A Business In Focus

A Business In Focus

Three generations of Maycocks bring eye care to the city

  • Feb. 19, 2019 10:45 a.m.

– Story by Tess Van Straaten Photography by Don Denton

For Jason and Carrie Maycock, running Victoria’s oldest family-owned eye care business comes with a lot of responsibility — but the couple, who are passionate about eye care and eye wear, wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It will be 70 years this year, which is pretty amazing,” says Dr. Jason Maycock. “My grandfather started the business in 1949 and we still have some of his patients who see us, which is pretty incredible.”

Jason and Carrie took the reins of the third-generation business in 2015 after his parents, Brian and Karen Maycock, officially retired. Jason, who’s an optometrist, worked with his parents for nine years before that, expanding services at Maycock Eyecare in 2006 to include eye exams — prompting the name change from Maycock Optical — after returning from school and residency work in the United States.

“Taking over the business, I think, was always in the back of my mind, and after I went to optometry school I was able to take the business and the history and the heritage and add another level to it,” the 41-year-old explains. “We were able to bring a whole new focus into the business.”

Jason and Carrie Maycock

Forty-year-old Carrie, who has a nursing background and is a licensed optician, worked with Karen for a full year before she retired, learning the ins and outs of running the business and making for an easy transition.

“They were very successful. We’ve just kind of taken that and we have our own spin on things, but that’s really our foundation,” Carrie says.

“Succession is not always easy but it was as smooth as it possibly could have been for us and my parents are still available for consultation,” adds Jason. “We ask them the odd thing but mainly they come in shopping for nice glasses.”

It was a very different story when Brian took over the business from his father and company founder, Ronald Maycock, back in 1971 under some very stressful circumstances.

“My dad was in accounting school when my grandfather had a really bad stroke and couldn’t maintain the business. So my dad decided to come back from Vancouver and take over, but he had absolutely no eye training whatsoever,” explains Jason. “Luckily, he was a smart accountant and that helped with the business aspect and he learned eyes on the go.”

For Jason, who never met his grandfather, hearing stories about him from their oldest patients is always a treat.

“He passed away when my dad was young so it’s neat to hear some of those stories of how business was done in the 50s and 60s,” he says. “[Clients] used to come to pick up their glasses and sometimes have a drink, have a scotch — a Mad Men sort of thing. It was definitely a different era.”

It’s not the only way Maycock Eyecare, which used to primarily sell glasses, has changed over the years. At one point, Jason’s parents had five locations, but he says it was always a challenge to get people as invested in the business as they were, so those locations were franchised and sold off. Now, with one large downtown location, they’ve expanded to include 10 staff members and two additional optometrists to meet growing demand.

“Our employees are essential to the business and some of them have been with Jason since he started his practice,” Carrie says. “Getting the right staff is critical and we really believe in education, which is why we take them to conferences where they’re exposed to the newest trends. It’s engaging and it gets them excited, and then they come back and pass that on to the clients.”

But by far, the biggest change over the decades has been the technological advances.

“When it comes to eye exams, it’s totally high-tech, and we have a real focus on technology,” he says. “Not only do we get an image of the eye, we ultrasound the eye and get into the layers of the retina to see disease like we’ve never been able to before. For things like macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in Canada, anything we can do to detect it quicker and have a better outcome is important.”

“We pride ourselves on having the best diagnostics and equipment,” Carrie adds. “It can be expensive, but we feel it’s critical to patient care.”

Another thing critical to the Maycocks success was the purchase of their Blanshard Street location, which was taken down to the studs and totally renovated in 2010 to create the perfect space for both eye wear and eye care.

“Moving to this building was very beneficial for my parents and also for us because it’s set us up for the future and for success. It’s their legacy but it’s also their retirement package that we’re paying for,” laughs Jason. “It worked out well for everyone.”

The couple says they’re constantly looking at ways they can build on that success and make improvements.

“We’re both really self-reflective and analytical and I’m always evaluating things — I think it comes from my nursing background,” Carrie says. “I look at the whole picture and the base causes of things, so I’m always looking at how we’re doing and how we could do things better. That’s just part of my DNA.”

As they continue to grow the business, Jason says he knows how lucky they are to own a respected Victoria business, but he says his dad recently reminded him that the harder you work, the luckier you get.

“I was very lucky to have this to come back to and to build on it,” Jason says. “Over the last three years, we’ve been lucky, but we’ve tried to work hard to make that luck happen. We know how hard we work, we saw how hard they worked, and we couldn’t have got it to where it is now without that.”

Maycock Optical’s website is here.

City of VictoriaVictoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Nanaimo African Heritage Society is capping its month of Black History Month celebrations with a virtual gala on Sunday, Feb. 28. (News Bulletin photo)
Nanaimo African Heritage Society presents virtual Black History Month gala

Event to feature a variety of speakers and performers

(Black Press file)
Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools reports COVID-19 exposure at Cedar Elementary

School district says Island Health has completed contact tracing

(News Bulletin file)
RDN warns residents not to give financial info over phone

Resident hung up and called RDN after receiving call for credit card information

(Black Press file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Wexford Creek home in Nanaimo declared over

Social visits resume at south Nanaimo facility today, Feb. 27, says Island Health

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from the beach in rescue attempt in Nanaimo

Animal dies in spite of efforts of marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

1957 photo shows Six Mile House-sponsored #4 1932 Ford stock car with Frank Morris (from left), Ted Mackenzie, Bill Sim and driver Gerry Sylvester. (Bud Glover/Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame)
Memories race as Western Speedway approaches its finish line

‘It was life to us:’ Vancouver Island racers, crew will never forget what the track gave them

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Wayne Allen's graduation photo from Chemainus Secondary School. (Photo submitted)
Brother charged with murder in Vancouver Island teenager’s Ontario death

Jesse James Allen stands accused in the death of Wayne Allen, a 2020 Chemainus Secondary grad

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen to field COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A 50-year-old man was stabbed in an altercation that started with a disagreement about physical distancing. (File photo)
Argument about physical distancing leads to stabbing in Nanaimo

Suspect arrested on Gabriola Island an hour after incident Wednesday, Feb. 24

Snuneymuxw artist Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun is among the artists participating in the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s Rain Shadow exhibit. His piece, ‘We Fell from the Sky/Together and Apart,’ depicts a Snuneymuxw creation story. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo Art Gallery exhibit explores the ways people think about place

‘Rain Shadow’ features work mostly by Vancouver Island and Gulf Island artists

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Most Read