CINCINNATI—Imperial Capital Group, a Toronto-based private equity fund manager, has formed a new company, Total Eye Care Partners (Total ECP), and launched a platform that will seek partnerships with optometrists and assist in managing medically focused optometry practices across the U.S.

Total ECP, which is based here in Cincinnati, recently completed its first business partnership with Gaddie Eye Centers, which owns four offices in the Louisville, Ky., area. The investment firm also acquired Gateway Professional Network's Coaching and Dispensing Management Program.

The management team of Total ECP includes Bob Barton, president and CEO, Ben Gaddie, OD, chief medical officer, and Paul Karpecki, OD, medical director. Jay Binkowitz, who was CEO of Gateway Professional Network, joins Total ECP as executive vice president, business strategy.

Ben Gaddie, OD
In its announcement, Total ECP said it has a significant number of signed letters of intent with key optometric opinion leaders, and that it expects “to soon be making additional announcements” about its plans for rapid growth. Total ECP also will offer a range of business and consulting services to offices that become part of the group.

Justin MacCormack, partner and head of health care investing at Imperial Capital, said the initial partnership with Gaddie Eye Centers provides the new firm “a strong start toward achieving our goal of building a market leader in the practice of medical optometry. We are excited to partner with Dr. Gaddie in the creation of an industry leading business model that will help the optometric doctor flourish.”

In the announcement, Gaddie noted that he believes the business environment in eyecare today is in the midst of rapid change. “We are positioning our organization to be the go-to platform for the future,” Gaddie said. He added, “There are many challenges in running a practice today and our colleagues are looking for options that allow them to continue practicing a high level of eyecare services without compromising the patient experience.”

Barton, the new president of Total ECP, has more than 31 years of retail experience and is a 16-year veteran of the optical industry. He has held key senior-level positions with U.S. Vision, CAR Eyewear and Visibility Management.

Justin MacCormack
“Total ECP plans to grow throughout the U.S., partnering with targeted individual practices and regional groups,” Barton said in the announcement. “Total ECP will provide ODs with the unique opportunity to participate in the growth of the business while retaining clinic management and ownership, but without many of the day-to-day challenges faced by small businesses.”

Karpecki said the rapid changes in optometry creates “enormous opportunity as market forces shift and demand for eyecare services increase. The need for highly skilled medical eyecare providers will be significant and Total ECP partner doctors will be well prepared and ideally positioned to capitalize on this demand and more effectively serve our patients.”

Imperial Capital Group, which focuses on buy-out opportunities in the Canadian and U.S. mid-market sector, is currently drawing from its sixth fund, which has commitments of $500 million. The firm invests in targeted industry niches within health care, business and consumer services industries and typically with operating companies with revenues between $20 million and $250 million.

Gaddie Eye Centers was founded in 1969 by Dr. Bruce Gaddie and has served Louisville and surrounding areas for more than 40 years. Ben Gaddie, the founder's son, joined the practice in 1999.

In connection with the transaction, Anne Kavanagh of Kavanagh Consulting provided financial advice to Gaddie Eye Centers.