Optometrist eyes new Shelton location

Photo of Brian Gioiele
Eye Care Associates will be making a move from its longtime Coram Avenue location to Canal Street space. Pictured are Dr. Joseph Madrak, office manager Kari Madrak and Dr. Alexandra Budd.

Eye Care Associates will be making a move from its longtime Coram Avenue location to Canal Street space. Pictured are Dr. Joseph Madrak, office manager Kari Madrak and Dr. Alexandra Budd.

Brian Gioiele / Hearst Connecticut Media

Dr. Joseph Madrak had long been eyeing space to expand his optometry operation. Canal Street has proven to be the perfect fit.

Madrak will be moving Eye Care Associates from its current location at 190 Coram Ave. to a more spacious home in the now-bustling Riverview Retail Center, which sits on the former Rolfite property at 131 Canal St. The office will be next to the newly opened Pier 131 Kitchen and Bar.

“We wanted to stay in the area, and this opportunity was there to move into historic downtown. It’s really rejuvenated down there,” said Madrak, who purchased Eye Care Associates from longtime owner Howard Cohen in 2015, said.

Developer John Guedes is now seeing tenants lease space in a structure that has sat vacant for the past three years. The Shelton resident and owner of Primrose Properties is now before the Planning and Zoning Commission seeking approval to turn the second floor into eight apartments.

For Madrak, the new space, which he hopes to occupy within a few weeks, will provide increased accessibility to eye care for his patients, many of whom have to wait weeks for an appointment.

“My vision for the practice was always to expand,” Madrak said. “With this new space, we will be better able to meet our patients’ needs. I’m here for the long haul. There are great employers in the area, wonderful people, families. Shelton has been a great fit for us.”

Eye Care Associates presently uses 1,000 square feet of first floor space at 190 Coram Ave. Cohen had operated his optometrist office for 40 years before selling to Madrak in 2015. Prior to Cohen, Madrak said another eye doctor was in the space, so the site has been occupied by an optometrist for close to 90 years.

The new space will be 2,800 square feet, Madrak said, meaning he will be able to accomodate between 5,000 and 5,500 patient visits a year more easily due to having more exam rooms. He also plans to increase his staff, which presently sits at seven full-timer workers, which should lead to shorter wait times.

Dr. Alexandra Budd, a part-time optometrist at the practice, will move into a full-time role once the move is complete. Cohen, who had been working with Madrak part-time after selling the practice, retired last October during the pandemic.

“He’s still coming in, now as a patient,” Madrak said.

Madrak said he met Cohen while the pair were on the Connecticut Association of Optometrists scholarship committee. It was there, Madrak said, that Cohen mentioned he was interested in selling his practice.

“I was looking for my own place to start and grow,” Madrak said. “The location, in upper Fairfield County, in a growing community like Shelton, was a perfect fit.”

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com