KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Rx Optical, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, has followed the same patient-first philosophy since its founding in 1947 here in Kalamazoo. That philosophy, coupled with slow-but-steady growth plans, has enabled Rx Optical to become the leading eyecare provider in the state of Michigan with 53 offices across this state as well as Indiana.
Rx Optical opened its two newest Michigan locations—in Breton Village (Grand Rapids) and Ann Arbor—in May. This is the second Rx Optical office to open in Ann Arbor.
The company also moved up six positions to rank as No. 24 on the most recent Vision Monday list of the Top 50 U.S. Optical Retailers. The company’s expanded headquarters (which will double the size of the current offices) is scheduled to open this fall.
“We know what to do and we do it well,” vice president of marketing George Jepson, who has been with the company for 28 years, told dba in a recent interview. “It’s fairly cliché,” he added, “but we take care of our patients and we have a very knowledgeable staff.” For example, he noted, opticians at Rx Optical offices are certified by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO).
Looking ahead, Rx Optical has a few new locations in the pipeline, but Jepson declined to provide any specific office locations that the company expects to open next year. “We’re always working on different projects,” he said. “It’s important to continue to invest in the business.”
Rx Optical’s newest locations are state-of-the-art offices, with about 3,000 square feet each. The new locations provide eyeglass lens manufacturing and fitting, medical patient care, contact lens fitting, adjustments and repair, among other services.
Jepson noted that Rx Optical typically invests in new locations “when we [can] afford to responsibly commit to cities and towns which [are] being underserved—markets where patient names had become numbers. That’s where we have always seen the opportunity to instill care and value back into a service and products that we see as pretty darn important to the lives of our patients.”
The new locations feature seating from Herman Miller with tables and fixtures custom-designed and fabricated by an artisan woodshop in West Michigan, according to an announcement. Rx Optical notes that it “strives to support other Michigan-owned businesses by buying local.”
Rx Optical currently employs a total of 325 people, including 114 in Kalamazoo. The local work force includes about 30 workers at the company’s six retail locations, 35 at its lab and 45 at its headquarters.