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Cindy Parker enjoys the ride with Safety Rx Eyewear

Cindy Parker’s husband tells people that his wife drives a bread truck. While it’s the size of a bread truck, Parker’s Safety Rx Eyewear mobile units nourish Upstate eyes rather than stomachs.

Believed to be the only mobile prescription safety eyewear company east of the Mississippi, Safety Rx Eyewear has been traveling the Upstate and Midlands regions of South Carolina for 26 years, taking products and services directly to the customer. With clients ranging from a two-man body shop to one of the world’s largest tire makers, Parker offers on-site consultation and more than 150 frame options on the truck.

“I could set up shop in a company’s cafeteria with 25 or 30 frames, but with the truck I can offer 10 to 15 times the selection,” says Parker, a licensed optician. “If people don’t like their glasses, they won’t wear them, and if they won’t wear them, they can’t protect their eyes.”

Parker and her father founded Safety Rx Eyewear in 1994. A former traveling salesperson for Johnson & Johnson, Parker knew the healthcare industry and how to sell. Her father, a veterinarian, was experienced in starting and managing his own business. And Parker’s majority ownership of the company qualified it as a female-owned business.

“Prescription safety eyewear was primarily mail order at that time, and today is still a male dominated industry,” Parker said. “Our goal was to offer the highest-quality safety eyewear products at competitive prices and make it convenient for the customer. So, I went from driving a new, fully-loaded Buick to a step van.”

But the move paid off as the flourishing mobile eyewear business led to the opening of Eyes In Motion, a retail location on Woodruff Road where Trader Joe’s is today. The Great Recession coupled with customers who grew weary of Woodruff Road traffic woes led Parker to scale back the retail side of the company. She sold Eyes In Motion in 2015.

On a recent ride along, Livin’ Upstate spent time with Parker at a manufacturing facility in Spartanburg. While there, she fit seven employees for a new pair of prescription safety glasses, distributed five pair that were ready for pick up, and repaired two frames. Then, there were those who stopped by the truck just to say hello or to see Cogsworth, the Parkers’ year-old Welsh Corgi.

“There are engineers who will stop what they’re doing and walk across campus just to see Cogs,” she says.

Parker begins her day about 5:30 a.m. so she can be on-site and ready for business during early morning shift changes. She drives about 500 miles each week, visiting customers across the Upstate and as far away as Lexington. The company has a second licensed optician on staff and operates from offices at 1120 W. Butler Road in Greenville.

While Parker has plenty of competition in the prescription safety eyewear business, her mobile units make her unique and attractive to prospective buyers.

“People can’t quite figure out how to make the mobile part of it work,” Parker says. “The trucks scare them.”

For now, Parker says she’ll continue to enjoy the ride with Safety Rx Eyewear.

“I get to help people look good, feel good and be safe,” she said. “Now you can see why this is the best job in the world.”

For more information on Safety Rx Eyewear, call (864) 277-6777 or email cindy@safetyrxeyewear.com.

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