WHEN Kilmore optometrist Ian Wood came to town in 1993, he was unsure how long his business would last.
“When I started here I didn’t know if I’d be here for two weeks or 10 years,” he said.
But with the backing of the community, Mr Wood’s business has outlasted even his own expectations.
Nearly 30 years later, he is looking forward to a well-earned retirement.
Mr Wood said he had seen a lot of changes during his three decades in Kilmore, both in the optometry industry and the town itself.
“The size of the town has changed,” he said.
“[Where my shop is] used to be the business end with the banks and the legal people, but there’s been a big shift down the other end, which is probably good because I’ve got plenty of parking now.
“There have been some pretty big changes in the industry. Equipment-wise there have been a lot of advances, and Medicare just changed a lot as well.
“It is a little more medically-oriented than it used to be, which is a good thing – it’s good for me and for the patient as well.
“I think people’s expectations have increased. Plus we’ve had a lot of extra training in different areas too, so I’d say that’s been a big bonus.”
Mr Wood decided to become an optometrist after two years of studying medicine and said he loved the opportunities it had provided him.
“I suppose I enjoyed working in different places from Echuca down to Melbourne and after that deciding to go the country. I liked it more than the city, so it made me come here,” he said.
“People in the country are just different.”
It was that connection with country people that Mr Wood said had made his career special.
“It’s got to be the people who walk in the door who make the job worthwhile,” he said.
“Selling stuff, you have to do it because you need the money to stay there, but that side of it doesn’t appeal to me that much. But the people and the professional side of optometry, the science behind it, is really good.”
Mr Wood said he would enjoy a range of pursuits in retirement.
“If COVID hadn’t have been here we probably would have pulled the pin about a year ago, but we couldn’t do much else,” he said.
“We’ve got a bit of travel coming up shortly, but I haven’t got any major projects. Just a bit of golf and getting into the wine cellar a bit more often I suppose.
“I’m on the board at the racing club, so I’ll be able to put more time into that. I’ve got a couple young horses coming through so we can follow them.”
The business will continue to operate from shop 8, 11-13 Sydney Street, Kilmore.