Rite-Style’s founder George Lee in a collage between old technology and new technology.
An independent and family-owned laboratory—it’s a rarity these days—but in Omaha, NE, you’ll find just that at Rite-Style Optical Co. George Lee founded the lab in 1948 and since that time has always made sure his lab was offering the best technology and the highest-quality work possible.
A FIRST IN FREE-FORM Andrea Bergquist, Director of Sales at Rite-Style and Lee’s daughter, noted that: “Implement- ing new technology has always been something that is important to my dad. Rite-Style was one of the first labs in the country to start using digital surfacing equipment. We pride ourselves on consistency and quality work.”
Because of Rite-Style’s independent lab status, its customers can access all lens brands. When independent labs are purchased by one of the “big boys,” they can lose their option to distribute certain brands. Providing eyecare professionals (ECPs) access to all lens brands, materials, and styles allows them to meet the needs of each patient with the best product, not just the products that the lab promotes. Rite-Style maintains a vast and diverse lens inventory for free-form (as well as conventional) lens types. “This gives our customers the convenience of one-stop shopping for just about every manufacturer and vendor,” said Bergquist.
POPULARITY OF PRIVATE LABEL Private label
free-form lenses are becoming more popular. Using a lab-designed and -generated
lens is a way for eyecare professionals (ECPs) to offer their patients good,
better, and best options. This can save a patient from walking out the door to a
big box competitor. In addition, lower costs incurred when ordering private
label lenses can help an ECP either pass the savings along to the patient or
increase the profit margin.
ALL MATERIALS The only materials Rite-Style still processes on a traditional generator are polycarbonate and glass unless the polycarbonate order is a free-form design. In fact, Rite-Style digitally surfaces over 85% of its work, which is high compared to other labs. “We use digital surfacing technology for single vision, lined multifocals, and molded progressive addition lenses” added Bergquist. “Most lens reps are impressed and often tell us they don’t know anyone who does that, except us.”
CUSTOMER SUPPORT Account support is also an important part of Rite-Style’s free-form lens success. “We do a lot of one-on-one education events with our accounts,” said Bergquist. “We go through the newest technologies available through our lab. We spend a lot of time explaining digital processing because national marketing campaigns have muddied the waters and ECPs are confused over the various claims.”
Rite-Style also supports their customers’ free-form lens efforts with advertising programs. If an account wants to do a direct mail campaign or run an advertisement talking about the benefits of free-form progressive lenses, Rite-Style will contact the lens manufacturer to help with the layout of the ad and then tap into their co-op dollars to match what the account is paying.
The lab’s in-house marketing person helps accounts create communication pieces. “One of our most popular is a recommendation pad that is personalized for the account,” Bergquist mentioned. “It has options for high-definition lenses, anti-reflective treatments, Transitions®, polarized, and computer lenses to help doctors talk with patients about eyewear options. It also encourages multiple-pair sales and helps patients buy new technology.”
Unique and innovative, Rite-Style offers its accounts a wide variety of options in free-form lenses at a high level of quality for every job. This helps give independent and family-owned eyewear practices a competitive advantage.
Joy L. Gibb is the owner of Eyes of Joy Mobile Optical in Woods Cross, UT.