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1-800 Contacts

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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.

1-800 CONTACTS is the pinnacle of an entrepreneurial success story for it has grown from CEO Jonathan Coon's apartment to the world's largest contact lens store.

While Jonathan was an MBA student at Brigham Young University, he formulated the idea to stock contact lenses and ship them directly, saving customers from extra trips to their optometrist's office. As the sole employee of the operation, Jonathan had his cell phone answer customer calls with a message that said, "Although all operators are busy, your call is important to us and will be returned shortly." Clients would then leave their name and number, and Jonathan would call them back between classes.

While playing the role of distributor, customer service agent and buyer, Jonathan happened upon a competitor, John Nichols. After realizing they could grow their companies more effectively together, they became business partners and co-founded 1-800 CONTACTS in 1995.

Jonathan and John set up shop in a small rented house in Provo, and the company began to grow. Now located in Draper, 1-800 CONTACTS sells more contact lenses in one day than 2,500 retail optical stores combined.

Jonathan tells me clients save an average of 20 percent when they purchase their contact lenses through 1-800 CONTACTS versus their eye care provider. And because the company has such a vast inventory, the likelihood that a wearer's exact prescription will be available for direct delivery is maximized.

With a trained staff of more than 300 customer service agents, 1-800 CONTACTS fills almost 90 percent of its orders within 24 hours.

The company's recent filling of its 10 millionth order is ample proof that an entrepreneurial spirit can go a long way.

For Zions Bank, I'm Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.

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