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WHAT: Highlands Ranch Vision Center's 30th anniversary and patient appreciation celebration
WHEN: 1-6 p.m., April 19
WHERE: 8925 S. Ridgeline Blvd., #107
Sitting in a room at their optometry office, eye doctors Mitchell and Susan Munson reminisced on the past 30 years.
When Highlands Ranch Vision first opened in 1988, development west of South Broadway was nearly nonexistent. The only restaurant close by was Village Inn. There was one 7-Eleven, one streetlight and about 7,000 residents.
“I had a sense of what this was going to look like,” said Mitchell Munson, who was raised in southern California, near Mission Viejo, a community designed by the same developers as Highlands Ranch.
Today, bustling streets, large commercial buildings, a charter school, hotel and shopping centers surround their business, at 8925 S. Ridgeline Blvd. April 19 marks 30 years of growing with the community.
The Munsons met in optometry school in California. Mitchel has always loved science and math, which are both embedded in the eye care industry. Raised in the Denver area, Susan has been in glasses since she was 18 months old.
“I grew up in eye doctor offices,” she said. “It was the only doctor that didn't scare me.”
In 1988, the Munsons opened their business with one employee and one eye doctor in the Wells Fargo building off South Broadway and Springer Drive.
Nine years later, they purchased a parcel of land along what is now Ridgeline Boulevard. Today they have five doctors, 11 employees and about 16,000 patients.
“It was our dream to have a professional property,” said Mitchell.
Sue and Mitchell have spent the last 30 years working, living and playing in the community. They've raised three daughters. They live about two miles away from their office.
In 1989, when two schools existed in Highlands Ranch, Mitchell was asked to lead a cow eye dissection for a science class. As the number of schools grew, so did his number of visits to science classes.
“I was the cow eye doctor for 25 years here,” Mitchell said through a smile.
Their time and involvement in the community has led to a strong client basis. A large percent are repeat patients, Mitchell said. Some have been returning for the past 30 years.
Mitchell and Sue typically begin their visits spending five minutes catching up with their patients about life — their interests, hobbies, kids. These aren't just patients — they are people that the Munsons often run into at the store, in church and around the community.
Office manager Laura McGee calls the business a family.
“Our patients can feel that,” she said.
The Munsons hope Highlands Ranch Vision continues to grow. Someday, they will transfer the business to eye doctors who share the same philosophy of patient care, they say.
“We have been very blessed with longevity and loyalty in our patients,” said Mitchell. “The timing and location could not have been better for us.”
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