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Lens Tech sharpens focus on new business with financing from SBA 504 loan program
LensTech Optical Laboratory, located in Greenwood, is expanding services by purchasing new machinery with partial financing from First Merchants Bank and the Indiana Statewide Certified Development Corporation. First Merchants and the Indiana Statewide CDC are providing a loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration 504 program for small businesses.

LensTech Optical Laboratory is the largest privately owned and operated wholesale optical laboratory in Indiana, serving independent eye care professionals throughout the Midwest.

With its new equipment, LensTech is becoming one of the few labs in Indiana to provide digitally surfaced prescription eyeglass lenses, including personalized progressive "no line" all-purpose lenses. The new equipment utilizes new technology producing lenses well beyond the standards set forth by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Lens Tech co-owner Bill Harding says the expansion will add much needed manufacturing jobs to the Johnson County area. Harding hopes to add a second shift soon.

Co-owner Greg Kyle says, "The digital equipment is very important to us. We can now offer our customers a precision product that our competitors cannot. Our customers the independent eye care professionals and their patients are the people who receive the benefits of the technology."

Lens Tech is the largest private eyeglass laboratory in Indiana, but is small compared to giant foreign competitors.

"We offer an unequalled level of personal service," says Kyle. "And we produce complex prescription products in-house, rather than outsourcing to foreign owned labs here in the US, Mexico, Southeast Asia, and China."

Indiana Statewide CDC works with local lenders to provide loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 loan program for expanding companies. Congress created the SBA 504 program to help small businesses gain favorable financing terms and retain operating cash while expanding. Indiana Statewide CDC is the leading SBA 504 lender in Indiana.

Executive Director Jean Wojtowicz says that the Indiana Statewide CDC has provided more than $345 million to 911 Indiana companies, creating more than 26,000 jobs, since 1983.

"The SBA 504 program is more relevant than ever," she says. "Banks are under pressure to lend to small local businesses. With 504 loans, the lenders can reduce their risk and provide their borrowers with affordable financing."

John Purdie of First Merchants says, "It is nice to see a company like LensTech thrive even in this tough economy. They have made a name for themselves in the market place by providing superior quality and customer service. I anticipate Lens Tech will continue to gain market share. This new equipment is significantly updating their technology and should be relevant in their operations for years to come.

"The 504 program allowed the company to retain more of its working capital while tapping into very favorable financing terms, and was a good fit all the way around."

About ANSI: The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) was founded in 1918 to promote U.S. global business competitiveness by creating voluntary standards for manufacturing and service. ANSI standards apply to every type of economic endeavor including manufacturing, medical devices, construction equipment, dairy and livestock production and energy distribution.

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