Legacy Labs: Identical Dental Laboratory

May 22, 2012

Sisters Anita Cranford and Elise Holasek, owners of Norman, OK-based Identical Dental Laboratory, share common DNA, a commitment to quality, a thriving dental lab business and even more; the two are identical twins.

Sisters Anita Cranford and Elise Holasek, owners of Norman, OK-based Identical Dental Laboratory, share common DNA, a commitment to quality, a thriving dental lab business and even more; the two are identical twins.

Cranford and Holasek opened Identical Dental Laboratory, Inc. in 2002. They had worked in the field for many years, but had no idea when they started that they both would eventually maintain careers in the industry. Cranford and Holasek were 18 when each got a job doing lab-related deliveries.

Holasek led the way when she was hired to work for a crown and bridge dental lab. Cranford followed in her sister's footsteps when she took a job doing deliveries for another lab that specialized in removables.

They started as drivers, but each became more interested in the field as they helped with other tasks associated with the labs. 

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“I started doing other things and I discovered how much I liked it,” said Cranford. “I like working with my hands and seeing a case from start to finish, especially when it’s a tough case and I think [to myself], ‘How am I going to do this?’”

Today, Cranford and Holasek specialize in crown and bridge, and agree that the industry has provided an interesting outlet for their abilities.

“It’s a way to be creative,” Holasek said. “That’s what I’ve always liked about it.

After getting their start in the lab industry, the sisters took jobs working for the same lab, Crown Kingdom Dental in Fort Worth, TX. Owner Nancy Johnson became a mentor for them, and helped teach them the lab business. The relationship remains a strong bond.  

“We still call her up today with questions and we try to meet with her at conferences,” said Cranford.

After working at Crown Kingdom, Cranford moved to Albuquerque, NM. The sisters vowed if they were ever able to live in the same place again they would open their own lab. In 2000, Cranford got the opportunity to move to Norman, OK, where Holasek had been living. They both worked at the same lab in Norman while they slowly began to build their own business.

Today, Identical takes pride in providing dental restorations to dentists in Norman and surrounding areas. The sisters find it is easy to work together because they know each other so well. They also share a dedication to providing the best product possible.

“We’re both quality oriented,” said Cranford. “We don’t want to send anything out that we wouldn’t want in our own mouths.”

The industry in which they have worked for more than two decades has proving other benefits including being able to arrange their schedules to fit their needs. Cranford is a mother of one. Holasek and her husband have four children.

“It gives us the freedom to attend to our families' needs,” said Holasek.  “I can go to my child's games or other activities. But then there are nights where we work until midnight or later.”

The sisters said their business has grown by word-of-mouth and through the educational programs they attend. The hardest part of starting the lab was in the early days when they needed to get the word out about their business. Being look-alike twins turned out to be a plus because it makes them memorable.

“It’s unusual to have women own a lab,” said Holasek. “We’re twins. People remember us.”