Today we found out a few interesting things about Satti Grewal, owner of Swing Optical in downtown Mission.
Satti moved from India to Canada in 1993, with a Masters in Political Science. Here, he worked a variety of jobs such as selling RESP’s, delivering newspapers, driving limousines and even did some volunteer speed watch work with the RCMP in downtown Mission.
With the guidance and advice from a good friend, Satti made the decision to go back to school and pursue a career as a Licensed Refracting Optician.
It might shock everyone to discover that the first place Satti applied for a job after graduating from the BC College of Optics was, none other, than Swing Optical. They were a small store and staffed only two employees, so Satti ended up working at a variety of optical Stores around Abbotsford.
Six years later, Swing Optical went up for sale, as the owner fell ill and they realized it was time to sell the store.
“I had some experience working in downtown Mission with the volunteer speed watch and liked it,” Satti explains. “I always felt like I would end up here.”
There were others vying for the store at the time, but Satti felt the connection with the location and the owners as soon as he walked through the front door.
“A connection was made immediately,” he tells us. “She told me that I was the right person for the community.”
It wasn’t long after purchasing that Satti began to emerge himself in to the community, joining boards such as the Downtown Business Association, the Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce and Community Futures North Fraser.
It was at the Chamber of Commerce that he first met Lyndon Balisky and the two became fast friends. Lyndon had just recently taken over long time Mission Optometrist Dr. Bowden’s practice.
“We were friends from the very beginning. It just seemed the obvious solution was to work together to benefit from each other."
When COVID-19 hit Mission, Swing Optical, like most places, had to close their doors. They were still seeing some patients that had previously arranged appointments or deliveries coming in, but were exercising proper social distancing and only allowing one person in at a time.
Two weeks ago, on Monday, April 13th, our beloved downtown Mission was hit with a devastating fire.
Swing Optical was, unfortunately, one of the casualties.
Gemma, from next door at Goody Too Shoes, began to smell smoke and started banging on the door that divided the two shops. They both believed a fire to be burning upstairs in the residential apartment.
Upon further investigation, they discovered the fire to be next door at WarCraft Games. The fire had escalated to serious emergency within a matter of minutes.
“I had enough time to grab my laptop and a pair of glasses before I ran out of the building,” Satti recalls.
Much to the dismay of not only Satti Grewal, but our entire community, the building was completely destroyed by the fire.
Asking Satti if anything inside was salvageable, he is still uncertain,
“There is so much damage done by not only the fire, but the smoke and the water. Chances are not good.”
The building is set to be torn down this week and there are plans to rebuild as soon as possible, which might be as long as a year and a half.
Presently they are seeking temporary space, so that Lyndon and Satti can set up and continue to see their clients.
“I have been overwhelmed with the messages of love and support I have received,” Satti tells us. “I am so thankful to Mission and grateful to be in this community.”
Although the fire and damage has been devastating for many businesses downtown, Satti gives thanks every day that no one was hurt and gives enormous gratitude to the Mission and Abbotsford Fire Departments.
When asked if he had any words for everyone at this time;
“Stay safe and we will be back soon.”