Women in Business: Lori Morris

Posted in: Women in Business

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This weeks #womeninbusiness #wednesday is Lori Morris, owner of Napanee Opticians at 118 John Street, that just celebrated 30 years in operation this August. Lori started her career as a banker, however in 1987 she met Joan Elm at the Curling Club. “We just clicked.” Lori says. “When I came to visit her one day, when she was at the little store further up on John Street, she asked me if I wanted a job. She needed an assistant.” Lori began working for her full time, and then in 1988 Joan partnered with Keith Heywood to open Napanee Opticians. “They asked me to come with them, so I did, and I worked alongside them. They encouraged me to get my license and become an optician.”

Lori started that process in 1999. She and her husband had three children at home, so she took the Opticians course by correspondence. She would work during the day and then go home and do her course work at night. It was a four year program which included the correspondence courses, on the job training and licensing exams. 

In 2003, Joan passed away suddenly and I took over the business at that time. Keith, who had already retired, came back to help until Lori could do her licensing exams. “I was not ready to be a business owner. Joan and I had a plan.

She was going to cut back when I got my license and I was going to slowly take the reins while she coached me along the way. That of course didn’t happen, so I kind of fell into this. There has been a learning curve. Thankfully, Joan was more than a boss. She was my mentor and friend, and she taught me valuable lessons which I was able to draw upon during this time,”

Lori was fortunate to have surrounded herself with remarkable people who could come alongside her during this process. The business community was very supportive, and able to answer any questions she had. Her husband , Ron, has been the ‘behinds the scenes guy. He was very supportive during the time I was taking the Opticians course and has been there to encourage me every step of the way.”

She worked hard to get where she is today, in a place that looks natural. The focus at Napanee Opticians is customer service. It’s an incredible vibe when you walk through the door and are greeted by her friendly staff. “Some people find buying glasses stressful, but we try and make it fun.” They have a large selection, with something for everyone.