Press-Republican

August 25, 2013

New owner at North Country Optical

DAN HEATH
Press-Republican

PLATTSBURGH — The new owner of North Country Optical has his eye on the future.

Dr. George Mitsoglou acquired the business from Dr. Michael Lack on July 31. Lack is still at work, in the midst of a 30-day transitional phase to help the new owner gain familiarity with the practice.

Mitsoglou said he jumped at the chance to take over at North Country Optical. He previously owned Mati Eyecare in downtown Plattsburgh.

“I’m very excited to take over a much larger practice without sacrificing the personal attention people relish,” he said.

Experience cited

Mitsoglou estimates that between the two of them, they have seen more than 50,000 patients during their years in the eye-care industry.

He said he wants to expand the medical services offered by acquiring new equipment such as a retinal camera and OCT (optical coherence tomography) equipment. 

“When patients come in for an eye exam, they get a comprehensive, personalized exam that typically takes about 20 to 30 minutes,” Mitsoglou said. “I really take my time to make sure that all the tests performed give me and the patient the right information to maximize their vision and take care of any eye-health concerns.”

Services include computer-assisted eye exams, diagnosis and treatment of ocular diseases and injuries, complete contact-lens services, co-management for laser and cataract surgeries and frame styling. 

While single-vision glasses are usually available the same day, Mitsoglou said that service could soon be available for some bifocal prescriptions. 

North Country Optical carries more than 1,000 designer frame styles. That includes Fendi, Oakley, Ray Ban, Versace, Gucci, Nike, Coach, Tory Burch, BeBe, Guess, Lacoste and more.

They also carry vintage frames from the L’Amy line, which Mitsoglou said have been popular with celebrities such as Johnny Depp.

The bright lobby/reception area features large display racks. The waiting area has a flat-screen television with satellite service.

There are also two exam rooms, a workshop, contact-lens room and break room.

Slowing down pace

Lack said that as he turns 66 next month, it was a good time to slow down. He plans to work maybe one day a week for an undetermined time starting in September. 

“I figured after 36 solid years of having a practice it’s time to enter a new phase,” Lack said.

It helps that there was a qualified new owner available.

“I definitely feel I’m leaving it in fully capable hands,” he said.

A native of Montreal, Mitsoglou received undergraduate and master’s degrees from McGill University, followed by a doctorate degree in optometry from the University of Montreal in 1991. He moved to Plattsburgh in 1996 and worked at Vision Center in Wal Mart until 2010. 

He opened Mati Eyecare in 2011 and worked there until this new opportunity came along.

Lack started as the sole optometrist at Northland Optical in 1977. Located in the former Ames Plaza, it was sold to Pearle Vision 1978.

He acquired the practice in 1992 and remained in Ames Plaza until November 2010. Lack then opened North Country Optical in 2011 in the former Little Caesars location next to Stewart’s on Cornelia Street.

Other experienced staff

There are four others on staff at the practice. Optical Technician Anne-Marie Burdo has 33 years of experience in the field.

Karen Myers has been with them for six months, but has seven years of medical-office experience. Jamie McClatchie has been there 18 months and brings extensive retail and management experience, Mitsoglou said. 

His wife, Sophie Mitsoglou, serves as the marketing director and assistant manager. Prior to this, she spent six years as the director of development at Mountain Lake PBS.

She said they enjoy giving back to the community, whether through philanthropic events or sponsorship of local sports teams.

North Country Optical is located at 292 Cornelia St., Building 2 (behind Stewarts). It is open 8 a.m to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

The practice accepts most major forms of insurance. Payment can be by cash, check, American Express, Discover, Visa, MasterCard, Cardinal Cash or CareCredit.

Mitsoglou again stressed he prefers to provide quality care rather than just seeing as many patients as possible.

“I prefer quality over quantity in everything I do, so why shouldn’t my new practice reflect that? It is geared toward those patients who appreciate a more quaint, locally owned setting where they can be catered to.” 

Email Dan Heath:dheath@pressrepublican.com