When you step through the door off of Main Street into Matador Eyeworks, you’ll likely hear jazz music coming from the turntable at the back of the store. This is not your average optician’s boutique. One wall is decorated with LPs, and an espresso machine brews coffee for clients while they browse. A svelte white leather couch sits in the centre of the room. You can almost imagine you’ve walked into a swanky club and you’re waiting for the lights to dim and the dancing to start.
It’s obvious that Matador owners Mark and Zeena Appleby love music and good design. A deep passion for their work is also evident.
“I love hearing, ‘I can see!’ when someone puts their new glasses on,” says Zeena Appleby, co-owner of Matador Eyeworks with her husband, Mark. “I love making people happy in this way.”
The Applebys opened Matador Eyeworks in downtown Milton in 2014. “We fell in love with Main Street,” says Zeena.
They joined the Chamber the following year and have been members ever since. They’re also two-time nominees of the Chamber’s Community Awards.
“They taught me in high school business class that we should join our local Chamber if we ever started a business,” says Mark, “so it was automatic for me to join. It was one of the first things I did.”
While business is good, the Applebys admit that things “haven’t been the same” since the Covid-19 pandemic. “It’s a rollercoaster,” says Zeena. “It’s very unpredictable.”
They noted how grateful they are for the Chamber’s support during the last three years of ups and downs.
“And our clientele have been so loyal; they kept us going,” says Mark.
Mark has been an optician since 1988. The couple moved from Toronto to Milton in 2009, and feel strongly about supporting local businesses.
“We try to shop locally whenever we can,” says Zeena. “And we tell our kids that it’s important.”
They also support the community, sponsoring baseball teams, a golf tournament for the hospital, and various fundraising projects led by their children. The walls of their back hallway are decorated with awards, plaques, and rave reviews — a testament to the service, dedication and hard work of the owners.
Matador does not provide eye exams; they make and sell glasses, sunglasses, contact lenses and safety glasses only. “We’re about the look,” says Mark. “People come for the style.”
Those styles include small, independent brands you don’t usually find elsewhere. Frames made from up-cycled vinyl records in Europe (each frame takes six weeks to make); a Japanese brand that uses ultra-luxe materials like platinum and 18k gold, and beautifully artistic frames from the south of France.
“There’s a story behind each brand,” says Mark. “So yes, we sell glasses, but we’re also selling the story. It’s a different mindset. There’s an attention to detail and quality you don’t find elsewhere.”
They said many new clients are surprised that they’ll spend several hours finding just the right style that both suits their face and fits just right. “We’re honest with you. We take our time. We want you to look good and have the best vision possible.”
Amy MacLachlan is the Chamber’s Member Support Coordinator.