Welcome once again to our “Spotlight On” Series, where we focus on our tenants, their brand, the people behind the brand and some insight into why they do what they do.
Today we feature Tanya Seeber Optometrists, one of Mainstream Mall’s longest standing tenants! You can’t miss Tanya Seeber’s quaint shopfront as you enter the mall from the Main Road side. She is located in our Fisherman’s World precinct, which brings Hout Bay’s rich history right here to the present.
We caught up with Tanya to get the lowdown on her successful optometry practise.
You’re a household name in Hout Bay, and you must be very proud of what you have achieved. How did you get into optometry in the first place?
T.S. During my final years at school, my mother suggested a career in Optometry. I wanted to work in a medical or veterinarian field, and I had the experience of assisting my mother when she worked for an Optometrist dealing with the financial side of running a practice. I applied for Optometry studies at the then “School of Optometry” affiliated with Wits Technicon. I did not apply for any other course of study at the time as nothing else really caught my attention. Of the 350 applicants, they chose 35 students, of which I was one. I always regard this as a sign that I am doing exactly what I am meant to.
It certainly sounds like it was meant to be! Tell us something about you, your brand or your journey that may surprise your customers
T.S I qualified in 1989 with a Dip Optom FOA SA. Even though I had a “rich” and fulfilling formative life on the West Rand in Johannesburg, I had always dreamt of living in the Cape. I literally got into my “new” second hand car, a small upgrade from my much loved Beetle, and drove down to Cape Town. I started my first job in Wynberg with Meskin and Salmonson, a wonderful practice who showed me the ropes on how to deal with patients and the public. After doing a two year stint with locum work, taking me to all areas of Cape Town and up the West Coast, I decided to settle into my first practice in Tokai. Two years in, I heard of the Mainstream Village being planned in Hout Bay. I approached Mr Stanley Dorman, who agreed to sign me up into a lease. During my 24+ years at Mainstream Mall, I have formed a strong relationship with the community.
Why did you choose Hout Bay and Mainstream Mall as your base?
T.S. I fell in love with Hout Bay from the first time I was looking for accommodation in the Cape Town area. All my children were born here and have grown up with the blessing of living in such a beautiful “village”, surrounded by the natural beauty and the amazing diversity of people. It is seldom that one finds such a supportive community such as Hout Bay. Even when contemplating where I would rather live, Hout Bay still comes up tops.
Many people aren’t aware of the community work you do for Hout Bay. Tell us a bit about it:
T.S I love giving back to our community. I set up and have been running a facility at the Hangberg clinic for 9 years, assisting with schools in the area including Dominican Grimley School for the deaf, Valley Pre-Primary, Disa Primary and community driven initiatives such as Kronendal Music Academy, Rotary and Lion’s Clubs, ABC Learning amongst others.
Who works with you behind the scenes to make your practise run smoothly and successfully?
T.S I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of my support staff. Bronwyn Jacobs , my Optical dispenser, has been part of my practice team for over 17 years. Although Bronwyn joined me when the practice was already established in Hout Bay, she has brought her positive personality and expertise, creating her own following from the community.
Raadhiyah Matthews, another one of my Optical dispensers, joined me in 1994 when I had my first private practice in Tokai and has travelled the journey with me to Hout Bay, bringing a calming energy to the practice.
Justine Seeber, my Optical assistant, has assisted the practice in the past when we needed an extra hand. The opportunity came up in December 2019 to become a permanent part of the team, bringing with her a creative and analytical flair. I could say that Justine started with the practice since being a baba, when she would be at work with me just after she was born, tucked in her little crib next to me while I worked.
I could not have coped this well until now if it wasn’t for a continuous support team, both past and present, and I regard my staff as family. I would also not have been able to endure the many years of private practice without the love and understanding from my family.
It sounds like you have a great team by your side. If you weren’t in your chosen profession, what would you be doing now?
T.S I have always wanted to work with animals. My first choice of career was Veterinary Sciences, specialising in wild life, but was not fortunate, or patient enough, to endure 9+ years of studies. Perhaps I will still go into the field of wildlife environmental studies or nature conservation. Time will tell. I am also very fond of creativity with design, including fashion, jewellery and flower arranging. I love gardening too, where I can connect with nature.
What “special something” do you add to your service delivery to make it worthwhile visiting you?
T.S. First and foremost my team and I endeavour to give each individual person unique attention to their visual needs. We can proudly say that we are here to assist all ages from infants to the elderly, from the well sighted to those who have lost their sight, and we do our best to cater for each individuals budget without compromising on quality of care and products. We also cater for every form of optical lenses as well as contact lenses, from daily soft lenses to hard contact lenses.
I enjoy the challenge of being able to assist with diagnosing ocular pathology, referral to the appropriate specialists, and helping with the care and support both before and after eye teatments. My closest mentor is Dr Michael Mesham, whom I had the privilege of working with for a period of time in his practice in Constantia. He is highly regarded in his field of expertise, and I respect his attitude and care towards his patients. The greatest gift I can offer is the give of good sight, which is so rewarding.
Well there you have it folks. For all and any eye-care needs, Tanya Seeber is your go-to optometrist in Hout Bay.
Visit Tanya Seeber the next time you’re at Mainstream Mall and support local!