John Granby of Deschutes Optical, Inc. understands the value of experience. He has, in fact, built his business on that very principle.

With two branches—one in Bend, Ore. and the other in Boise, Idaho—Granby runs his operation with the heart of an entrepreneur and the proficiency of an industry veteran. The two labs combined deal with approximately 50 customers and 200 to 225 Rxs a day. “It’s a nice manageable number,” he says. “We aren’t trying to grow it so big that we can’t service it correctly.”

Granby prides himself on being available to his customers 24/7. He freely shares his home phone number, cell phone and email address with the independent eyecare professionals who rely on his lab and he makes a point of going out of his way to ensure that his company maintains its 10 year average of return-for-errors at 1.5 percent.

Granby has empowered his 23 employees (covering both locations) to handle their end of the business with professionalism and speed. “I tell my people they can do whatever they need to do to take care of the customer without my approval. It gives them the freedom to handle any situation and push for a timely, positive outcome.”

As a result, Deschutes Optical has a loyal following of independent optical professionals. “Our competitors try to beat us on price,” says Granby. “But the loyalty and number of customers who are advocates for our business is strong.”

There’s a story Granby likes to tell because it gets to the heart of his sales philosophy. “One of our dispensers had a patient who was leaving on vacation to Italy. There was no way to fill her Rx before she needed to get on the plane. But we pushed and we wound up sending her new glasses via FedEx directly to her hotel. When she checked in the package was waiting for her. She was thrilled. When she returned, she made a point of telling the dispenser how pleased she was with the lab and the steps we had taken to get her what she needed,” he says.

“The way I see it,” he adds, “is that we work for the patient. And that’s what drives our success.”

— Kristen Spina