A staple of the Winter Park, Card's Opticians has been helping locals in the community see since 1957.
He works his magic in the workroom of Card’s Opticians Inc.
Cases of lenses, frames and tools clutter the tables and walls of the small space, but he moves around them with ease.
Some of the tools are a bit newer, allowing him to shape lenses with the press of a button, while others are ancient in their days, like the edger that had been used by his grandfather before him.
Even with the older technology, he is proficient — his hands work effortlessly with almost clockwork efficiency.
The want to shape and form the best pair of glasses — and the passion to help others — is the only explanation Harold “Hal” Card III and his sister, Terri Munroe, can give for how the family business could last for 60 years.
“My grandpa always told us to give them good service and treat them nicely,” Munroe said.
“Like they’re part of our family,” Card said.
Card and Munroe now largely run the family-owned Card’s Opticians, although their mother, Carol, and father, Harold Card Jr., come in on Fridays to help.
The history of Card’s starts in 1957, when their grandfather, Harold Card, bought the company from another local optician. Originally, Card’s started on the corner of Minnesota Avenue and 17/92, before moving a few times until finding a home in 1968 at its current location on South Knowles Avenue.
The elder Card had worked as an optician many years before taking over his own business and also had started grooming the next few generations of opticians in the family. His son, Hal Card Jr., and his grandchildren, Card III and Munroe, all took up the craft of making glasses.
Being around the artistry of his grandfather and father his whole life, during his time at Seminole Community College, Card decided to take the dive into the field of opticianry.
“I apprenticed under my grandfather — you can apprentice for three years — and after I apprenticed, I took my test and passed it the first time,” Card said.
“Everyone that comes in loves Card’s Opticians and loves us, so it’s the joy of working with the Winter Park people. Whenever you help people see better, it’s inspiring.”
— Harold “Hal” Card III
The test was so difficult that most people had to take it multiple times, but luckily his experience had helped him tremendously, Card said. In 1980, Card became a full-time optician.
Just like her brother, Munroe went on to take the test as well, passing it to become a licensed optician herself — continuing the family tradition alongside her brother.
Since those early days, a lot has changed in the field — and in the world, in general — some for the better, and some for the worse.
The most common issue of bigger competition always comes into play as a mom-and-pop store, Card said. Another is the rapid growth and low cost of online shopping.
For Card, that prospect brings up two major issues — making sure someone gets the right care for their eyes and building a community through a local business.
“How do you take they’re PD (pupillary distance) online?” Card asked. “And you lose all the camaraderie of coming to Card’s — I can’t fathom it.”
But despite the changes, Card’s still stands 60 years later as a pillar of Winter Park — all while helping the community see just a little bit better.
“What I love is that I get to work with people — it’s different people every day,” Card said. “Everyone that comes in loves Card’s Opticians and loves us, so it’s the joy of working with the Winter Park people. Whenever you help people see better, it’s inspiring.”