The very first Doyle eyeglass store opened in Saint-Henri back in 1978. The decision to set up shop in this neighbourhood of closed factories, where half the population was unemployed, required some vision, so to speak. But Luc Doyle wanted his first store to be right there on rue Notre-Dame. Over 40 years later, the Doyle Group includes 16 stores throughout the province, staffed by 40 optometrists, 49 opticians and nearly 185 employees. Each store has an on-site laboratory and a full team of specialists. In 2014, Doyle even launched its first in-house brand—Atelier78—an exclusive collection of frames designed by the group’s opticians. Luc Doyle’s son, Patrick, an optician, and Karl Brousseau, an optometrist, now run the family business. I met with Patrick to find out where his sights were set.
What made you want to follow in your father’s footsteps? When I was 19, even though I was planning to study either technology or medicine, my father took me to Paris with him for a trade show. It was there that I realized how diverse the industry truly was, involving fashion, technology, science and international trade.
Doyle seems to have maintained its community spirit. Is this important to you? Very much so. We believe it is essential to contribute to the neighbourhood’s vitality. We
are, after all, a local business for residents. It reminds me of a story: When my father decided to renovate the Saint-Henri store in the 1990s (long before the area became fashionable), a neighbouring merchant called him a dreamer for bothering to do so in such a run-down place. Forty years later, we’re still here, while virtually all the other businesses in our area have turned over. We believe in respecting our clientele and serving them in modern stores and clinics.
How do you select new partners and how do you rally them around your philosophy? Our expansion model is to acquire the top independent players in the industry. By definition, if they are the best, they are already engaged entrepreneurs themselves. The most important element is that they subscribe to our mission, which is to help people see clearly, feel better and look good!
How do you envision Doyle’s future? We want to consolidate our leadership role in this boutique network and become the preferred eyecare solution.
What project is close to your heart? Our work with the Fondation Charles-Bruneau to support paediatric cancer research. For every frame sold from the Atelier78 collection, Doyle donates $10 to the foundation.