New recycling options for eye drop containers and contact lens cases!
We are into our fifth year of recycling contact lenses and contact lens packaging as a Terra Cycle partner! A common concern for our potential daily wear contact lens wearers was the amount of waste the daily disposable contacts would generate. We’re excited to have this solution available and we’ve now shipped over 460 pounds of contact lens waste that has been dropped off by you Bellingham for proper recycling. Yes – I calculated that twice to make sure. Municipal recycle pick up would sort out these little pieces of plastic from the recycle and now we’ve diverted the equivalent weight of a tiger out of the landfill!
We’ve worked hard to get the word out about our contact lens recycling program and these results show it has been successful! Now we’re excited to introduce a new recycling program available for more eyecare products. Binyon Vision Center is now also a drop off point for recycling the following items:
All brands of contact lens cases
All brands of contact lens solution bottle caps (bottles can be recycled through the city recycling program- but caps are too small!)
Eye drop single dose vials
Eye drop packaging
Hard to remember? Here’s a little image to help. If it has to do with your eye care or eye wear and it seems too small to go into the City Recycle… we will probably be able to recycle it!
With the addition of eye drop packaging, this spreads to non-contact lens wearers! We’d appreciate helping us get the word out- if you can share this image above with your friends, family members and social media followers we can get more people recycling these items. As with the contact lens packaging, anyone can drop by a container of these products, we’ll take the goods and return your container if you’d like. You can drop it through our mail slot (if it fits!) during our closed hours.
Recycling around the office with Ridwell
Our optical business receives many boxes via courier service and various package delivery outfits every day. Yes, this is so fun- new frames for our showroom floor, our patient’s completed prescription glasses, office supplies, and more to keep us going! After the thrill of opening the boxes of new glasses, the let down was the amount of unrecyclable waste. Over a year ago, Dr. LeClaire opened an account with Ridwell, a unique pick up service for hard to recycle items. Check out here if they are available in your area.
Recently, we upgraded our Ridwell service to the unlimited plan. This allows us to recycle:
Plastic film (many frame companies send their frames to us in plastic film bags for protection)
Multi-layered plastic (food storage bags for example)
Clear plastic clamshells
Latex paint and fluorescent lights for a minimal extra fee
We received a bin to fill for monthly pick up but with our unlimited plan, we can add extra bags (and we always do!) outside of the bin and they will take those also. We love the knowledge the extra waste that comes in the door can be recycled and what is especially cool about Ridwell is they will tell us where it’s going! They are transparent and accountable for how and where the recycled materials are used. See more details here.
With Terra Cycle and Ridwell, small recycling steps add up!
You can help us with our mission to divert small eye care waste from landfills – reference the image above and drop by these new items along with your contact lens waste to Binyon Vision Center. If you haven’t started using Ridwell yet, we’d encourage you to give it a try! The service can be canceled any time if it’s not a good fit. For the Binyon Vision Center team, the peace of mind all of us get from not throwing these previously unrecyclable items into the garbage can is priceless!
There was no doubt on July 12, 2023- Lafont Paris was in the Binyon house in Bellingham, WA. One of the pioneers of the independent eyewear movement and family owned for 100 years – we are always so excited to welcome this company to take over the store and show their extensive and unique line of frames.
Cheetah, cheetah and more cheetah
A long time signature of the Lafont line is the cheetah print that has graced many a frame style in the last 100 years. One table was dedicated to all of the current frames that come in cheetah print. There are over 18 frames that incorporate cheetah into their color scheme!
My mission – finding my next frame to compliment my current collection!
When I became presbyopic a few years ago and needed progressive lenses to see the fine print- my glasses collection severely reduced in size! I was so excited to peruse the latest Lafont line to find the perfect pair. There were two that stood out immediately- both recommended by the Lafont rep for the Pacific Northwest, Ciara.
The “Maud” features a metal polka dot motif in an amazing cut out bronze color accented by the bottom light blue. I love the delicacy of the cut outs- I had a previous Lafont frame with a filigree cut out and it looked like a piece of jewelry. Jordan pointed out the bronze color might not wear well in winter without the summer glow, and I had to agree! Maybe next time, Maud.
Oh hello “Jeanne” … this is the magic of a trunk show. Jeanne has been at the Binyon store before but in a different color combination. This pop of color combined with lightness and my favorite shape was exactly what I needed. I put these on, and knew I’d found the perfect pair.
