How did you end up in this line of work?
Genetics, education and karma. My family has been making quality eyewear since 1922. I was the youngest person in Massachusetts history to be granted a dispensing optician’s license in 1969. In 1973 I earned a bachelor of science in optometry to solidify my understanding of optics. I’ve developed a sixth sense in caring for patients.
What you most like and least like about your work?
I love it when people are “WOWED” by the appearance and vision their new eyewear delivers. I am deeply saddened to learn a client has an eye malady that is robbing them of the precious vision we have worked so hard to achieve.
What makes your business unique?
Our unique approach to eyeglass design. We use a European fitting model that allows us to determine the proper lens system for the client and then select a mounting that makes the lenses look great. We also stock more frames with green colorations than anybody else in the region.
What's a typical day like for you?
Wednesdays and Fridays are my favorite days of the week. Aside from my eyeglass selection, fabrication, and dispensing duties, it is Dr. Walter Potaznick’s (or “Dr. Walter” as we call him) days for eye examinations. I’ve worked with him since 1972. At 9 a.m. I begin with a larger than usual cup of coffee. The exam unit is prepped and sterilized and the day’s charts are pulled. Patients are booked from 11am until 7 pm. I will interview each client and check their old eyeglasses. After the visit, we determine if new eyewear is needed, collect any co-payments and book further return visits. We get two 15 minute breaks and a 30 minute lunch break. Before we know it, 8 p.m. has arrived and time to head for home!
What do you like most about Dedham Square?
Gopen Optical has partnered with Dr. Potaznick’s practice, “Cornerstone at Dedham Square,” and we have become the perfect optical destination for Dedham residents, my existing client base and new referrals from local eye care practitioners. The Square is bright, safe, friendly, and you’ll never go hungry!
More about Leonard Shwom
Occupation: Owner of Gopen Optical
Where: 584 High St.
Phone: 781- 471-4337
Years in Business: 141. Gopen Optical began in Boston’s Chinatown district in 1870. Leonard Shwom spent 36 years on the corner of Kneeland and Harrison Avenues in the shadow of Tufts Medical School.
Years in Dedham Square: 2 ½