• 64°

Beloved optician set to retire

It’s the end of an era at Gardner Eye Care on Dec. 21, as long-time optician Barbara Taylor retires.

Gardner Eye Care opened its doors in August 2008, as Greenville native Dr. Caleb Gardner returned home to start his practice, carrying on the tradition, the late Dr. Louis LaDon Snellgrove started in 1949.

In spring of 1993, Barbara Taylor began her career as the optician for Dr. Snellgrove.

In a recent interview Taylor said, “Dr. Snellgrove was a wonderful, caring person to work for.”

Working under Dr. Snellgrove for 15 years, Taylor found her love for the career. This love has compelled her to keep learning and exploring the field.

“It keeps you on your feet,” Taylor said. “There is always something changing and lots of learning.”

In  2008 when Dr. Gardner took over the practice much of the operations of the practice changed.

“Everything was new, but it was fun to watch the changes,” she said. “When I first started working everything was recorded by paper; with Dr. Gardner came more technology this made my work easier.

“It’s been my life—I like what I do!”

She emphasized her favorite part of the job was working with the patients to find the perfect frame.

“I want everyone to look good and leave happy,” she said.

The job can be challenging as well. “The trickiest part is getting a frame to fit a face shape and finding a style they want.” Helping patients for more than 20 years, Taylor explained that the most changes occurred with the styles of the frames, but the patients have remained the same.

“My friends and patients will be the thing I miss the most.” She stated further, “I am proud of Dr. Gardner and how he cares for his patients—a lot like Dr. Snellgrove. The relationships I have built with everyone have been special.”

Whitney Stillwell, the up-and-coming optician, stated, “Having the opportunity to learn from her has been a privilege. […] Mrs. Barbara is an amazing optician, wonderful friend, and incredible woman of faith. She has taught me many things—mostly optical related, but some were for a greater purpose in life. I will cherish them all and miss her dearly.”

As will everyone at Gardner Eye Care and the patients in the community.

Dr. Gardner said, “She really looked out for the patients’ best interest and cared about providing quality service and products to patients. We all at Gardner Eye Care wish Mrs. Barbara the best in her retirement, hoping it will provide the happiness and rest she deserves!”

Rest is exactly what she plans to do in her newfound free time.

“I plan to rest, read, and spend time with my family,” Taylor said.