After making my final selection, I was excited to be measured by the new tool in the office, the Shamir Spark hands-free measuring tool. Heather sat me down to look in the mirror and showed me how the machine took all the necessary measurements for the progressive lenses, even calculating how far the glasses were from the front of my eyes and the angle from the top to the bottom of the lenses. I’m so excited to get the Autograph Intelligence lenses with these new frames- the best in progressive lens technology.
A trunk show is an opportunity for a manufacturer to bring in their entire collection to a retail partner. As much as an optical boutique like ours would love to carry every frame in every color, we get to choose our inventory carefully (PS – stay tuned for an upcoming blog interview with our office manager on how she chooses which frames to bring in the store)!
During a trunk show, we get a limited opportunity to bring in every frame from one of our manufacturers in every color and it is SO fun. This summer, we’re bringing one of our longtime favorites, Lafont Paris who is also celebrating their 100th year in business!
Who is Lafont?
Here is a snippet from the Lafont website about their rich history in eyewear:
“Lafont’s story begins with Louis Lafont in 1923 and the opening of his optical boutique at 11 rue Vignon Paris. The Maison took a pivotal turn in the 1980’s with Laurence and Philippe Lafont introducing their iconic frame – GENIE. Today Thomas and Matthieu, fourth generation the of Lafont family, head Maison Lafont, where independence remains a pillar of the brand.
Together they are committed to the future ensuring eco-responsibility in their products and services.
Lafont is full of color and Parisian style. Signature colors and patterns are combined with seasonal shading forming unique and exclusive designs. Evidence of the authenticity of French eyewear expertise and French manufacturing found in the unique combination of artisanal craftsmanship and technology that is fundamental to the House. One passion guides our collections: a beautiful product made with care and attention to detail.”
With over 500 additional frames in stock, we hope that you join us for return of the annual Lafont Trunk show!
We are extremely excited to announce the addition of a new optometrist to the team at Binyon Vision Center. Dr. Patrick Squires will start seeing patients on April 24th and have availability on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
Dr. Squires grew up in St. Louis and graduated from the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Optometry with honors. He has spent most of his career working in community health clinics in Seattle. Dr. Squires helped establish a diabetic clinic for the Puget Sound Neighborhood Health Clinics, where he did retinal screenings. He volunteered with UW Faculty and medical students, “Sight Savers”, and local health fairs including Seamar’s Latina Health Fair. He was also a past director and a volunteer at the Millionair Club Eye Clinic in Seattle.
Dr. Squires’ wife is from Glasgow. While pursuing her, he spent four years working abroad in Germany and Scotland. During his time in Germany, Dr. Squires set up contact lens clinics as a civilian for the Department of Defense.
Dr. Squires’ son attends Fairhaven Middle School, and his wife is an Occupational Therapist for the Opportunity Council. In his free time, Dr. Squires travels the I-5 corridor driving his son to his next soccer match. Being an avid baseball fan, he is a season ticket holder to the Everett Aquasox, and frequently attends Bellingham Bells games. Dr. Squires considers himself fortunate to have worked with many exceptional clinicians, and caring individuals, throughout his career. He has great respect for Dr. McEathron and is excited to join Dr. LeClaire and Binyon Vision Center.
Dr. McEathron will be working two days a week in June and on Wednesdays in July until he hangs up his ophthalmoscope- except for occasional vacation fill-in for the other doctors! We wish him all the best in his retirement.
Each of you who trusts us with your eye health and glasses needs are invaluable to our business. For patient appreciation month we celebrate YOU. Thank you for your support.
Our community’s support of local, independent businesses is above and beyond. Inspired by the “Think Local” campaign – we’ve put together a drawing with prizes from some of our favorite local businesses and multiple ways for our patients to enter! This year we’re going bigger – more prizes and more ways to win!
Here are the ways you can earn entries to the patient appreciation drawing:
Stop by the office and request an entry!
Bring by your spray bottle for a refill for two entries!
Bring in used contact lenses and packaging for recycling for two entries
Purchase a 3, 6 or 9 month supply of contacts = three entries
Purchase new lenses for your frame = three entries
Purchase a plano (non-prescription) pair of sunglasses = three entries
Purchase a year supply of contacts = five entries
Order a new complete pair of glasses = five entries
And now the best part! The prizes!
