By Remy Sisk
It’s the true realization of the American Dream at Korrect Optical. After working for another optical company in the late 1970s and early ’80s and subsequently losing his job after a company buyout, Allan Baker purchased Korrect Optical in 1986. Following years of dedicated hard work and constant improvement, the company is now helmed by Allan’s son, Steve Baker, and steadfastly leading the city in optical eyewear manufacturing and retail.
Allan Baker passed away in 2012, but Steve is the president of Korrect and deservedly proud of the company’s longstanding success in the community – certainly on the retail side of things but also in the company’s manufacturing, a sector of the business he relates that not many are even aware of.
“Most people, when they see our name, they think of our two stores here in town – typical optical stores – but that’s just part of what we do,” Baker shares. “We have an extremely large manufacturing facility over on Bishop Lane where we actually manufacture the eyewear.”
Since Korrect has been in the Baker family, it has consistently outgrown its spaces, leading to several different necessary moves. Daily, the current Korrect manufacturing facility makes a staggering 3,500 pairs of glasses compared to the 800-1,000 it was making per day in 2009. Additionally, when Allan Baker first came in to Korrect, the company had 30-40 employees. Today, it boasts over 500.
“We like the retail part of the business, and it gives us a connection to the community,” Baker describes. “It’s very important to us, and it’s important that we do a great job for the customers who come in our stores.” Beyond the daily customers in the retail stores, Korrect Optical also does wholesale and government contracting and works closely with the VA to provide glasses for veterans.
Korrect has in fact recently instituted a philanthropic arm of the company: Korrect Optical Next Chapter, which strives to help individuals get to the next stage of their lives, whatever that may be. Thus far, it has made monetary donations to the tune of $10,000 to the duPont Manual High School summer reading program as well as Honor Flight to help veterans see the memorials of Washington, D.C. It also provides glasses for free or at a significantly reduced rate to local charities.
“There are a lot of agencies in town for whom we just make glasses for free because the people they’re serving don’t have any way to pay and don’t have insurance or Medicaid – these are the people who fall through the cracks,” Baker says. Such beneficiaries are Boys & Girls Haven, Lions Eye Foundation, Masonic Homes and Home of the Innocents, among others.
As to why Baker and the whole Korrect team are so devoted to giving back, he says it just makes sense. “If we’re successful, it’s just the right thing to do,” he affirms. “If you have the means, why not? We have the means, we have the ability to make glasses at a reduced rate or for free and to help these people. … We’re just giving back to the people who help support us and help us grow – it’s kind of a no-brainer.”
That authenticity and heart is at least partially what has helped Korrect grow so dramatically within the Baker family. The company recently acquired a facility in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and is additionally considering the possibility of having to move again as they are outgrowing their current location. However, at the same time, they are looking to work more with USA Cares to develop their philanthropic reach. As the business grows at Korrect, so does their commitment to giving back.
Currently, the company is running its annual hotly anticipated March Madness sale. Through the end of the month, customers can get select frames and lenses for only $99 – a significant saving not available any other time of the year. The sale runs through the month at both locations
However, no matter what time of year you visit Korrect, you can be sure you’ll be well taken care of due to the staff’s commitment to service, professionalism and family. “It’s a family business, and we still hold on to that family feel after all these years,” Baker emphasizes. “And I think a lot of people look for that as opposed to just being a number.” VT
4036 Dutchmans Lane
4747 Dixie Highway