Being in business for 46 years is a milestone for any businessperson. Dr. Jim Dandy remembers that while his first office space was being renovated, and Barbara Mallard, his first employee, was making appointments, he was out in the community, passing out business cards and making acquaintances. On November 3, 1972, as the first Black eye doctor in Savannah, he saw 13 patients. Dr. Dandy saw patients in the day and often made glasses at night. Eventually, he opened a larger office and expanded his practice to Statesboro and Springfield. In addition to his eye practice, he took business courses and real estate classes and began investing in real estate too. Dr. Dandy was, and still is, a “workaholic”, but he says it was easy because he loved people and taking care of his patients. Today, there are generations of families who saw Dr. Dandy, and, who remember him giving them eye glasses when they could not afford them. He attributes his passion for giving, from the example set by his mother. Dr. Dandy did not take a vacation for 19 years after opening his practice. Perhaps his passion about the care of his patients’ eyes was tied to his knowledge that a degenerative eye disease, that he found out about in the Air Force, would eventually render him blind. He was racing against that deadly clock, but on January 17, 2004 he saw his last patient. He admits that he cried aloud as he sat alone in his office. Being raised in the church and serving as a Deacon, he knew that with prayer and unwavering faith, that God would light a new path for him. He just had to wait on the Lord to reveal it.
It wasn’t long before His Plan was revealed. Still being led to help others, in December 2005, Dr. Dandy purchased 3840 Waters Avenue, one block from Savannah Family Vision Center. There, he founded Antioch Medical Associates, now known as Antioch Foot & Ankle Group, specializing in diabetic foot care. The practice opened in March of 2006 and it is still operating at 9104 Middleground Road Suite 2. Being a diabetic, he knew that people with diabetes needed to take special care of their feet.
Dr. Dandy was concerned about the negative statistics and low expectations promoted against Black boys and men in America. So he created Dandy Youth Development (DYD) in 2017 and renovated the old Savannah Family Vision Center at 3709 Waters Avenue at 54th Street with his own money. The mission of DYD is to teach, train, groom and develop young Black boys and men to be productive leaders in our society. The 501(c) 3 is doing just that and changing the lives of the young boys enrolled in the program. He also allows community groups to use the building. Dr. Dandy says that God knew that he would one day be blind, which is why He gave him a great memory to use for good and the spirit of giving.
Dr. Dandy is an inspiration to those who strive to own and operate a successful business. Blindness, and adversity have never stopped him. Trusting God, persistent prayer, tenacity, focus, and giving back to the community that supports his business has sustained him. He says that, “God has used me to make a difference in the lives of so many others, so, I give Him all the glory and I count everything, (even the trying times), ALL JOY”. He is also most grateful to Savannah and the Low Country for supporting him for 46 years