Small Business

Future looks bright for Specs Eyewear

The process to find the right piece of eyewear can be as unique as the individual facilitating it.

Whether it’s a pair of custom prescription glasses with wooden frames or some trendy Ray-Ban shades, Specs Eyewear co-owner Jason Bell said the customer experience is what sets his business apart.

The business, co-owned by Bell and Monte Ysidro, was started out of a kiosk in Towne East Square in 2002. Bell said it has always been the ownership’s priority to foster a fun shopping experience for his business’s customers.

With five south-central Kansas locations already, Bell said further expansion is possible for the company.

(Questions answered by Bell and Ysidro).

What is the best business advice you have received: Don’t forget to work on your business and not always in your business. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily minutia and lose track of the big picture and the market around you.

Best business advice you have given: Be open to adapting to what the market demands of your business. Often, people start a new business or concept that may not be what the market needs or wants and aren’t open to changing or adapting their business model.

What sets your company apart? Besides the great selection of sunglasses and prescription glasses, our customers appreciate the entire experience of shopping with us. We love helping them find the right mix of fit, fun and trendy that matches them and their lifestyle. We also feel that in order to exist, we should be an integral and relevant member of the community – we're not just here to sell eyewear.

What have you learned about your company by going through this process? We learned a little more about how passionate our employees are about the company, especially our core management team who really took this project seriously, and put in lots of time helping to fill out the application.

Why do you prefer to run your own business as opposed to working for someone else? We enjoy building things and being in control of our own destiny as opposed to getting lost in the corporate world. … We take great pride in offering only the best in lens technology and coatings and by owning the company, we are able to make decisions based on what is best for our customers.

How has your business changed in the digital age? Primarily in the ways that we market to our customers, with Facebook, email, and digital billboards being some of our favorite marketing tools. We've also gone paperless (which sometimes seems like we use more paper) and our point-of-sale software is linked between all our locations, which makes it easy to take care of our customers at all our locations.

What’s your company’s next goal? We'd love to expand beyond Wichita. Between Kansas City, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, we think there are lots of opportunities within three hours from here in several directions. It’s our goal to have at least one new location in a different market identified before the end of the year.

Tier I

Name of business: Specs Eyewear

Year founded: 2002

Owners: Jason Bell and Monte Ysidro

Address: Five Wichita area and El Dorado locations (headquarters at 1423 N. Webb)

Phone: 316-315-0066