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Specs and Spines: A Vision of Community and Care in Mimico

In the heart of South Etobicoke, nestled within the vibrant neighbourhood of Mimico, lies a gem that’s more than just a business—it’s a testament to family, community, and personalized care. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Ivy Koh, the co-owner and optometrist of Specs and Spines, to delve into the story behind this unique optometry and chiropractic practice.

Origins Rooted in Etobicoke

The journey of Specs and Spines is a story of coming full circle. Ivy reminisces, “My brother and I actually went to school in Etobicoke… we grew up in Mississauga but went to school here. When he graduated from chiropractic school, he came back to the area… Once I finished school and came back to start my family, we always talked about sharing space together.” Their shared vision led them back to Etobicoke, where they established Specs and Spines, intertwining their professions and aspirations.

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A Day in the Life at Specs and Spines

Every day at Specs and Spines is a testament to the hard work and dedication Ivy pours into her business. Ivy describes her typical day with warmth, “As a small business, we need to be there from opening to close. I arrive early to see the familiar faces in the neighbourhood as I open up the store. It’s nice to see people walking their dogs and greeting us with a friendly hello. It’s all about putting in the sweat equity, from cleaning up to doing a bit of everything. It gives us a sense of ownership and a feeling of satisfaction to see the business succeed. It makes it all worthwhile to do every day.” This sense of ownership and community engagement is what sets Specs and Spines apart.

Engaging with the Local Community

Ivy and her team are actively involved in the community, particularly in promoting children’s eye health. “I’ve given talks at the community health centre, LAMP, because we see a lot of children at our practice. We’ve scheduled talks at their parent and baby sessions to raise awareness about the importance of children’s eye health and the need for early and regular check-ups. Since opening the practice, this has been a significant focus. We always encourage families to come in, regardless of resources.” They assist the Lions Club by collecting old glasses for donation and maintain personal connections with neighbouring small businesses, offering their support.


TUES: 10 am – 7 pm
WED: 10 am-5 pm
THURS: 10 am – 7 pm
FRI & SAT: 9 am – 3 pm

Personalizing Patient Care

What distinguishes Specs and Spines is their approach to healthcare. Ivy emphasizes the importance of taking the time to get to know her patients and their families. “I wanted to be able to spend time with my patients, get to know them,” she says. This philosophy extends to the way she schedules appointments, allowing for whole families to come in, from grandparents to grandchildren.  She believes getting to know patients and their families fosters a deeper, more meaningful connection. “It’s a very personal thing to share something about your health,” Ivy explains, emphasizing the importance of trust and familiarity in healthcare.

Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

For those looking to start their own community-based business, Ivy advises, “Focus on what you’re good at as opposed to worrying about what everyone else is trying to do. Don’t worry about competing with other people.” She believes in the power of focusing on your passion and strengths, which will help your business stand out and thrive. “With small businesses, you really need to emphasize personal service, whether it’s with patients or, for other businesses, their customers. Big corporations may have more marketing money and resources, but they can’t match the personalized service that small businesses can provide.”

Hidden Talents

Beyond her professional achievements, Ivy shares a glimpse into her personal life. “I used to play rep basketball and fast pitch,” she reveals, showcasing her athletic side. Although she doesn’t play sports at the same level anymore, it’s clear that her competitive spirit and dedication are reflected in her approach to her business and patient care.

Looking Ahead

As Specs and Spines continues to grow, Ivy remains committed to innovation and learning. “It’s always good to lean into newer things… there’s always new stuff to learn,” she says. Her forward-thinking mindset ensures that Specs and Spines will continue to evolve and serve the Mimico community with the utmost care and expertise.

A Neighbourhood Gem

Specs and Spines is more than just an optometry and chiropractic practice; it’s a cornerstone of the Mimico community. Ivy Koh’s dedication to personalized care, community engagement, and continuous learning make it a special place for anyone seeking quality eye and spine care. If you’re in the area, be sure to stop by and experience the warmth and expertise that Ivy and her team have to offer.

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