The Seek Eye Care team in Victoria, Minnesota is always looking for ways to give back to the community. Image via Seek Eye Care
VICTORIA, Minn.—For Seek Eye Care, in Victoria, Minnesota, the road toward a more sustainable practice was a happy accident—and it all started with a dedication to foster care. Seek brought sustainable eyewear brand Arbor on board in 2019, and was attracted to the line because of its commitment to helping children in foster care—something close to Seek’s optometrist, Kelsey Keltgen, OD’s, heart. Office manager Rachel explained to VMAIL, “Mitch, Dr. Keltgen’s husband, was adopted as an infant, so Arbor’s passion to donate a percentage of their proceeds to finding permanent homes for children in foster care was important to us. It was a cherry on top to learn that they plant a tree for every frame sold.”

Even though it wasn’t necessarily the sustainable story that called to the Seek team, it quickly became more important to them. “We were more looking to partner with brands/companies that have a passion for giving back to their communities,” Rachel explained. The team quickly found that sustainable practices do just that. The Seek team has recently added Eco to its sustainable offerings, and now make sure to have Arbor, Eco and TerraCycle POP and materials on display in the office.

Rachel explained, “It’s a great way for patients to see what the brands are about when the opticians are busy.”

When the Seek team is waiting for new inventory, they communicate that to patients, and use it as an opportunity to tell the sustainable stories of the brands they’re waiting on, too. “That suspense alone created a lot of conversations about the brands and what they offer. We also have a version of ‘story time’ for all of our brands (where they’re made, what materials they are built with, etc.) so communicating the uniqueness of Eco and Arbor isn’t new to us.”

For Seek Eye Care and their community, the positive impact of sustainable eyewear and green practices is worth the potential added cost. Rachel explained, “I think there will always be a handful of patients that are more conscious of the final price, but I’d say most of our patients would be willing to spend a little more on something that has a positive ripple effect.

“We’re in a small, tight-knit community, with huge support for small businesses. Our local cafe and bakery down the block uses compostable drinking cups, even for iced beverages, and they always have a line out of their door; I think that as long as the patient is well-informed, sustainability can be a huge selling point.”

And for some patients, Rachel said, sustainability is non-negotiable: “We have a young male patient about 15 years old who is environmentally conscious. When he came in for his routine eye exam a few years back, we told him about Arbor and he was adamant that he would only wear Arbor. He even got his grandparents—who live in Florida—to come here to get Arbor glasses. I’m excited to see him this year now that we’ve added Eco to our roster.”

In addition to sustainable frame offerings, the Seek team gives patients their contact lenses in big, branded tote bags. Rachel explained, “It also allows the patients to use it for groceries, or any other personal uses, while also getting our name out there. We use them as giveaways during summer events, and they are a huge hit.” This is a twofold treat for Seek Eye Care—a sustainable takeaway for patients, plus valuable local branding.

As is the case for everyone, the Seek Eye Care team’s journey to sustainability is ongoing—and by putting community first, that journey has been a consistently rewarding one.

POP and branding help communicate the sustainable offerings available at Seek Eye Care. Image via Seek Eye Care


Social media is another great way for the Seek team to spread the word about their sustainable collections. Image via Seek Eye Care on Facebook

Patients who get their contacts from Seek Eye Care receive a branded tote bag that they can then reuse, saving plastic bags. Image via Seek Eye Care