Features: Successful Retail Strategies

May
2007

FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME

A Midwestern optometrist targets two passions with one swing


By Angela J. Carroll

It’s a hole in one for a doctor and his patients. Dirk Massie, OD, an avid golf player, has engaged his love of the sport with his optical practice, Performance Eyecare, which is positioned on the main thoroughfare right in the heart of the growing population of Swansea, Ill.

In July 2006, Dr. Massie set up his 4,500- square-foot office with the premise that golfing would be incorporated into the fabric of his practice. The idea was to put much of his own personal interests in his professional life. “I think we are improving the life of a patient by providing them better vision and most importantly, improving their athletic ability. That’s what’s really rewarding,” says the OD.

The doctor’s vision was for the sportsoriented person like himself, which is how he approached the whole design of his business. “Every practice should be an extension of the optometrist’s personality,” says Dr. Massie. “He should implement that throughout the office. So if you can implement what your passion is in life and help others who have the same passion, then it doesn’t seem much like work. It helps to differentiate each individual practice. That’s why I named it Performance Eyecare and with the tag line, ‘Better vision meets better performance.’”

The layout of the office is comforting for patients and well-organized for the staff. “We move quickly but it’s not harried,” explains Dr. Massie. “It doesn’t seem crowded because we have the space.” And the sports focus is evidenced throughout. The waiting area near reception has a flat screen TV, where patients can unwind with a Cardinals’ or Rams’ game, depending on the season. There is also a putting green, where patients can practice their form while waiting for their exam. Patients receive a sleeve of golf balls stamped with the “Performance Eyecare” logo at the end of each exam. All these touches give Dr. Massie’s practice a club house feel, where there is an inviting social and community-oriented atmosphere.




Indeed, the optometrist has been a part of the community where he practices all his life. He grew up in Salem, Ill., a small town about an hour outside of Swansea, where his passion for golf grew. In high school, he was on the golf team and had handicap of 10 percent. (For the uninitiated in golf statistics, only a small percentage are a 10 percent or better as amateurs.) He majored in sports medicine at the University of Illinois and later worked in private practice with the team eye doctors for the St. Louis Rams and the St. Louis Blues. Three years later, after graduating from the University of Missouri’s Optometry School, he became a practicing optometrist.

Some of the most popular frame choices at Performance Eyecare include Sama, Tag Heuer, Giorgio Armani, Rudy Project, Tura and Nike. “We use Alizé lenses for the anti-glare—about 70 percent of our clientele order anti-reflective coating,” notes Dr. Massie. “We also use Transitions lenses, which are great for golf.” The OD explains that photochromic lenses work well for golfers because they can adapt with the playing conditions, whether it is early or late in the day, overcast or sunny. He adds Rudy Project eyewear is favored by his golfer patients because the green lenses enhance the contrast of the ball against the grass.

Dr. Massie also teaches a free in-house informational seminar on golf vision. However, while a lot of Dr. Massie’s patients are golfers or sports-oriented people, the majority are business and medical professionals. His associate, Jill Williamson OD, takes on the influx of non-golfers.

In addition, Performance Eyewear is a contact lens-oriented practice with a strong guarantee for success. If a patient is fit in a pair of contact lenses and they are not satisfied, all fees are refunded, plus they get $35 for their time. Also, if another OD fits them and they are satisfied with their results, Performance Eyecare will pay their bill.

Whether fitting patients for contact lenses or teaching them how to better their golf game with specialized lenses, Dr. Massie has the sport of optical down to a tee. ■

 

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