As a fast-growing design, engineering and consulting company with a clear vision for the future, WT Group is a perfect fit for other businesses seeking to achieve their own visions and objectives. And in the case of Stanton Optical, achieving vision is both figurative and literal.
Both the Stanton Optical and My Eyelab brands are components of Now Optics, a key player in the $49 billion U.S. vision care market. The Stanton Optical division opened its first store in Mishawaka, Indiana in 2007. Since then, Stanton Optical has undergone dramatic growth, both in its number of locations and in the scope of services provided to a rapidly expanding customer base. Stanton Optical locations across the central U.S. include an affiliated, in-store optometrist network providing complete eye exams, including vision health checks to help give clients early warnings of potential vision problems. The goal is to modernize the eye care experience for all customers, ensuring that every customer leaves with the right frames and prescription at the best possible price, often providing glasses on a same-day basis.
Stanton Optical’s rapid growth and focus on establishing and opening locations as quickly as possible has placed a premium on receiving approvals from local jurisdictions as rapidly as possible. As with all new business development, jurisdictions require a “permit set” of architectural drawings before issuing construction permits. The drawing sets must also include pages detailing mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) schematics as well as other important details.
Given the expanding market, Stanton Optical decided that their rate of growth would require the services of an engineering, design and consulting firm able to offer greater scalability and a wider range of in-house services. To meet their growth-driven needs, Stanton Optical set their sights on the WT Group.
The WT Group began working on Stanton Optical projects in early 2019, preparing permit sets and drawings for 20 locations that year. This was followed by engagements on 20 more locations each in 2020 and 2021, with more to come in 2022. The ask was simple enough – narrow the timelines required for preparing, submitting and obtaining approvals in order to open stores earlier and begin generating revenue more quickly. That, and deliver all the architectural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing consults and services needed through a single-source provider. No surprise that Stanton Optical focused on the WT Group.
Our team quickly recognized that Stanton Optical locations were essentially repeat projects with very similar characteristics from site to site. The answer: tailor the drawing as needed for each new location but standardize, in template form, a base file of MEP pages ready to attach to the drawing, instead of reinventing the wheel every time.
All the required template forms are linked in the CAD output for each location, containing all standard notes generally required by the jurisdiction. Not only are drawings now being done and submitted quicker, but the ability to correct any mistakes in the template means that the next location would not run into the same issue again. And the ability to do everything in-house – from drawings to permitting – means that the WT Group can save Stanton Optical money and coordination time as well, something that proved to be a real eye opener.
Of course, the code variations presented by some jurisdictions can make submissions of drawings and permit sets more complex. Stanton Optical and WT Group are collaborating in a number of different states, with each of them having their own requirements, including ADA codes. For instance, locations in California are required to use sink and faucet sizes different from other states. The challenge for the WT Group is to provide permit sets for each state and jurisdiction adhering to all local nuances, all the while making sure that the process moves forward at the speed expected by the client.
One of the defining features of the WT Group approach is our commitment to develop an in-depth knowledge of a client’s business. Serving a specialized business with healthcare dimensions like optometry means understanding exactly how customer care is delivered in the space provided. So, WT Group team members learned about optometry – how in-house doctors do their exams and how prescriptions are prepared. And while the WT Group is not likely to go into the business of grinding corrective lenses and bifocals anytime soon, the knowledge we have gained about the science of optometry has made us the ideal partner for a dynamic, growing retail optometry network.
To view project details, click here.