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Longe Optical Celebrates 75th Anniversary

Longe Optical, Northeast Indiana’s eye care leader, will celebrate 75 years of dedicated service to the community in 2024. To recognize this significant achievement, Mayor Tom Henry issued an official proclamation, acknowledging February 20, 2024, as “Longe Optical 75th Anniversary Celebration Day” in the City of Fort Wayne.

As part of the year-long celebration, Longe Optical customers can look forward to a calendar full of giveaways, community partnerships, and a renewed emphasis on the remarkable longevity of the Longe brand.

In 1949, founder E.J. Longe opened the original lens lab on Wayne Street in Fort Wayne. In doing so, Longe revolutionized the eyewear buying experience by offering the area’s first same-day service. Today, Longe Optical continues its founder’s legacy as the only Fort Wayne eyewear provider to produce each HD digital lens at its own on-site lab.

Former owner and current lab technician Larry Kensill can speak better than anyone to the value of Longe Optical’s legacy. Kensill has faithfully served Longe Optical for more than 65 years, offering Longe an unrivaled sense of continuity, spanning from his first day on the job in 1958 to now.

“I’ve seen so much change over the past six decades, from trending frame styles, to lab technology, to ownership,” said Kensill. “But Longe’s commitment to providing the best possible customer experience, that’s never changed, and it’s why I still show up to work every day.”

Sweetwater founders Chuck and Lisa Surack realized the potential of Longe Optical as a community force for good and purchased the company in 2012. They set a new standard for excellence, instilling their business philosophy – always do the right thing – into Longe Optical’s business identity.

“That meant modernizing our stores with state-of-the-art equipment, including the Zeiss Visufit 1000 measurement machine,” said Chuck Surack. “I also prioritized expanding Longe’s frame inventory and adding new employee benefits. I believe creating an amazing customer experience begins with investing and caring for our employees.”

The Surack family’s investment made immediate, tangible differences, accelerating Longe Optical’s growth. Longe’s customer reach increased from 6,500 guests served in 2012 to more than 28,000 guests today, spanning six stores. This led to record-setting sales numbers in 2020, 2021, 2022, and now 2023. Longe is proud to partner with twelve Independent Optometrists, which is up from five just a decade ago.

Longe has become a destination for customers seeking unique and exclusive styles, having secured several brands as exclusive in Fort Wayne to only Longe Optical.

“I see this as a direct result of the community-centered way we’ve chosen to do business for 75 years,” said General Manager Josh Quintana. “We believe in helping everyone, regardless of economic status. We accept more than 100 different types of insurance, the most in the area by far. Plus, our worry-free guarantee helps provide our customers with crucial peace of mind.”

Longe Optical frequently performs free vision screenings for schools and nonprofit organizations to ensure that everyone has access to the best-quality vision care. In addition, Longe donates thousands of dollars worth of gift certificates and products to local nonprofits for use in silent auctions and raffle drawings. The company also sponsors youth baseball and softball organizations throughout the city.

Surack Enterprises and Longe Optical will announce additional community engagement opportunities throughout 2024. The future is bright for Longe Optical, as leaders build upon 75 years of service to spark continued growth for this historic brand.

Longe Optical’s mission is to provide each and every guest with their most satisfying eye care experience ever. At each of their six convenient locations, they have friendly, thorough independent optometrists and highly trained opticians who will help you find your perfect pair of glasses or contact lenses. Longe Optical has been a Fort Wayne optical health care establishment for over 65 years and has the only on-site all-digital lab in the area. Start the process by requesting an eye exam today!

The Waynedale News Staff

The Waynedale News Staff

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