A pair of Ovvo frames- your pick- and a free set of lenses = one complete pair of glasses!!
All qualifying purchases will be automatically added to the drawing throughout the month of April and the winner will be notified the first week of May! One prize per entrant. No limit to number of entries.
Thank you again for your incredible support of our business! We appreciate you!
Also! Keep a look out on our Instagram page for a special social media giveaway this month!
Last month we published a popular blog post interweaving our company’s long history in downtown Bellingham with its newspaper advertisements in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Thanks again to the comprehensive resource, newspapers.com, we have more to share from the 1950’s through the 2000’s.
Bellingham Herald Advertisements from the 1950’s
As Bellingham and the rest of the country moved on from the war, we observed many changes in communities. The baby boom was in full swing and more people were moving to the suburbs and out of the big cities. For this reason and the decline of many of Bellingham’s industries including fishing, lumber and canneries, the local government pushed hard for the new multilane highway (I-5) to run right through downtown and along the waterfront. The hope was to promote new factories and industry into the heart of Bellingham. As we see now, the state road planners had different ideas (Reference: Bellingham – Thumbnail History). There is no record of what the Binyon Optometrists thought of this idea, but it’s safe to say our current downtown would look much different if I-5 had been routed this way!
We find the newspaper advertisements for the 1950’s continue to highlight eye exams as scientific, glasses as precise tools. This particular advertisement catches one’s eye with the line – “Glasses become obsolete too!” Reading further, you see it’s one’s eyes that would change to cause glasses to no longer work well- cleverly emphasizing the need for yearly eye exams:
There is no question that glasses fashion took off in the 1950’s – thank you Buddy Holly. While men’s frames were mostly basic horn-rims, the ladies discovered the cat-eye. Colors became more available in women’s frames and the additions of set-in gems was common.
The following lifestyle ads connect good vision to optimal eye health- presenting a problem that can be solved with a quality eye exam and glasses:
A few ads highlighted new, specialty products available from Binyon:
And finally, the newspaper remained the best forum to keep the public updated on store news and events:
One ad that stands out to the current Binyon staff is this one that details the “Binyon Rules of Practice.” We still have this poster hanging in our office today:
Bellingham Herald Advertisements from the 1960’s
This decade started with the loss of Dr. J.R. Binyon, the founder of Binyon Optometrists on June 17th, 1960. At this time, Binyon was operating twelve offices in Washington and Oregon, each with separate managers. After his passing, each office sold and the Bellingham office began running under the ownership of Dr. Leroy Freeman, Dr. Binyon’s nephew who had managed the practice since 1950. With the independent ownership, each company began marketing itself. The inclusion of other cities with Binyon offices dropped from each ad, and the number of ads dramatically reduced. In fact, we only found two from this decade. Highlighting the message that your vision affects your daily life and routine eye exams are important – the advertisement is more simple than past years. Note in this decade and the last ad of the 1950’s, the contact phone number changed from 3 digits to 5 digits.
The office posted an announcement with the Bellingham Herald about a new doctor addition, a Bellingham High School graduate who also served in the Army Medical Corp, Dr. Donald Jones.
Bellingham Herald Advertisements from the 1970’s
The above heading (advertisements) misleads, as we only found one Bellingham Herald advertisement run by Binyon Optometrists during the 1970’s! This ad promoted the third office move to Magnolia Street, a space Binyon occupied for about 20 years. Now the phone number is a full seven digits:
Binyon Optometrists earned a brief mention in the Local News section after a burglary:
In a Lifestyle article on glasses style, Binyon optician Rae Ann Baunach was quoted as agreeing that the “middle-age” population doesn’t like seeing themselves in bifocal glasses. The article makes the assertion that most people don’t find glasses attractive. We’re all really glad that perception has changed. Note in the photo of Marilyn Monroe the glasses were added with the question – would you ask this woman for a date? Things have definitely changed.
Bellingham Herald Advertising in the 1980’s
Activity picked up on the Binyon advertising front in the 1980’s. Dr. Mark McEathron joined the staff of doctors in 1980, announced in advertising space.
Soon after his arrival, Dr. McEathron met Curtis Dye, president of Interconnect Systems, a company specializing in business phone systems. They still both remember cleverly changing Binyon’s phone number to the current 647-2020, seen in all advertisements after 1981.
Dr. McEathron’s welcome advertisement included his specialty in child eye care. A few ads during this decade showed Binyon’s creation of a free vision screening for children, not yet required in schools.
