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  Tuesday, March 3, 2015
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xtra xtra!
October 7, 2010
New Owner at The Opticians of South Boston
By Rick Winterson

Mark Donovan, RDO, took over The Opticians of South Boston in March.  From South Boston himself, Mark has worked there for 30 years.  He will continue the tradition of providing service-based, attractive eyewear at a reasonable cost.


  Mark Donovan is the new owner of The Opticians of South Boston at 666 East Broadway, which he took over in March of this year.  Perhaps the words “new owner” could be misleading, because Mark has spent his entire career there, going all the way back to a high school summer internship in 1979.

  To put this in historical perspective, that was the year the Branch Library relocated to East Broadway, and the area to its right (#650 East Broadway) was converted into a parking lot.  The Opticians of South Boston relocated from 650 to 666 East Broadway as a result; they’ve been serving their customers from 666 ever since.

  On what was his 30th anniversary at The Opticians of South Boston, Mark bought the business from Billy Carlson.  You’ll be pleased to know that Billy is well and keeping busy.  He works with Gillette 10 or 15 hours a week on their safety glasses program, and is also advising Mark during the first transition year of his ownership.

  Mark himself is a born-and-raised South Bostonian.  His family home was on M Street; he attended St. Brigid School.  After that, he graduated from Don Bosco High School and began that first stint as a summer intern at The Opticians of South Boston under what was then known as the “YS Job” program.

  After Don Bosco, Mark worked at The Opticians of South Boston full time as a laboratory technician.  He continued his education.  In 1987, he passed his test to qualify as an RDO – a Registered Dispensing Optician – while attending UMass Boston on a part-time basis.

  He has been married for 16 years to Carol (Canavan) Donovan, who is also from South Boston.  Her cousin introduced them.  They have two children – Rebecca (8) and Owen (6), both of whom attend South Boston Catholic Academy, the successor to the combined Gate of Heaven and St. Brigid Schools.  The Donovans’ spare time is largely devoted to activities and sports with their kids.

  In describing the business he now owns, Mark says that The Opticians of South Boston serves a large number of repeat customers – perhaps as much as 80%.  Some have been coming back for eyewear for all 30 years he’s been there.

  His business can be looked as having three segments:  contact lenses, conventional lenses, and the frames to hold the conventional lenses.  Around 40% of his clients buy contacts, which can be ordered by phone.

  Mark grinds single-vision lenses on the premises, so he can offer replacements of that kind on a same-day basis.  If it’s an emergency, he can have single-vision glasses ready for you in a couple of hours.  Bifocals have to be done outside, but it takes only a day or two to get them made.

  Nowadays, frames are often selected based on fashions or “making a statement” about yourself.  The Opticians of South Boston has wide ranges of selection and affordability, including well-known brands such as Ray-Ban, Dulce, and Gabana.  They stock some 200 frames for children, including Garfield and Sponge Bob.

  The Opticians of South Boston is open from 9 to 5:30 (Monday, Thursday, Friday); 9 to 7 (Tuesday, Wednesday); and 9 to 12 (Saturday).  Mark employs Andrei Stanchik, RDO, on his staff.  Doctor of Optometry Taline Farrah is available for consultations from 3 to 7 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 

  As a free service, Mark will check and adjust your glasses, no matter where you bought them.  He has low-priced frames, but even his high-end offerings carry a discount.  The Opticians of South Boston honors many insurances, including Mass Public Employees.  He suggests you get an eye check-up at least every two years.

  Mark concluded by saying, “We try to be fair with everyone, so come in and check us out.  We’ll work with you.”  


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Mark Donovan, RDO, owner of The Opticians of South Boston since March, is interviewing at South Boston Online.

The Opticians of South Boston at 666 East Broadway, which is near the intersection with K Street.

The Opticians of South Boston is open for business under the ownership of Mark Donovan, RDO, at 666 East Broadway.