Vision Max translates to eye wear

Vision Max has been part of the Lycoming County business community since 2000 and continues to grow.

Six employees work out of the company’s office at 247 Broad St., Montoursville, fitting customers with eye glasses and contact lenses.

Steve Kriner, Vision Max owner, said his personnel bring much experience to Vision Max.

A trained optician, Kriner has been working in the eye wear business since 1988.

Vision Max opticians include Shelly Shank, with 25 years experience, and Jim Drake, who can look back on some 40 years in the business.

Opticians fit eyeglasses and contact lenses from prescriptions written by ophthalmologists or optometrists.

They can determine specifications of lenses and recommend eyeglass frames, lenses, and lens coatings from prescriptions as well as occupations, habits, and facial features of customers.

But at Vision Max, there’s a bit more offered.

“We make eye glasses here,” Kriner said. “Many national chains are getting away from that.”

Formerly situated in the Loyal Plaza, Kriner moved the business in 2010 to Montoursville.

“The location has been very good for us,” he said. “It was a big decision moving, but it’s worked out for us. And we definitely needed the extra space.”

Kriner’s decision to place the business in a small business plaza built on a slight rise proved to be a good one.

“The land is in a flood plain,” he noted.

In early September 2011, much of the west end of Broad Street was inundated by water from nearby Loyalsock Creek resulting from Tropical Storm Lee, but Vision Max escaped the flooding.

“We missed just one day (of work),” he said.

Most days, of course, Kriner doesn’t have to worry about flooding, but how to best serve his customer base, which at last count numbered about 17,000.

He said good customer service is a big part of his business.

“The thing that makes us different than the chains is we don’t have sales goals,” he said. “We try to get what you need. Our opticians are not on commission. We are by no means high pressure. That has helped us grow.”

Kriner said eyewear often is dictated by one’s personal taste.

“You have people buying different kinds of eye wear,” he said. “Contacts remain very popular, especially with disposable lenses.”

Kriner said there was a time when he wasn’t sure where his business would be.

“Ten years ago they said lasik (surgery) would destroy the eyewear business,” he said.

But not everyone eligible for the surgery is opting for it.

“Generally, people who get lasik are very, very nearsighted,” he said.

And, the surgery remains costly for many people.

Right now, Kriner is coming off one of his busiest times of year.

In August, many students preparing to return to school are in need of new eye wear or prescriptions.

But the very busiest time of year is March, when many people buy eye wear with their tax refunds, he said.