Joshua Hackney Sees Increased Sales During COVID-19 Thanks to In-Office Lens Surfacing

Joshua Hackney Headshot

Joshua Hackney of Optical Express in Abilene, Texas always knew he wanted his practice to have an in-office lab. “I actually purchased [FastGrind] before opening my store, as my business was set up based around being able to provide in-house surfacing and edging. The value in purchasing the FastGrind system was the best and most financially sound way to do so. It has allowed us to become profitable in under 6 months as a business,” he shares. Being able to produce digitally enhanced progressives, bifocals, and specialty single vision in house for a fraction of the cost (as compared to outside labs) was just the competitive edge Joshua needed. “It’s enabled me to compete with the optical chains in town that advertise fast service and low price points. But I don’t have to sacrifice on the quality of service or customer care,” he said. He’s very pleased with the actual lenses as well especially the ADDvantage HD Plus progressive because as he noted, “it’s just as good as the top of the line progressives and much better than the average designs out there. It’s all about the fit, anyone should be able to be successful and profitable with FastGrind and these lenses.”

Although, no one saw 2020 and the COVID-19 crisis coming. When asked about how things have been for his optical (about two months into the crisis as of this article) he actually had some surprising results. He feels that there are definitely less overall people buying glasses. However, he’s actually seen an increase in customers. He noted that it’s in part because FastGrind enables him to offer while-you-wait service even for complex multifocal orders. There’s no need for customers to have to come back out on a later date. Additionally, because the glasses are made in-house the customers are comforted by the fact that only Joshua and his one lab tech (his son Caleb) will be interacting with their glasses. Because of the heightened concern over exposure to germs, this short supply chain has been a huge selling point that they never anticipated. In fact, as outside labs have closed or slowed their production other optical stores have referred customers to Optical Express because of their independence from outside labs. “FastGrind’s ability to allow us to control more of our supply chain has been a boost to us. Not relying on outside labs has allowed us to grow and succeed when others have been forced to slow down.”

 -Joshua Hackney, Optical Express of Abilene- Abilene, Texas