Meeting your Vision Needs at Calais Family Optical Plus

Ready to assist customers with their eyeglass needs at Calais Family Optical Plus on North Street is eyeglasses technician Rusty Staples. Staples has taken over the eyeglass-related portion of the business following the retirement of Dr. George Taylor. (Photo by Lura Jackson)

By Lura Jackson


While eye doctor George Taylor has officially retired, community members looking for a place to purchase high quality glasses or to have their existing pair repaired can continue to find what they need at the former Calais Family Eye Care on North Street. Eyeglass technician Rusty Staples has officially taken over the business, and he remains committed to providing the area with top-of-the-line eyeglasses at a reasonable price, along with convenient, reliable service to ensure that their vision stays in the best condition it can be.

Staples is originally from Cornville, Maine, and has lived in Calais for 20 years. After working with Calais Regional Hospital for a time, he began working with Dr. Taylor seven years ago. When it came time for Dr. Taylor to retire, he wanted to ensure that his previous customers continued to have their vision needs cared for without having to take a trip to Bangor. He provided financing for Staples to take over the business and keep it afloat after the transition took place.

The name of the business will be changed to Calais Family Optical Plus, and it will continue to offer and handle “anything you want for eyeglasses,” Staples said. The products offered are all high quality with warranties that Staples addresses himself. “I’m making sure that every product that I bring through here is going to stand up,” Staples said. “I want to make sure that people have a product that’s going to keep them going and not have to get them repaired as much, because that helps me, too.”

When it comes to repairs, Staples has developed a positive reputation locally. “The people that come here call me the magic man, because unless they’re absolutely, completely broken, I’ve saved many a pair of very bent up glasses,” Staples shared.

The high quality of his new products does not translate to a higher price, in part due to Staples’s decision to lower the cost of his glasses by 20 percent to keep local residents from having to drive to Bangor. “A lot of people have this mentality that buying in Bangor is better, but I have not seen that, especially with eyeglasses,” Staples said. “People go up there and buy glasses and come in here and say ‘Can you make these work for me? I don’t want to drive back to Bangor.’” In some cases, Staples can help, but often those customers have to make the trip to get the glasses repaired by the original dealer. 

Having accurately constructed glasses is extremely important for maintaining vision, Staples explained. “Eyeglasses, if you’re off by a millimeter, they can mess up your eyes.” Those who opt to purchase their glasses – particularly bifocals – online are doing so at a high risk based on Staples’s experience. “It’s horrid,” Staples said. “People come in here with glasses that are not made for them.” He said that while the online glasses may have the correct prescription in them, they are positioned in entirely the wrong location in the lens. “That online stuff is scary.”

For Staples, helping people to preserve their vision is a reward in itself. Having had the opportunity to observe Dr. Taylor’s practice for the past several years, he recalls one woman who would come in at least once a month as she was facing blindness due to macular degeneration. “She was scared out of her wits,” Staples said. “I can’t imagine that. It’s terrible. That’s why I worry about people and their glasses.”

Aside from an extensive array of customizable eyeglass models, Staples hopes to introduce hearing aids and supplies in the future. He is also working on recruiting an optometrist to fill the shoes that Dr. Taylor left. If you would like to see what Rusty can do for you and your vision, stop by Calais Family Optical Plus and take in the view. The office is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.