Today in Brookside on 63rd street you would never know the little shop with the blue and red awning tucked in next too Charlie Hooper’s Bar and Grill used to be an optical shop. 26 years ago if you were to walk into the store you would notice the smells of many tropical and rare plants that were placed throughout the store, the overall welcoming atmosphere and greeted by the stores mascot, Zach the bird. But it wasn’t any old optical shop; it was the original Brookside Optical. On November 1, 1989 owner Leon Butler opened its doors for the very first time, where it would be in this location for the next 13 years before relocating to Overland park where it has been since 2002. Leon, who grew up in a small town in Oklahoma, was seeking that small town feel and chose this location because of that small town feel he was looking for. He also loved the location for the very loyal customer database and their loyalty to that neighborhood, and no one else in that area was doing what he was doing for many miles. When coming up with the stores name, Leon had no doubt in his mind he wanted to name it Brookside Optical as a tribute to that neighborhood and area. When it was opened Leon had the help from one employee, Dianna Smith, other than that he was the driving force behind the store and its success.
When the store was first opened it had none of the out of the box style that is in the store today. It followed fashion trends and the only thing that set them apart from everyone else is Leon’s ability to fit hard to fit clients, constantly challenging the status quo, and his innovativeness creating his own computer software and building his own display cases. What makes this store so special is its ability to constantly adapt and reinvent itself due to changes in the industry such as the introduction to Lasik Eye Surgery and the economy constantly changing.