ECPs and eyecare practice managers seem to be exhibiting a more optimistic outlook on circumstances and taking steps to get back to more of a “normal” approach to business, according to the most recent Wave of Jobson's ECP Coronavirus Survey. If you’ve been following along with the Jobson surveys (we are up to Wave 15) you know what a tough journey the past six months have been for most small businesses in optical. Thankfully, it looks like things are finally beginning to look up but the lockdown and ensuing economic woes have exacted a toll on the industry and the road back to “normal” has not been easy.
For this week’s Problem Solved, I sat down with practice manager Jeff Klauer of Klauer Optical (remotely, of course) to talk about how his practice pivoted during the lockdown and again once the business reopened. Klauer is the practice manager of a two-location optometric practice with offices in Dubuque and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Previously, he was president of Klauer Optical Co, which he owned with his wife Joyce.
Klauer Optical Co was founded in 1939 by two brothers, Eldon and Clarence Klauer, both of whom were experienced technical opticians. Originally a wholesale optical business, selling frames and edging lenses for Doctor’s offices, they had a contract with St.Louis Optical during WWII to produce lenses used in binoculars by the US Navy.
The company reorganized in 2018 when the Klauer’s son, Dr. Joseph Klauer, graduated from the Indiana University School of Optometry and came back to Iowa to practice. In 2019, Dr. Lauren Oberley, also an Indiana University School of Optometry graduate, joined the practice after a one-year residency in primary care and ocular diseases at the VA Northern Indiana Healthcare System in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Jeff and Joyce Klauer oversee the day-to-day business operations, and Dr. Klauer and Dr. Oberley manage the medical side of the practice.
Vision Monday: Can you briefly describe the practice and optical, what kind of clientele you cater to, and what services you offer?