Meet your merchant… Thomas J. Marquardt, OD, General Optometry
November 21, 2013
Thomas J. Marquardt, OD, optometrist, owner, General Optometry, 60 North Third St., Granby
How long have you been in business? 39 years, 33 years in Granby, same location
How did you get started in this business? "Blind fate," needed a career and this is a good fit
Business mission statement: Provide a caring, competent, reliable, fair cost professional service
Success in the mission: Still here in Grand County through two severe recessions!
Challenges to the mission: Increasing advertising, over supply of corporate-style practices in the Front Range
How do you cope with Grand County's seasonal surges? Keep the overhead low and save during higher income times
What do you think is the biggest business barrier in Grand County? Over availability of corporate "big-box" suppliers and false advertising
What do you think is your biggest business barrier on a state and/or national level? The oversupply of "big-box" competitors, advertising budgets
What can government here do to help? Provide awareness to new residents as to available services
How does your business give back to the community? Provides a needed professional service versus leaving the county; discounted fees for indigent / need
Give examples of how you are environmentally responsible. Live and work in the same building (no commuting), low consumption, minimal lifestyle (recycle as much as possible), maintain older vehicles so less consumption waste
How do you support other local businesses? Seek local services as much as possible
How do you feel about direct competition? Try to provide a superior experience and let the consumer be the judge
How do you market yourself? Word of mouth from pleased patients / customers, internet and phone book listings
What's the main thing you have you learned in your years in business? Treat people well, be reliable and pleasant, go the extra effort with genuine care
Where do you go for help when you need it? Pretty self-reliant so far in life, specialty medicine as required
Who is your biggest business influence/mentor? Dr. C. Edward Williams, Denver
What do you think is the most significant economic driver in Grand County? Land sales and vacation home construction and sales
If you could go back in time and start up your business venture all over again, what would you do differently? Find a more diverse income area, more recession resistant
What's the best compliment you received from a client/customer/guest? "You don't plan to retire, do you?"
What do you consider to be your biggest mistake in business? Not enough self-promotion
What organizations are most useful to business owners? Downtown Granby development, Chamber of Commerce
How much of a role does technology play in your business? As in all businesses, more and more to the point of excess
What are the technology challenges in your business? Being able to afford the constant upgrades and time away from doing real work
What's the general key to making a customer/client/guest happy? Treat them the way I want to be treated, honest and caring.
Is their any certain trend you've noticed in consumer habits lately? Less loyalty to return clients, more internet distracted.
What are some tricks such as signs or window displays that you've noticed work in attracting customers to your front door? Keep the "open" sign out as much as possible
What are some ways to keep up staff morale? Keep a pleasant, positive environment and honest dealings
What are some ways you train your staff on an ongoing basis? Continuing education at state and regional meetings
If you could give advice to a novice entrepreneur, what would it be? Be reliable, be available, be honest and genuinely caring, go beyond the expected and be fair
Is there a better question we didn't ask? If so, what is it and how would you answer it? How do we create a central information source of available local providers / services / suppliers / sources / specialties?