Earlier this month, the San Francisco Small Business Commission added Castro optometrist For Your Eyes Only (552 Castro St.) to the city's Legacy Business Registry, which recognizes "longstanding, community-serving businesses" that have established themselves in area neighborhoods for at least three decades.
Currently, there are 160 small businesses citywide on the registry. In the Castro, For Your Eyes Only joins the ranks of Anchor Oyster Bar, Beck's Motor Lodge, Castro Country Club, Cliff's Variety, The Cove on Castro, Dog Eared Books, Eros, Ixia, Moby Dick, Rolo San Francisco and Ruby's Clay Studio & Gallery.
"For over 35 years, we have proudly provided compassionate care of the highest quality to our neighborhood during times of hardship and joy," said owner and chief optometrist Dr. Kathleen Kennedy. "We are truly honored to be named a legacy business!"
Founded in 1983 by the late Dr. Kenneth Agues, For Your Eyes Only has been serving the Castro community for over 35 years.
Agues began mentoring Kennedy in 1990, after he was diagnosed with AIDS. She purchased the practice in 1991, a year before Agues passed away, and has run it ever since.
During the AIDS crisis, For Your Eyes Only was "one of the few optometry offices in the world where people who had AIDS or HIV could be open about their diagnoses, and fears of the blindness that often accompanied that terrible disease," said employee Kaye Chin.
"Our patients knew we would treat them with compassion and respect," explained Chin. "We continue this tradition today: we treat all people with dignity and kindness no matter who they are or whom they love."
For Your Eyes Only has also been involved in a variety of community efforts. A member of the Castro Lions Club, it provides free eye exams and eyeglasses to needy children attending the nearby Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy.
"During the height of the AIDS crisis, For Your Eyes Only remained dedicated to providing a warm, professional, and reliable source for eye care," wrote District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman in his nomination letter. "It has continued to do so for over three decades."
"We love San Francisco, and we especially love our Castro community," said Kennedy.
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