Elmer Voss and Vincent Condon started X-Cel Optical Company in Detroit in 1937 when the concept of fused glass bifocals was in its infancy. The company quickly grew from an initial production rate of 6 pairs per day.
After moving production to California in 1945, it quickly became apparent that a more stable environment was necessary if the company were to grow. In 1946 Elmer and Vincent decided to return to Central Minnesota where they had been raised. They selected Sauk Rapids as the new home of X-Cel Optical Company.
The first site occupied by X-Cel Optical was in the basement of the Sauk Rapids Movie Theater, in downtown Sauk Rapids. In 1957, a fire destroyed that building. It was then that the first 5,000 square feet of the present fused plant was built. Four additions have been made since that time to bring the plant to almost 40,000 square feet of space, devoted to fused lens production, plastic lens mold making, central stockroom and corporate offices.
In 1977, X-CEL built a separate 10,000 square foot plant behind the fused plant and began the production of plastic lens blanks. In 1979, another 10,000 square foot plant was built in the Sauk Rapids Industrial Park for the manufacture of glass Executive style lens blanks. In 1998, an additional 10,000 square feet was added to the plastic lens factory. X-CEL occupies 70,000 square feet of space in Sauk Rapids.
At the present time X-CEL stocks about 250,000 pairs of semi-finished lens blanks in the stock office located in Sauk Rapids, MN. Over 40,000 separate lens sizes, styles, and colors are kept in inventory for immediate shipment to our customers, made from glass, plastic, trivex, and high index plastic.
X-CEL serves over 1500 separate customers; laboratories which grind the backside of the lens blanks’; to the patient’s prescription, and edge and mount them in the desired frame. Our sales are handled by independent sales representatives as one of their major product lines.
We are a full line supplier of semi-finished ophthalmic lens products. None of our competitors surpass us in terms of product range. We pride ourselves on quality and service, and continually strive to improve both, in an extremely competitive market place. We succeed only because of the skill and conscientious efforts of our employees.