We had the good fortune of connecting with Jose A Diaz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jose A, let’s talk legacy – what do you want yours to be?
When we are young, we never think on a grand scale what our life would mean or how much our life would touch others’ lives. It is with age that this begins to gain some attention. When I began my career, I was focused on making a better life for myself, in hopes of a better outcome. Now, I am a seasoned individual that has dedicated his life to providing services to others so they can see better and enjoy what life has to offer. I have seen many persons smile and leave my business overjoyed in that they can see again. These are the moments that I enjoy the most. I hope that I am remembered as a man that was fair and cared for his customers. One that took the time to give them personal attention and customer satisfaction.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I began working in this industry, as a young man from a small town in Michoacán, Mexico. Once in Mexico City, I started working for an optometric chain that was well known for providing quality services to its customers. This company, like many others like it, had to close its doors due high competition in global business. So, I immigrated to the United States on a Work Visa and began serving in the iconic American Optical™ in Downtown, Los Angeles. Aligned with the company’s vision, I too believed that everyone should have access to eyewear, not just the elite. I also believed that it should be a positive and memorable experience for all. During my tenure, I encountered several opportunities to strengthen my skills and came across many persons that would be supportive and inspirational to me opening my own business.
It is this instilled pride in highly valued craftmanship and the deep desire to see customers react joyfully in their ability to see clearly; that prompted me to open the doors to Metropolitan Optical in 1973. Taking the lessons from my early years, I have provided high quality services, at reasonable prices, for the last 49 years. In the age of technology where prescription eyewear is filled via internet, mass produced and mailed to the customer, it is rather refreshing that my small business provides personal attention and face-to-face customer service.
Businesswise, there are seasons of ups and downs that go along with shopping trends. I have found that it is important to get to know your community and be a part of it. Support your fellow small business owners and shop at their stores, too. Support one another to get through challenges. Get to know your customers, as I have, and strive to meet their unique needs while providing a positive experience. It is my hope that in the coming years, I will continue to meet new customers, make new friends, and be given the opportunity to provide them the professionalism and personal attention to meet their vision needs.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Okay, besties, if you want to have a great time, you’ll have to start your day with the most important meal of the day: breakfast. The best, in my opinion is a freshly baked bagel from Brooklyn Bagel Bakery on Beverly Blvd. They have been around for over 60 years and are a must try in LA. Then, its time to hike those calories off with a morning coffee in hand at the nearby Griffith Park Observatory Trails Peak. Catch a glace at the stars/planets with their telescopes. Get a delicious Italian sub at the eastside Italian Deli in Downtown L.A. and walk around the nearby China town to snag a trinket or two. End the day with a delicious prime rib and red wine at the nearby Tam O’Shanter in Los Feliz; where they serve Walt Disney’s favorite dish!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
When I heard about the Shoutout series, I was excited about the idea of lifting others and celebrating their success. It made me think about my own trajectory and how I have been impacted by others. When I arrived to Los Angeles, in the 1960s, it was a very intimidating and foreign place to me. I had limited knowledge of the territory, language and had no idea where my life would lead to. Would I be successful? What challenges would I have to face? How would I handle them and would I come up alright? It is to my fellow Angelinos, to whom I dedicate this article to. It is to those fellow individuals that received me with open arms, showed me the ropes and taught me all I needed to know to survive in my early years. It is also to those Angelinos that inspired me to be more than I was and open my business; which later gave me my life’s purpose, pride and contributed to developing my self-identity. I’d like to thank all the Angelinos that have been with me and my business through the last 49 years; those that continue to support me and those that continue to live in memory. It is with pride that I find myself a part of this group. For, no one exists, survives or succeeds alone.