The other emphasis for Binyon Optometrists during this decade was the optical department. This was the first mention of “Binyon Optical” or “Binyon Optical Center.” Fashion, frames and sales made up the majority of the advertisements, definitely highlighting the large glasses style of the time.
The Binyon team mourned the loss of partner Dr. Leroy Freeman in 1985, Dr. Binyon’s nephew, optometrist and part-owner of Binyon Optometrists in Bellingham since 1951.
Bellingham Herald Advertisements from the 1990’s
It’s hard for many of us to think of including the 1990’s in a historical overview of Bellingham Herald advertisements, but again we get to see how the decade had a specific look. Binyon Optometrists, Binyon Optical rebrands as Binyon Vision Center. At this time, the Herald was the foremost source of local news and a feature in the Local section about the most recent move to the corner of Garden and E. Magnolia was a big deal. Even though the rebranded name is noted as “Binyon Vision Clinic” (not exactly), this is a great article to promote the new location.
Advertised opportunities hoped to bring patients in to see the new office location with a few special events in this decade. Don’t miss the mention of Terry’s lattes – Bellingham has been espresso lovers for longer than most of the country!
Bellingham Herald Advertising in the 2000’s
The 2000’s proved the last presence of Binyon Vision Center advertisements in the Bellingham Herald. Smaller vertical oriented ads highlighted the staff, new products and the services offered at Binyon:
There is no doubt clip art was popular in this decade, we see this in these horizontally oriented advertisements for the optical department:
The opportunity to record Binyon Vision Center’s journey in Downtown Bellingham through these newspaper articles has been a privilege to share with you all! If you haven’t, please check out the first blog in this series with the advertisements from the 1930’s and 1940’s. We love our community, are thankful for the rich history we have here and are excited to continue the tradition of excellence in eyewear and eyecare for many many more years!
With a mixture of joy and sadness, we announce Dr. Mark McEathron’s 43 years of service at Binyon Vision Center will be coming to an end in 2023. Dr. McEathron has faithfully cared for patients in Bellingham since September 1980. The transfer of ownership to Dr. LeClaire in September 2021 has been very smooth and he has full confidence in Binyon Vision Center’s future in providing quality care for the eyes of Whatcom County.
He is thankful for the many patients and families with whom he has built relationships and is honored to have cared for two and sometimes even three generations. The ability to help each patient see their best has been an extremely rewarding career. In his retirement, he looks forward to more travel with his wife, Mary, and spending more time with his seven grandchildren.
The Binyon team will be looking for a full-time replacement optometrist for Dr. McEathron. He will be available part-time to schedule appointments for the foreseeable future. Please call for availability and we will announce his last day on our website along with an introduction of our new doctor.
We offer our endless thanks to Dr. McEathron and wish him all the best in retirement!
Binyon Optical Company was founded in 1911 in Seattle then quickly expanded across Washington
Dr. James R. Binyon opened the first Binyon Optical Company in 1911 on First Avenue in Seattle. He went on to open several other offices in Everett, Tacoma, Spokane, Richland, Yakima, Bremerton and Bellingham, which opened in 1934. At one time, it was estimated one of every three Washington families wore glasses dispensed by Binyon Optometrists. Binyon optometrists and opticians were trained to be masters of their craft- providing an excellence in glasses and service not found elsewhere. Today there are three remaining operating clinics with the Binyon name in Bellingham, Burien and Seattle, each operating independently.
Binyon Optical- a presence in downtown Bellingham since the 1930’s
The Binyon office in Bellingham has always operated out of downtown- on Holly, Cornwall, Railroad Avenue and since 1993 on the corner of Garden and Magnolia Street. The Holly Street storefront opened in 1934 with Dr. J. H. Peterson practicing. The office moved to Cornwall Avenue in 1947. In 1951, Dr. Binyon’s nephew Dr. LeRoy Freeman moved to up to practice in the Bellingham office. Binyon made another downtown move to the corner of Railroad and Magnolia Street in 1974. Dr. Terrence Hansen joined Binyon Optometrists as an associate during that time. In 1980, Dr. Mark McEathron joined the practice. When Dr. Freeman passed away in 1985, Dr. McEathron, who was a partner at that time became the sole owner. In 1992, the office moved three blocks east on Magnolia into the former Pietro’s Pizza restaurant. This location offers over 1,000 square feet dedicated to frames displays and off-street parking. In 2019, Dr. Heather LeClaire joined Binyon Vision Center as an associate. After two years, she purchased the practice from Dr. McEathron, making her the first woman owner.
