By: Joshua Danker-Dake | Category: Consumer News | Issue: August 2007
Cindy and Randy Salter, co-owners of Sooner Optical
Sooner Optical, an independent shop, has had the same hands-on owner since it was established in 1981. And, in addition to its quality products, the store has been giving the same excellent customer service since its beginning.
“We’re one of the last independent shops in the Tulsa area,” says Randy Salter, founder and owner of Sooner Optical. “We’re a ‘mom and pop’ shop. We’re family-owned, and we’re from Tulsa. There’s nothing corporate.” Salter is such a hands-on owner that he makes his own lenses right in the shop.
Salter has over 25 years of experience in the field. “I started as a teenager when I worked summers at my uncle’s shop,” he says. “I was full-time at age 19.” For Salter, a life in the optical business was his destiny. “I knew I was supposed to be here. It was so strange. I came home from college and said, ‘I want to open an optical shop.’ I was going to call my uncle and ask him if I could work for him. As I was getting ready to call him, while the phone was literally in my hand, it rang. It was my uncle, asking me to come and work for him.”
Sooner Optical has been in the shopping center at 51st and Yale since 1981 when it was the first tenant. The store is still there, but it is just a little harder to see. Sooner Optical moved in 1997 from the corner, the current location of Flowerama, to the back.
Sooner Optical takes pride in providing each customer with caring, knowledgeable, one-on-one personal care, while offering the finest products available. “We apply the Golden Rule,” says Salter. “Treat people like you want to be treated. When people walk in, we take them in as family, we help them, and we answer their questions. We know our customers.”
Sooner Optical’s service has kept customers coming back for 25 years. “Because we’ve been around for so long, we can give that personalized service,” says Salter. “If someone’s unhappy, we’ll refund their money or replace their glasses.” Sooner Optical also offers glasses adjustment and screw replacement as free services.
“We carry a lot of designers,” says Salter, who is an authorized dealer for Ray-Ban, Maui Jim, Tag Heuer and Oakley. Designers carried by Sooner Optical include Tag Heuer, Boss, Versace, Maui Jim, Jai Kudo, Persol, Ralph Lauren, Ellen Tracy, Lulu Guinness, ProDesign, Oakley, Ray-Ban and Columbia Sportswear. Almost all glasses come with one-year warranties.
What is seen in the shop is only a fraction of what is available. A wide variety of frames can be ordered from the store’s extensive catalogs. Sooner Optical carries Kodak lenses, contact lenses, as well as sunglasses for men, women and children.
Sooner Optical carries the most up-to-date styles. Cindy Salter, Randy’s wife and co-owner, says, “I order the frames and keep up with the fashions and the styles. Every year, we update our collection with the new styles.” Sooner Optical has styles for anyone of any age, including teens, college students and senior citizens.
“People spend thousands of dollars on makeup and clothes, but a lot of people don’t shop the same way for eyewear,” Cindy says. “People need good eyewear; it’s what makes the look and the fashion. These days, you’re seeing more people with glasses. Most frames for women are professional and career style.”
Eyewear can be a fashion statement on its own. According to Cindy, frames with color are hot for 2007 and 2008. “I’m seeing a lot of purple, red and green,” she mentions. “Some of our customers are buying two, three or four pairs of glasses to match their various outfits.”
Sooner Optical is still in Tulsa and still providing the same personalized, caring and experienced service. Sooner Optical, located in the same shopping center as Flowerama at 51st and Yale, is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. Stop by and meet the man making your glasses.