SouthState Client Story – Smyrna Eye Group

Smyrna Eye Group and Dr. Harper

Clarity in Their Purpose

In the evolving business of vision care, Smyrna Eye Group has kept their patients coming back.

When Dr. Sean Harper joined Smyrna Eye Group in 1999, the practice was already a fixture in the community – founded in the late 1970’s by Dr. Mel Weiss.

Much has changed since then: In 2011, the practice moved from their old location on Concord Road to a bigger facility on the East-West Connector. Dr. Weiss retired in 2017 and Dr. Harper is now the majority partner and manager of the practice, with four doctors now on staff.

And the business of vision care has new players, with the rise of online retailers and big box stores.

But despite the shifting market forces, Dr. Harper knows that plenty of patients still want the higher level of care that Smyrna Eye Group offers.

“I’ve got patients now that I’ve known for over 20 years. When I first saw them, they were in Elementary school, now they’ve graduated college and starting families of their own. And I have patients that drive a great distance to see me. People come from Snellville, Cartersville, and Elijay. And that speaks to the care we provide,” he said.

Asked about the longevity of the practice – almost 50 years in business – Dr. Harper credits a simple philosophy.

“We treat all our patients like we would want to be treated as a patient ourselves. Not treated like numbers, not herded through quickly. Everyone is given a personal level of care.”

Long-term Relationship, Long-term Success

Loyalty is a big part of Dr. Harper’s practice. It even extends to his banking relationship. In fact, Smyrna Eye Group has worked with the same banker ¬– Lisa Sunday, Commercial Relationship Manager with SouthState ¬– since 1987.

Dr. Harper notes that, while there have been a few name changes, “the people in the branch haven’t changed and service hasn’t changed ; it’s still a great level of personal service. There are a lot of people like me who have been banking at this same branch for a long time because of its reputation with the community.”

Speaking to the enduring relationship, Sunday says, “The key is customer service – being available all the time, email , phone or text. Just knowing their business and what they need.”

Charity Brundage, Treasury Management Sales Officer at SouthState adds, “in addition to always being there for our clients and providing our knowledge and expertise, I believe we bring a real family relationship to our community, and it’s reflected in every team here.”

Patients Ultimately Benefit

For decades, Smyrna Eye Group has been on the forefront of diagnostic technology for their patients. Dr. Harper credits the strong relationship with SouthState with helping his practice continually upgrade their level of care.

“Just three weeks ago we decided we needed a new piece of equipment. I did a little homework, then sent Lisa an email, told her what we wanted to do, submitted the loan paperwork, and that same day she wrote back and said the money is in your account, you’re good to go.”

“You don’t get that level of service in those larger national banks,” Dr. Harper adds.

Better Financial Vision

As managing partner, Dr. Harper wears many hats, so he appreciates the banking technology SouthState offers, including Treasury Navigator.

“On the technology side, the new platform allows you to seamlessly see all your accounts, checking, savings , and our building loan. It’s easy to move money around, easy to set up recurring payments,” he said.
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“On the technology side, the new platform allows you to seamlessly see all your accounts, checking, savings , and our building loan. It’s easy to move money around, easy to set up recurring payments,”

Dr. Sean Harper - Smyrna Eye Group

On the customer-facing side, Dr. Harper knows that people expect a quick experience at checkout, so he takes advantage of SouthState’s Merchant Services technology , which he says, “has advanced to the point where it’s easier for our patients to complete their transactions.”

Power of The Personal

Summing up the importance of a good banking relationship, Dr. Harper says, “All things being equal, it’s that personal relationship – knowing that if I need something, I can reach Lisa or anyone over at the branch. I won’t get transferred to someone in a different city.”

“When you need something, SouthState’s there to make it happen for you.”

To see how SouthState’s commercial banking can help grow your business, contact a banker to learn more.

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