Cazenovia

Caz
13035

Scroll to Meet your caz neighbors

Introducing

Shawna Clarke

“With ‘Eye Love’, I wanted to make the point that I’m going to give back. When I’m able to, I’m going to give back. This wasn’t so that I could buy a bigger house or upgrade our lifestyle. This is so that we can give back as much as we can, and that’s really important for us. I grew up and very much had a lot of help when we were younger. I’m one of five. My mom was single and we didn’t have a lot. And, it’s tough. It was tough, tough, tough. So, I’m in a different position, and I’m going to be sure that somebody who’s in the position I was in when I was younger, if I can help make their life easier, I’m gonna do that.”

 

Shawna is the newest addition to the businesses that line the historic village streets of Cazenovia. And, her mission is clear: she aims to provide her customers with the best quality frames and lenses while forming the connections and honesty that is often lacking in her industry today. While the name she chose for her business seems fitting for any optical boutique, her desire to give back to those in need through her talent and business, makes the name an even more perfect match.

 

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Shawna’s story isn’t all lenses and frames, though. She’s a CNY local who’s spent her entire life in the area. She grew up in Chittenango, and found herself bartending at Tacoma’s in her early

20s. She was there on September 11, 2001 when the nation was frozen with fear and anxiety, yet filled with a renewed and unconditional love for one another. This was also the day that would mark an unexpected change in her life’s course for another reason; this was the day that she met the man who would eventually become her husband and the father to her children. “He came home (to CNY) the night of 9/11. He lived in Manhattan and when that happened, his parents had him get into the car, and come home because they were scared; nobody knew what was going to happen. And then he drove out of there and went straight to Tacoma’s where I worked.  And, that’s the first night we met. Geez, we must have been 23 when that happened.”  

 

 

 

 

Fast-forward almost 20 years, and Shawna found herself moving to Cazenovia during the beginning stages of the pandemic with her family of 5. Having grown up right next to Caz, it was not a new place for her, but one she had grown to love. “I love that it’s not so much a ‘tourist town’, but there's a lot of stuff going on here. I wanted to be closer with my customers and, you know, really get to know them and be a part of the community that I’m living in. It was always a dream for me to have my work be two miles from my house. So, when this spot opened, I was like, ‘No way!’.”  And, while the newness of her home is just beginning to wear off, and the doors to her business have only just been opened for a few short weeks, she’s been overwhelmed by the support and kindness she has received from the community. 

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There is no better proof that you can live out your dreams with just a bit of dedication, some hard work, and a lot of goal-setting. Shawna’s journey in frames and lenses began at a big-box eye care provider working at the bottom as a receptionist,  and through training and many years of experience practicing her craft, she’s now the owner of a brand new eye boutique. She, herself, has 20/20 vision and it is clear that her own words cannot be further from the truth: “the future is open!”

Amanda Ferris

Writer

Casey McClean

Photographer

July 7, 2021