One of my favorite quotes from Dr. Maya Angelou is, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.” That speaks to so many of the independent retailers in our opti-community. The best part of my job is traveling from one city to the next and being in the spaces of so many of these Indie Pros running businesses with passion, tenacity and grace. This inspired the creation of the OPTIMUM RETAIL AWARD.

Launched in 2016 to recognize the value of independent retailers, the award celebrates independent retailers, showcasing their products, stores, visions and stories. Applicants are asked to share in-store innovations, individuality, culture, brand loyalty and technology usage. Past winners are Edward Beiner (South Miami, Fla.) and Todd Rogers Eyewear (Andover, Mass.).

This year’s response was overwhelming, with more than 63 submissions received from 31 cities in the U.S. and Canada as well as seven countries around the world—a testament to the international nature of the award.

The five finalists—Black Optical (Dallas, Tulsa, Oklahoma City); G is for Glasses (Winnipeg); Globe Specs (Kyoto); The Eye Place (London); and Gogosha Optique (Los Angeles)—were selected by a committee of our industry’s most respected leaders including Arian Fartash, OD, optometrist and influencer of @glamoptometrist; Christian Roth, eyewear designer and the first Council of Fashion Designers of America member in the eyewear category since 1990; and 20/20’s James Spina.

Vision Expo’s social media channels were open for voting for several weeks so the community’s votes could be factored into the judges’ scores and selection of the winner. This year, the vision community came together stronger than any other year for its peers. With over 6,000 total votes casted on social media, Gogosha Optique in Los Angeles was chosen as the 2020 OPTImum Retailer!

“In a time where, once again, we are pioneering new ideas in uncertain times, to be accepting an award that represents a culmination of my life’s work thus far is humbling and fortifying,” says Julia Gogosha. “This OPTImum Retailer award recognizes the efforts of many, the sacrifices of few and the vision of one. I’m excited to be able to celebrate and share this award with my team, peers and colleagues, when we can all be together again. Until then, vision is essential to all that we do. Thank you for recognizing mine.” Gogosha Optique will be celebrated along with the award finalists at Vision Expo West, set to take place Sept. 23 to 26 in Las Vegas, following the Independence @ the Creative Edge Panel.  

Gogosha Optique, owned by Julia Gogosha, opened in 2008 with the intention to transform the client experience from projection to discovery and recognition. Aiming to serve as the shortest and clearest conduit between wearer and designer, Gogosha Optique represents independent and handmade brands with heritage and craft, and creates one-of-a-kind expressions for their clients through in-house edging and customizing. Gogosha Optique has pioneered brands such as Jacques Marie Mage, Sabine Be, Bruno Chaussignand, Kuboraum, Masahiro Marayuma, Ahlem and Rigards. Utilizing appointment-based services, membership programs and a unique online experience, Gogosha Optique is bringing its well-known authenticity from its brick-and-mortar location to remote clients.  

Vision Expo West 2020 promises to be incredible, featuring many aspects of the reimagination planned for Vision Expo East 2020. We are more excited than ever to bring the vision community together this September for the can’t-miss event of 2020. You can pre-register for Vision Expo West, taking place Sept. 23 to 26 in Las Vegas by visiting We encourage all independent retailers to submit for the OPTImum Retail Award in 2021.   

–Tarrence Lackran