“Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I’ll show you someone who has overcome adversity.” – Lou Holtz
“My family was from a low-middle class Italian neighborhood in Chicago. Neither parent had finished college. But I got a good education and after graduating high school in 1983 I got a job working for an optometrist. After doing church volunteer work in Brazil for a few years, I got a job working for an ophthalmologist while I put myself through college. I got married, my wife and I graduated college together, and I got accepted to optometry school. We lived with cardboard boxes as end tables while putting ourselves through school and we graduated with 2 beautiful daughters.
“Our folks had moved to Arizona and we saw the opportunity to raise our children around both sets of grandparents. So I took the Arizona State Board exam. At that time there were 60 applicants and only 17 passed the test (now Arizona lets nearly all applicants in). I was fortunate to be among those that passed! I wanted to work in a medical setting instead of retail, so I interviewed and was hired at a large ophthalmology/optometry practice. I worked there for the next 15 years.
“While I loved providing advanced eye care and intermingling with specialists and surgeons, I traveled hours every day and had no control over my schedule or the surgeons I had to work with. I saw my destiny was not in my own hands. At dinner one night with friends I was told “you should open your own office”. If I was going to do that, I had to do it before I got too old.
“We began exploring a location closer to home and started making phone calls. In December 2007 papers were signed, huge loans were secured, and our adventure began. It turned out to be a challenging start.
“On July 13th, 2008, two days before we were to open our doors, Phoenix had a major rainstorm that flooded our new office. We opened our office with fans blowing and one small exam room. Shortly thereafter we were broken into and burglarized twice, our home AC unit died, our puppy got Parvo, our home flooded, our daughter was hospitalized, and the Great Recession hit. Within a few years I had lost hundreds of thousands of dollars that I would have to pay back to the bank. I was struck with extreme anxiety.
“Somehow, someway, we trudged along. Fortunately we saw more and more patients every year until in January 2012 we hit break even with our last few thousands dollars in the bank.
“We grew about 20% year over year. We added another exam room and then a third. We added advanced equipment to improve our services to our patients. We added opticians and doctor’s assistants.
“We are so grateful to our wonderful patients for trusting us with their eye care, and being patient with our growing pains. Tiffany and I are so indebted to our amazing staff that have been loyal to us through the good times and the difficult times. I’m grateful to friends that buoyed me up despite my anxieties and to God for His miracles, despite my shortcomings.
— J. Kevin Quaranta, OD