Optical centre keeps eye on history

Paul Moulton stood outside his optical centre on Christina Street and watched as the layers of time were pulled back and the original brick façade came into view for the first time in at least 40 years.

Peeled off first was the white vinyl siding that covered Moulton’s Optical Centre for decades.

Workers with John Boot Construction then chiselled off stucco on the lower third of the brickwork.

What was exposed was a full brick exterior topped with a decorative peak and a centre stone that reads 1930.

“I never knew how old this building was before,” said Moulton. “We’ve estimated of course, but now we know.”

He intends to restore the front of 172 Christina St. to its original grandeur, which included a foot or two of small red tiles underscoring the large plate glass windows.

The stucco damaged some of the brickwork beyond repair.

“We’ll need to cover some of the brick with slate tiles, but the good news is the original façade is in pretty good shape and there’s that peak on top that we didn’t know about,” said Moulton.

His father Glen Moulton bought the building in 1976 and relocated his business, Imperial Optical, from another downtown address.  Son Paul began working in the lab while still in high school.  Later, at age 23, he started working full time with his dad until he bought the business in 1991 and incorporated it as Moulton Optical.

“The white vinyl was clean and tidy but downtown is changing,” said Moulton. “Downtown is reviving and we want to promote improvement and restore its history.”

He received approval for a $20,000 low-interest loan from the city’s façade program, which is available to improve the outside of local businesses.

“My hope is that the loan will do the job, but you don’t really know until you see what’s under the vinyl and get to work on it,” Moulton said.

He estimates in a month’s time the 84-year-old façade will be restored with new signage and lighting to complement the old look.

LOTS OF HAPPY CATS AND DOGS

The staff at Pet Valu on Lakeshore Road outdid themselves, collecting an unprecedented amount of cash and kitty litter during an April drive to help the local humane society.

“We set two really high goals and really had to push,” says manager Melanie Allen.

Previous litter drives averaged 800 pounds, but this year the store is taking 1,162 pounds of litter to the Sarnia Humane Society.  On top of that, $2,510 was collected, up from $2,036 in 2013.

“It was a team effort with our staff Jen, Margo and Angee,” said Melanie. “More than 1,000 pounds of litter is a lot of litter.”

BIZ AFTER FIVE

Looking for a networking opportunity?

The Sarnia/Lambton Business After Five is held monthly for members and non-members. This month it is at the Inn of the Good Shepherd, 115 John Street on Wednesday, May 21. Bluewater Power will be on hand to celebrate the Save On Energy program for business.  5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

If you miss it this month, mark Wednesday June 18 on your calendar for next month’s Business After Five.

– Cathy Dobson

Got an interesting business story? Contact Cathy Dobson at cathy.dobson@thesarniajournal.ca or call 226-932-0985.