Some of the best whitewater rafting in the country is on the New River. The Appalachian Trail, Pipestem Resort and Hawks Nest make it an outdoor-lovers paradise. The people are proud of their working-class roots and spend their time cheering for their local sports teams, going to church, and raising families.
Appalachian Eye Care is nestled in the heart of this beautiful setting. Their locations in Princeton, WV and Pearisburg, VA have been providing excellent eye care and quality eyewear for more than 20 years.
Owners Brad Lane, OD and Chris Hansen, OD have built a practice that is not happy with status quo. It would be easy to sit back and enjoy the success of building a multi-million-dollar practice. Their leadership team brings years of experience and dedication to the daily operations. Young, new practitioners like Misty Lane, OD., McKenzie VanDyke, O.D., and Cass Ortiz, OD add quality and expertise to the eye care team.
“Growing up in Mullens had a profound effect on me,” Dr. Brad Lane said. “In my hometown you had two options – work in the coal mines or get an education. Leaving home was not an option for me so I set out to get my degrees.”
Dr. Lane earned his bachelor’s degree in the honors program at Concord University in Athens, WV. He still serves the school on several foundations and governance boards. A graduate of PCO in 2007, he is a tireless worker for the advancement of optometry. He serves on SECO, the AOA, and the WVAOP in education, leadership, and legislative committees. He has been honored as the West Virginia Young Optometric Physician of the Year in 2013 and as the Optometric Physician of the Year in 2017.
The practice was founded in 2001 by Chris Hansen, OD after graduating from the Indiana University School of Optometry with honors and serving in the Air Force in Missouri. A native of Athens, he returned home and started as a side-by-side practice in the local Wal-Mart.
“This is home for me,” Dr. Hansen said. “There is a need for quality eye care in this area and many of these folks travel an hour or more to see us. That’s a huge responsibility for us.”
And it’s a responsibility neither one takes for granted.
“We know that we have to invest in technology, but we also put a tremendous amount of time and energy into our team and our community,” Dr. Lane said.
The results are clear.
Responding to a need by one of the local police departments, Appalachian Eye Care provided sunglasses for Bluefield police dog, Thor.
“When Thor comes out of his dark police car, the sunlight can be uncomfortable and even a little blinding for him,” Andi Fleming, office administrator, said. “Now Thor can keep working safely and comfortably.”
The gesture made the local news, spread on social media like wildfire, and has led them to look for more opportunities to give back.
Concord University has a new esports team that is on the rise. In national collegiate competition the team has held its own against bigger, higher-budget teams. Never one to miss an opportunity, Dr. Lane jumped at the chance to help the team perform even better.
“We fit the whole team with blue-light protection and anti-fatigue lenses,” Dr. Lane said. “I never realized how big esports were until we became involved in the program. There is a stereotype of the gamer as a slacker. Nothing could be further from the truth. The team at Concord practices and prepares as hard as any successful sports team at the college level.”
Since the locations were founded almost 20 years ago, Drs. Lane and Hansen have always strived to remain relevant and competitive in a changing marketplace. Private equity and large medical specialty practices have threatened their market share, but they just keep growing.
“We don’t rest,” Dr. Lane said. “If you stop getting better it is over. You might as well go home.”
Both owners are competitors. Brad Lane has several optometry awards and recognitions under his belt and Chris Hansen completed a 140-mile Iron Man competition in 2015.
Professional Vision Group enjoys a long, mutually beneficial relationship with Appalachian Eye Care.
“Our experience with Professional Vision Group (PVG) has been phenomenal,” Dr. Lane said. “The expert team at PVG has helped to completely transform our multi-location, multi-provider practice. There’s really not an area that has not been impacted by the wisdom of our PVG consultants. From marketing and web design to coding and billing; staffing and human resources to recruiting new providers and helping with the building of a new location, the PVG team has been there for us.”
And they make it easy. Keeping an open mind and a goal-centered approach, everyone at Appalachian Eye care is dedicated to its growth and success.
“Appalachian Eye Care people listen, care and apply what they learn,” Keith Lewis, PVG Consultant, said. “I have been in the eye care industry for close to 30 years and have worked in wholesale, retail, and vendor spaces of this business. App Eye is one the best teams I have ever seen.”
“My favorite aspect of the PVG relationship is accountability,” Dr. Hansen said. “Unlike many other consultants, PVG is in our office monthly. We meet face-to-face and review our budget and review all other areas of the practice. We discuss in areas that have improved and those that need work. Having hands-on consultants has been a game changer for us.”