Dr. LaMar Gunnarson has attended plenty of ophthalmic trade shows since he broke into the industry in 1976.
He’s also dealt with financial institutions of all different sizes, from nationally known to smaller community banks.
LaMar and his wife, Kay, needed optometry equipment financing when they opened their new business, Alex Vision Source, in Alexandria, Minnesota, in 2016, they discovered a new financial relationship with Stearns Bank.
How Stearns Stood Out In Optometry Practice Financing
LaMar first came across Stearns Bank at a Vision Source tradeshow in Las Vegas. After seeing how extensive their knowledge was about what his new practice needed to succeed, he was sold that Stearns would be his source for his optometry practice financing needs.
“Stearns makes it so attractive when you’re a Vision Source member. You’re never going to find a better deal on equipment or financing than with them,” LaMar said. “I think everybody within Vision Source understands that as well.”
LaMar feels that Stearns goes about its business the way he does with Alex Vision Source. Both treat their customers like family and try and make everything as easy as possible.
“Stearns treats me the way I want to be treated,” LaMar stated. “When I call people on the phone, I always try to be polite and kind. I think it goes back to what you learned in Sunday school: do unto others as they would do unto you. It’s the simple things we learned as kids. That’s what Stearns does.”
How Stearns Understands The Optical Industry
LaMar noticed a “family-like feel” with Stearns Bank right away. The communication he received from Stearns was always welcome because they detailed the optical equipment financing process from start to finish.
For example, the was fast and efficient. And, Stearns Bank has become known for working well with the ophthalmic world. That made everything easier from his standpoint.
“The small-town banks I worked with didn’t understand the healthcare industries or the potential that someone has with an optometry, dental or any other kind of medical practice,” he said. “The larger banks I worked with have a tough time making a decision. It takes too much time.
“Stearns is really quick and they get back to you in a timely manner. Some banks have to go through 10 people before they can give you an answer. Stearns understands our business and their communication is top-notch.”
For Lamar, it really starts with how quickly Stearns Bank answers his call on the first ring.
“If you talk to somebody who even answers the phone there, they are polite and are as nice as can be,” he added. “A lot of people can take an example from that.”