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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, Oct. 11, 2019 10 months ago

Partnership leads to hundreds of employees receiving eye protection

Eye Center and Sun Hydraulics teamed up to provide safety glasses for Sun's manufacturing workers.

Safety comes first.

That’s the message being sent by way of hundreds of pairs of safety glasses recently made for Sun Hydraulics employees.

The Sarasota-based designer and manufacturer of hydraulic cartridge valves and manifolds wanted safety glasses made for its employees as part of a broader safety push. Dr. Brad Laudicina, an optometrist and a partner in Bradenton-based Eye Center, tells Coffee Talk, “It made a big commitment to invest in the safety of its employees.”

Not all Sun Hydraulics employees need safety glasses, including executives and other employees who work at computers. But all employees on the manufacturing side do. Laudicina says Eye Center has made between 200 and 300 pairs of safety glasses so far for Sun Hydraulics employees, most of them prescription safety glasses.

The structure of the partnership involved Eye Center offering a discounted rate for the bulk volume. Laudicina says it was a victory for his firm and Sun Hydraulics, a unit of Helios Technologies. “We are community-driven business,” he says. “It’s just one of those things where we knew the right people, and what we offered was fair because we want to work with local businesses.” 

The partnership with Sun Hydraulics is not the first time Eye Center has made safety glasses for a major area employer. “We’ve been making all the safety glasses for Tropicana for probably over 25 years at this point,” he says.

Eye Center also makes glasses for Pierce Manufacturing and employees at Port Manatee.

“The reason we’re able to do that is because of the capacities of our labs,” Laudicina says. Eye Center’s full surfacing lab allows the firm to make the finished product in house.

Laudicina says there’s potential to work with other manufacturers in the area as well as other types of companies that need safety eyewear for their employees. “Our goal as we continue to grow is to continue with these partnerships,” he says. “We have a good industrial complex in Bradenton and Sarasota, and I think there are lots of other opportunities.”

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