By Mark Clark
Being successful in an established optometry business in Montgomery, which sent him to Selma once per week, just did not completely make the connection he needed to reach his future goals. In other words, Dr. Griff Gordy knew he was not going to be his happiest by remaining with the group.
He had his own plan – a dream he formulated while still in optometry school at the University of Alabama – Birmingham. Dr. Gordy wanted to return to his hometown. But, he worked nearly four years as an optometrist before he took a leap of faith and came home to Phenix City – the place he grew up, the place he feels most comfortable.
After becoming a hometown hero as the quarterback of the Central High football team that won the school’s first state championship title in 1993 and helping his team to the state championship series in baseball for the first time in 1994, Dr. Gordy went to Auburn University-Montgomery to play baseball. He was red-shirted his freshman season and spent five years at the school getting his undergraduate degree before heading to UAB. After graduation, Dr. Gordy returned to Montgomery to begin his career – the career he wanted to bring to Phenix City.
In August 2007, Dr. Gordy took that leap of faith and returned to the city he loved.
“I always wanted to come back to my hometown. I knew I wanted to be here to help others,” Dr. Gordy said.
He opened Gordy Eye Care to provide the community with general eye care – eye exams for glasses and contact lenses. It is a medical optometry practice that also handles patient needs with diabetes, eye infections and injuries and working with specialists to see his patients get the care they need.
The business began with just himself and his wife Jennifer. He saw maybe three to five patients a day. He had plenty of extra time on his hands and he used it wisely. Dr. Gordy spent many free hours talking to elementary school kids and talking to civic clubs about eye care. He also spent some time on the golf course when he had no appointments.
“I wanted to get my name and my business out there to the public. I talked to kids. I talked to civic clubs. I wanted to educate people about their eyes and the services we offer. I let them know I was here for them. I also worked one day a week at West Georgia Eye Care. I also spent time on the golf course. When I did that, I told Jennifer to call if someone wanted an appointment. I was glad to go back to the office to see them right then,” Dr. Gordy said with an added chuckle.
It was about a year before Dr. Gordy hired his first employee. Now, his practice employs seven full-time and two part-time employees – in addition to himself and his wife. He has moved from his first office space to a larger space.
“I knew we had a good opportunity to grow. I didn’t expect this much growth this fast. Instead of three to five patients per day, we now see 30 to 40 patients every day. It is much harder to get away to do the things I did at first now. It is a good problem to have,” Dr. Gordy said.
Being involved gives Dr. Gordy joy. He works with the Central High football team’s radio crew when possible; he teaches a college and career Sunday school class at Summerville Baptist Church and is on the Phenix City Council as the At-Large representative for the city.
“I always hoped I would be involved in my community. As far as the City Council is concerned, I did not really expect that. I want to be involved where I can. I see that as a way to give back to the community. That is where my heart is. I love my community and its people. I love my hometown,” Dr. Gordy said.
With the success he has achieved in his hometown, he is looking toward the future of his business. He has had thoughts of establishing a satellite office.
“There is nothing set in stone. We’ve been here for 12 years. That is hard to believe we have been here that long. What makes me successful is my staff and my patients. I take care of my staff and they take care of my patients. My patients take care of me and my family. That is what will lead my decisions for the future. If we are led to hire another doctor or set up a satellite office, we will keep our focus on our people in this community and continue to provide our best possible care for the people here,” Dr. Gordy said.
If his past success is an indication of the future for Dr. Gordy and his business, the years ahead with be even more successful.