Ask any member of the EYES on 42nd staff and they’ll give you a reason why the optical and eye care center stands apart from the rest. “We’re a medically oriented clinic,” says Sue, EYES on 42nd’s billing specialist. “Dr. Tufte wants to maintain the complete health of your eyes.”
Another reason is the one-on-one attention each patient receives. “It’s the personal attention you get,” says Dr. Mark Tufte. “We make sure your questions are answered, and that you’re not rushed through an appointment. We will give you the time you deserve.”
Then there’s the reason they all agree on. “It’s the fudge,” says Deb Tufte, styling specialist. “We have flavored coffee, cookies and homemade fudge every day.”
The story of the fudge at EYES on 42nd began the day the doors opened on December 22, 2008. Dr. Tufte wanted a snack to go with the flavored coffee. Deb made homemade cookies and a friend brought in enough fudge for the clinic’s first week. After that, people were hooked. Now Deb makes a different kind of fudge and a different variety of cookies every day.
It’s all part of the atmosphere Dr. Tufte is trying to create at his clinic. “We don’t want it to feel like a clinic,” Deb says. “We want it to be homey and comfortable, like your home away from home. It is a unique experience.”
Dr. Tufte agrees. After working at MeritCare for 25 years, he decided it was time for a change. “At big clinics you lose the personal touch,” Dr. Tufte says. “I get to spend more time with patients and really address their needs. Plus, the staff takes the time to talk to people.”
Currently, EYES on 42nd serves 4500 clients. As a full service clinic, EYES on 42nd handles all medical, surgical and optical needs. Dr. Tufte even has a surgeon come in once a month so patients don’t have to go off site when preparing for eye surgeries. The optical department carries all of the latest fashions, so they have the newest lens to match the patient’s needs.
Aside from their work at the clinic in Fargo, Dr. Tufte and Deb have been going on missions trips for the past seven years to Mexico with area Lions clubs. On their last trip, they gave out 1100 pairs of glasses to people in need and saw 1200 people in just three days. “The need is phenomenal,” says Dr. Tufte. “You get a chance to see what real poverty looks like.”
According to Deb, a pair of glasses in Mexico typically cost three months salary. “There really is a need,” Deb says. “There’s always something for people to do.” This includes people in the Fargo Moorhead area. EYES on 42nd takes donations of used glasses for their trips. Last year, approximately 3,000 glasses were donated.
In between the missions trips and seeing patients, Dr. Tufte and the four other employees of EYES on 42nd are looking towards the future. By spring, EYES on 42nd will move to a new location on 17th Avenue and 43rd Street. They plan on expanding the hours, services and adding more doctors. It’s something they see their Chamber membership helping with.
“It’s really good for us to be members of the Chamber,” Dr. Tufte says. “The Chamber supports us and gives us legitimacy. All businesses should be members of the Chamber.”