have complementary skill sets, helps, too.
Husband and wife Dena and Gary Bernard, owners of VisionWear, in Camana Bay, have made the most of their multi-pronged partnership. They met 26 years ago, have been married business partners for 14 years and their full-service optometry practice now has three locations. In addition to VisonWear in Camana Bay and a second VisionWear location in the Country Corner shopping plaza in Savannah, the couple also own Caribbean Optical in Seven Mile Shops, their first location.
Combining Dena’s experience as a trained dispensing optician and Gary’s savvy in information technology, it was an easy decision for the couple to start a business together.
“We both liked the idea of working for ourselves,” Gary says. “We saw the business opportunity, and with Dena’s experience in the industry, it was a no-brainer.”
Despite the challenges of hiring and retaining staff in the highly specialised optometry field, Dena and Gary highlight how rewarding their job offering health-related services to people of all ages can be. “From kids at school, adults at work and seniors in retirement, their lives are enriched by better vision,” Gary says.
Priding themselves on excellent service and quality products, Gary and Dena value customer satisfaction above all else.
“There is a special feeling when a satisfied customer leaves your place of business,” Gary says. “It never gets old and our days are filled with interesting stories.”
Of course, VisionWear is also well-regarded for its fashionable range of frames by brands such as Dior, Hugo Boss, Bulgari and Roberto Cavalli.
“There is also the ever-changing technology that goes into making the latest frames, lenses and contact lenses," Gary says.
Though owning and operating optometry practices keeps them very busy, both Dena and Gary make time for their family. They are the parents of two — Vanessa and Deon — and grandparents to 4-year-old Eli.
This article originally appeared in the August 2021 print edition of Camana Bay Times.