Doing Business in Optical’s Local Markets


This month’s edition of “dba: Doing Business in Optical’s Local Markets” profiles Crown Vision Center and the formula that makes its 29 locations in and around St. Louis a success. A dataPoint from a recent research study shows that chain optometrists have higher salaries than those employed by independents, and a compensation program that improves employee review time and aligns pay increases with job performance is presented by contributors Evan Kestenbaum, MBA, and Rebecca L. Johnson, CPOT, COT, COE, of GPN. View the dba e-newsletter at

With Back-to-School being one of optical’s busiest periods, read the latest issue of dba for details on how Stanton Optical is collecting shoes for impoverished children starting the school year in Florida, and below, see how leading optical retailing groups are preparing for the Back-to-School rush and the trends they see in store for this season. ■


Back-to-School ‘Busyness’ Drives Optical Retailers’ Business

When it comes to overall retail sales, Back-to-School shopping ranks second only to the holiday shopping season, according to economic analyst IHS Global Insight. For eyewear sales, this time of year is among the busiest, and optical retailers plan accordingly by preparing promotions, stocking up on trendy collections and even discouraging staff vacations.

How important is the Back-to-School period to your optical business, and what styles/categories of kids/tweens eyewear/lenses do you anticipate will be important this year?



Back-to-School is a very important season for us. It is, in fact, one of our busiest periods of the year. We embrace families and look forward to the excitement of busy offices taking care of all our patients’ eyecare needs. We begin to prepare months in advance with our vendor partners assuring we have all the necessary tools for a successful campaign. These include fresh merchandising, gift-with-purchase options and, of course, the latest products. All of our children’s and tween collections are updated to be sure the most current styles are available. We also feature Back-to-School prominently in the third quarter issue of our Henry Ford OptimEyes magazine along with great student eyewear packages.

Frame style options that will be important this year are lots of color—navy, hunter green, khaki for boys, and purple, pink and mulberry for girls. Plastics are coming on strong with the geek chic trend making its way through both youth and tween designs. Accents are also important as they are now a bit more “grown-up” in their aesthetics. Flex hinges are key to most parents, so of course we are sure to have plenty of options along with a full range of flex metals. With respect to lenses, polycarbonate, anti-glare, and Transitions all pave the way for the perfect eyewear to head back to school with style and vision!



At OptiCare, we use the Back-to-School period as a springboard into the second half of the fiscal year. We tend to see an uptick in both patient encounters as well as eyewear sales. In addition to elementary and high schools, many of our offices seem to each have a college or university just around the corner, so for us, the student going back to school can be anywhere from seven years old to 25. Knowing this, we not only make sure to have a variety of traditional kids frames but also a large selection of the more trendy options for the teen and beyond crowd.



For 2013, Back-to-School, geek chic frames are still big for kids this year. Chunky, slightly oversized plastic frames with fun details are what kids are dying to wear. Parents love these frames for their durability and kids love them for the look. Brands that are on fire are Skechers kids, Converse kids and Lucky Brands kids, all hitting the mark for kids fashion in eyewear.

For the older kids, Tween Ray Ban frames are a must have. Candies and Bongo frames are a big hit with teen girls who want lots of fun colors and unique temple details.

In lenses, parents should seriously consider photochromic lenses, which look great in geek chic frames. These lenses help protect your child’s eyes from the sun without changing to sunglasses. These are not the old glass Photogray lenses that people remember. The advances in technology in this product are amazing, and most of the time nobody will know that they change until they are outside and the lenses are darkening. ■


For more from the current edition of "dba: Doing Business in Optical’s Local Markets," (as well as archived issues), click here.