40 years ago Miguel Avalos found a leadership role for himself and a home for his career in the world of vision.Some people are fortunate enough to know, early on, exactly what they are made to excel in. Mike was not one of those people. A native of El Paso, Texas and graduate of Burges High School, he worked several jobs after graduation that he found unfulfilling. He became frustrated when his calling didn’t voluntarily jump out at him and contemplated joining the Air Force. However, a twist of fate led him in a different direction just before he had the chance to be sworn in to the military.
Mike’s career began with a company manufacturing optical lenses and he recalls that for the first time, he loved his job. Shortly after being hired, the laboratory’s technician had to take a medical leave. Mike’s boss, at the time, gave him the option: either learn the skills necessary to be the new technician or leave. The decision was an easy one, and for the next eight years, Mike would be the manager in the plastic lens laboratory. His primary job was overlooking production of surfacing and finishing of plastic lenses. Back then this was the newest concept and Mike mastered the process.
“When opportunity and hard work meet, take advantage of it, it means it’s time to grow,” says Mike enthusiastically and that is exactly what he did. This time, the offer came from the Pearle Vision Centers in 1979, to operate the finishing lab in the newly formed vision center in Las Cruces located in the Loretto Center. His acceptance would be the beginning of a long and fruitful journey in the Land of Enchantment, which he would make his permanent home.
A couple of years later, once again, opportunity came knocking on his door when Pearle Vision Centers offered him a chance to become a franchisee with the company. After managing the Pearle Vision at the Loretto Mall and the Pearle Vision in the Mesilla Valley Mall, Miguel was offered the chance to operate the first Pearle Vision Center franchise in New Mexico. He accepted, and during the 15 years as a franchisee, he won three Paragon awards recognizing his as the best store in the region, and one Stanley award recognizing it as the best store in the country.
Mike had given Pearle Vision Center many prosperous years when he made the life-changing decision to leave the franchise and become independent. The year was 1999 and it brought with it the inauguration of Avalos Vision where he would employ his vision savvy and many years of experience. He admits he could not have done it without the continuous support of his loving family; his wife Cooky, his daughter Clarissa, his son Nick–who works in the family business–as well as his long-term employees, Gracie Bencomo and Debra Chavarria.
Today, Mike is an American Board Certified Optician, a fellow with the National Academy of Opticianry and continues to own and operate Avalos Vision. With over 40 years in the optical industry, Miguel has a vast knowledge, of frames, lenses, coatings, grinding techniques, and specialty products. He puts all his eyeglasses through a stringent 15 point inspection in an effort to provide his clients with the most accurate prescription fill possible. Mike and his staff stay abreast of new technology and have taken their exceptional service a step further by providing mobile optical services to people with limited mobility. “This enables our customers to fulfill their vision needs without leaving the comfort of their home, while still receiving the same level of commitment for us,” says Mike.
On his free time Mike enjoys spending time with family, horseback riding and team roping with his son Nick. His interest in horses began when, on his 5th birthday, Nick asked him for a horse. Ever since then, Mike has enjoyed horses and team roping, but most of all he enjoys the time he spends with his son.
As Mike thinks back to all the years in the business, and how much technology and advancements in the industry have evolved over time, he admits that he too has evolved and progressed. He has aged with his loyal customers who have been with him for many years and are now bringing in their newer generations. “It is important to keep up with the innovations, to continue providing the best service and product. So far, I have enjoyed every step of the way.” He plans to continue evolving and offering the best quality product and service for many more years to come.