Dallas Youth Optical is celebrating our 70th Anniversary! We are incredibly proud to be a prominent part of the Dallas eyecare community for the past 70 years and many more years to come.
When you want the best for your child, you come to the experts, that’s us! Parents trust us, and we help children see better for over 70 years. We pride ourselves on the fact that we have multiple generations worth of families coming back to Dallas Youth Optical for their children.
To celebrate our 70th Anniversary we wanted to share stories from our history with you, we hope you enjoy learning more about us! Click on a topic to learn more.
Our Start from WWII
After graduating from high school my dad, Mathew R. Franz went straight into the war, like most men his age. Dad taught us from an early age to put our Catholic faith and family first and God will take care of the rest. During World War II he was in France and was working as a medic, assigned to the optical team. He learned how to be an optician in the back of a jeep in France during World War II. When he returned home from the war, he used his knowledge as an optician and founded Dallas Optical in 1949. The business began with a friend from the war, but Mathew bought out the friend within the first year of opening and became the sole owner of Dallas Optical, now called Dallas Youth Optical.
Dallas Youth Optical has always been a family business. We were initially founded in 1949 by Mathew R. Franz Sr., and sadly he passed away of a heart attack in 1971. He left behind his wife and seven children and 6 optical stores. To support the family wife Dorothy ‘Saint Dorothy’ Franz took over the business to provide for her seven children who were ages 7-20. Mom worked for 25 years and retired at the age of 71. Throughout the years several of those children joined the family business. Mathew (Bob) R. Franz Jr., Patty Franz Liem, Charley Franz, and Billy Franz all worked for Dallas Optical as store managers for the variety of stores we’ve had throughout the past 70 years. Present day, Billy Franz is now the owner of Dallas Youth Optical and is the only Franz family member still involved in the business. Billy feels so fortunate to have the support of his wife Karen, his two daughters, and his four grandchildren. Melissa Smith manages our Plano store and is treated like a member of the family she comes with over 25 years of experience and 15 with Dallas Youth Optical.
Born, raised and schooled in Dallas, Texas
Grade school: St Monica and St. Rita
High School: Jesuit College Preparatory School
Colleges: University of North Texas 3 years
Graduated from University of Texas Southwestern Medical School of Allied Health Services at Dallas with a B.A. degree in Biology and Certification of Physical Therapy.
Licensed by State if Texas in Physical Therapy in 1976.
Only Licensed Pediatric Physical Therapist in Dallas Independent School District before mainstreaming.
Ran Physical Therapy Department at Plano General Hospital.
Joined family business in 1979.
Master Optician in 1989.
Sons of Mathew R. Franz, Bob & Billy, were studying to become Master Opticians in hopes of following their father’s footsteps. While studying, they came across a familiar name in their textbook. Their father and founder of Dallas Optical, Mathew R. Franz, was credited in the book for helping to create Fresnel Prism. Fresnel Prism is a thin, transparent plastic sheet that is attached to lenses to help children who have double vision. Bob & Billy honestly had no idea their father helped with the creation of the Fresnel Prism. Discovering this demonstrated to them that from the start, 70 years ago, Dallas Optical was dedicated to helping enhance the lives and vision for adults and children.
Focus on Children
Our goal for the past 70 years has always been to provide a unique experience catered towards serving the children and their families. When visiting Dallas Youth Optical for the first time, it doesn’t feel like any other doctor’s office you’ve been to, from the moment you walk in, you know it’s something different. Our 6ft teddy bear greets everyone and immediately makes children and their families feel comfortable, relaxed, and understand that the pressure is off. Our walls are lined with unique artwork created by children who visit our optical. We have plenty of games and activities to entertain children and of course, more children’s eyewear than any other optical. We offer a variety of sizes, colors, heights, styles, and measurements to meet the needs of every child!
Mr. Bill’s First Lesson
Many years ago, when Billy first joined Dallas Youth Optical, he learned an invaluable lesson. It was the first time Billy, or Mr. Bill, ever fit a child for glasses. A one-year-old girl who came in with her father to get fitted for glasses. The father asked, “How do I get a one year old to wear glasses?”
Mr. Bill, not having any experience yet said, “Well, you just put them on in the morning and make her wear them all day.”
A few days later, the mother of the girl came back and taught Mr. Bill a valuable lesson.
“Are you Mr. Bill? You don’t have children yet, do you, Mr. Bill?” said the mother.
“I don’t yet, how did you know?” asked Mr. Bill.
And here’s what she taught Mr. Bill.
The child should not wear the glasses going home, and a parent has no control over what happens to the glasses in the backseat of a car. Instead, wait till you get home, the child has taken a nap, eaten, and is in a good mood.
Then get the child set up to do something they like, such as playing a game. Put the glasses on and say only mom and dad put them on. Allow the child to play the game. Take the glasses off and say only mom and dad take them off.
Each day build up their time wearing the glasses depending on how they are doing and how their eyes are adjusting. As they get used to the glasses, you extend their time and eventually, they will be wearing them all day.
Mr. Bill has been teaching this to parents for the past 40 years he has been with Dallas Youth Optical.
The Future of Dallas Youth Optical
Billy truly defines the future of Dallas Youth Optical, and he is a man who is dedicated to his faith and his family. His goal and the goal of Dallas Youth Optical is to continue to provide excellent service to the children and their families. Being a prominent part of the Dallas community for the past 70 years, Dallas Youth Optical hopes to continue to provide their services to more families every year! Every family that enters our optical should leave feeling that they are more than a customer, that they are our friends and family.
In the future, we want to continue to get more involved in services for visually impaired. We plan to partner with hospitals, practices, and other influential businesses in the community to provide glasses and other resources to the visually impaired children of Dallas.