“I stayed at Walmart so long because I always felt like I was part of a big team, a big family, and I have always been enamored with that,” says Fort Saskatchewan Walmart Optician Steve Craig.
On April 14, “The Eye Guy” retired after more than more than 34 years as an optician – he spent more than 23 of those years at Walmart and 20 years as the Vision Centre Manager at our Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta Walmart store.
Steve joined Walmart in 1999 looking for stability and growth opportunities. “At the time, Walmart was new to the vision centre business. The potential for growth was obvious and I wanted to grow along with them.”
The Fort Saskatchewan Walmart Vision Centre quickly became a destination for eye care with customers near and far, some travelling three and a half hours to be seen by Steve and his team.
"Families trust me for their ocular health,” Steve says. “I treat my customers like my friends and I think that’s a big reason why they come back. Everyone gets a smile or a wave when they come in. I make them feel welcome and comfortable.”
Steve has provided eye care for generations of families. As a fixture at the store, the children he started off helping are now bringing in their children to see him.
“Walmart compensates me quite well, but I do this because I like helping people. I always go home feeling like I’ve done something good.”
For Steve, the best part of his job are his youngest patients.
“It’s always been so uplifting to help kids when they don’t know what they can’t see. I love the look on their faces when they put on new glasses for the first time. They have this look of astonishment along with big smiles.”
One of his most memorable patients was a three-year-old girl. She had a very heavy hyperopic prescription and struggled to see things up close, missing out on all the details.
“I fitted her with her first pair of glasses. When I put them on her, she started looking around and then straight at her mother. She said, ‘Mommy, you’re so pretty’. She had never really seen her before. It was an incredible moment that I’ve never forgotten.”
Over the years, Steve’s made many contacts and long-lasting friendships with associates and customers alike.
“Since I announced my retirement, I’ve received numerous calls, texts and customers stopping by. I’m humbled, overwhelmed, and truly honoured to be so well regarded,” Steve says.
“We have truly valued the exceptional service Steve has provided all of our patients and customers at our Fort Saskatchewan Walmart Vision Centre since we opened,” said Kiran Basra, Director, Pharmacy & Optical Operations, Western Canada. “His friendly and caring demeanor has had such an impact on those in the community. Our associates will miss seeing Steve in our Vision Centre as we know our customers and patients will as well. We are excited to celebrate this milestone with Steve and wish him the best for his retirement.”
As Walmart Founder Sam Walton said, “The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best, but legendary.” Steve, you truly embody this sentiment. Thank you for your legendary service. You’ll be dearly missed.