Ann Arbor Area BUSINESS MONTHLY magazine brings the reader the latest business news and information important to the businesspeople in Washtenaw County. Each month articles cover real estate, legal, Internet, employee concerns and the climate of business in the greater Ann Arbor area. There is news about company employees and feature articles on local businesses. We cover business news from Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter, Manchester, Milan, Saline, Whitmore Lake, and Ypsilanti.
By Duane Ramsey
Dobbs Optical continues the family tradition of providing quality optical care and products to customers in Washtenaw County for 67 years.
"We're in the business of helping people to see better by filling prescriptions accurately. We're not intimidated by difficult prescriptions," said Bruce Dobbs, current owner of the family business now located at 901 West Eisenhower Parkway near the Briarwood Mall.
Photo at left: Bruce Dobbs, Dobbs Optical
Dobbs Optical offers quality brands of eyewear from independent optical companies, including Gottti from Switzerland, Kawasaki from Japan, Lindberg's Danish eyewear, and the Theo Collection from Belgium. Dobbs is also a dealer for Maui Jim sunglasses and represents that company's prescription lab.
"We were the first optical store in Michigan to sell the Varilux progressive lenses when they came out," said Dobbs. "We were affiliated with a lab in Indiana where the new optical product was being test marketed at the time."
Dobbs no longer accepts insurance plans due to limitations and restrictions of insurance providers. He prefers to provide higher end optical products to established and new customers.
"We do whatever it takes to make sure your lenses are just what you need for optimal vision. Our main focus is on filling optical prescriptions for our customers but we do offer routine eye exams and contact lenses for one-stop convenience," said Dobbs.
"It's our goal to establish a lasting relationship with our customers through understanding and concern for their optical needs. We have loyal customers from Birmingham to Hillsdale and from Grand Blanc to Toledo," he said.
The Dobbs family of opticians has earned the undisputed reputation of being among the finest optical stores in Michigan, according to Bruce.
"We did not arrive at this level by accident but rather through the continuous effort of giving our clients the very best in service, quality and dependability at a fair price," said Dobbs.
Bruce is the son of the founder Bert Dobbs who established the optical business in Ypsilanti in 1943. Bert moved the business to a location on Liberty Street in downtown Ann Arbor in 1957.
Dobbs Optical is the oldest optical company in Washtenaw County and one of the oldest still operating in Michigan, according to Bruce. He and his brothers, Bill, Dennis and Jerry, followed in their father's footsteps joining the family business. Bill moved to Kalamazoo in 1960 where he opened his own optical business.
Bruce, Dennis and Jerry bought the business from their father in 1973. Bruce opened a second store near St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in 1977 and later moved it to the Reichert Health Building in 1985. In 1992, the brothers opened a third store on Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor.
Following the deaths of his father in 1999, brothers Jerry in 2000 and Dennis in 2001, Bruce consolidated the three stores into the current location in 2002, where he operates the business today. Dobbs Optical is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.