American History through Binyon Newspaper Advertisements
We have a unique opportunity to look at a business- in this case an optometrist office that provides eye exams and glasses- through the eyes of its newspaper advertisements. While today we have instant access to an internet search of “Bellingham optometrist,” even as recently as the 1990’s, newspaper marketing was vital for being seen by prospective and returning patients.
The Bellingham Herald was founded in 1890 as the Fairhaven Herald, and after a few mergers (just like our city), was renamed the Bellingham Herald in 1903. An amazing online resource – newspapers.com is the largest online newspaper archive – containing archives back to the 1770’s from over 23,900 newspapers including the Bellingham Herald. A search for “Binyon” in the Bellingham Herald brought up advertisements and press releases going back to the 1930’s. The creativity and current event references in these advertisements are a peek into marketing, US history, optometry, and downtown Bellingham. Here is a breakdown by decade of the historical advertisements for Binyon in the Bellingham Herald.
Bellingham Herald Advertisements from the 1930’s
During the 1930’s, years of depression and economic hardship for the United States and Bellingham, Binyon advertisements focused on the importance of eye exams and subtly hinted at the stress on Bellingham resident’s finances. “We do not prescribe glasses unless absolutely necessary” appears in a few adverts.
An emphasis on the science of visual defects, having skilled, registered optometrists, and modernized equipment highlights eye health and vision as an important part of overall health and establishing credibility in the health profession.
An often repeated slogan is “Binyonize Your Eyes,” and by this point, Binyon Opticals had been operating for 20 years in other locations and had gained a healthy reputation for quality and service.
Bellingham Herald Advertisements from the 1940’s
In the early 1940’s the themes of the past decade’s advertisements continued – “Your Eyes Deserve the Best” and “Truly Friendly Service” are notable phrases the company used to distinguish itself. The advertisements include higher quality artwork and reference the entire chain of Binyon plus wisely pointing out the doctor’s name and address for the Bellingham location.
When the United States entered WWII, you see a definite shift in the messaging to relate the importance of having good vision to help the country’s wartime effort. It is fascinating to see the connection of one of the key times in US History to a local optometry’s advertisements. Visual efficiency is even called a patriotic duty and essential to help with wartime production. To note, the Bellingham Shipyard was the largest privately owned shipyard in the US in the 1940’s. They produced minesweepers during the war for the United States Navy.
Other interesting additions in the 1940’s ads are the discussion of children’s vision and its effect on school work:
When the war ends, the advertisements go back to focusing on quality and service. One ad shows the proper steps to taking care of glasses. Binyon advertisements give solid advice for getting the most out of your glasses, the last step being to visit a quality optometrist for adjustments and new glasses when necessary.
The quality of glasses is a frequent theme in advertisements, including the importance of taking proper measurements and lens manufacturing. This is also an introduction to the “look” of glasses – the idea they can make you look younger and have style.
Like we see every November on social media – there is an advertisement posted to remember to vote.
There are also lifestyle advertisements in the later 1940’s – addressing specific tasks and their visual needs and how Binyon glasses can help address. “Enjoy Good Vision… Enjoy Sports More” is one tagline.
In 1947, the office moved to a new location, announced with a press release and a change in logo in some of the proceeding advertisements.
Stay tuned for advertisements from the 1950 – 2000!
The advertisements from the Bellingham Herald by Binyon Optical Company in the 1930’s and 1940’s are an extensive walk through this important time period, in the most used medium of the day. There are five more decades to cover, with the newspaper advertisements becoming less each decade as other forms of marketing emerge. Stay tuned for the additional treasures to come in next month’s blog post!
“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all virtues.” – Cicero
The Binyon staff took some time to pause and give thanks this month:
To all our patients brand new to our office or who have been coming for years- thank you! We appreciate how you trust us with your eye health and vision needs. We are so thankful.
Throughout the year, our gratitude to our local community inspires us to give back and donate a portion of our profits to local non-profits in our area focused on meeting the needs of our community in so many important ways. See our page here “We’re Thankful We’re Giving” for more information on our community donations.
BINYON VISION CENTER
411 E. Magnolia Street, Bellingham WA 98225