Imperial’s Total Eye Care Partners Joins With Gaddie Eye Centers


Ben Gaddie,OD.

LAS VEGAS—Imperial Capital Group, a Toronto-based private equity fund manager, has announced the formation of Total Eye Care Partners (Total ECP).

To launch its new platform, which will seek to partner with optometrists and assist in the management of medically focused optometry practices across the U.S., Total ECP recently completed its first business partnership with Gaddie Eye Centers of Louisville, Ky., and also closed on the acquisition of Gateway Professional Network's Coaching and Dispensing Management Program.

Members of the Total ECP executive team will include Bob Barton, president and CEO, Ben Gaddie, OD, chief medical officer, Paul Karpecki, OD, medical director and Jay Binkowtiz, executive vice president, business strategy.

With a significant number of signed letters of intent with key optometric opinion leaders, Total ECP’S stated it expects “to soon be making additional announcements regarding its plans for rapid growth.” The company will be based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

With the divestment of the GPN Coaching and Dispensing Management Program and Binkowitz’ new role with the Total ECP group, it was announced that Ed Buffington will assume the role of president and CEO of what will now be known as GPN Technologies, effective immediately.

Buffington will lead the newly created GPN Technologies Group, which will include GPN The Edge and other services, along with Evan Kestenbaum, co-founder of GPN, who will be the new chief operating officer at GPN Technologies. EDGEPro by GPN will be the core of new products and technologies currently under development as well as those about to be acquired in the near future, the company said.

Regarding the formation of the new Total ECP platform, Justin MacCormack, partner and head of health care investing at Imperial Capital said, “Gaddie Eye Centers is 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.”

“The current market environment in eyecare is rapidly changing and we are positioning our organization to be the go-to platform for the future,” commented Dr. Gaddie, adding that “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.”

Dr. Karpecki, added, “This rapid change is creating 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.”

Barton has over 31 years of extensive retail experience and is a 16-year veteran of the optical industry. He has held several key senior level positions over the years including SVP of Brands with US Vision, COO of CAR Eyewear and Senior Partner with Visibility Management.

“Total ECP plans to grow throughout the U.S., partnering with targeted individual practices and regional groups,” explained Barton. “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.”

Binkowitz added, “I am very excited by this opportunity to witness the coming together of the best of the best from all areas of the industry to form a collaborative environment for optometry.”

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

Gaddie Eye Centers was founded in 1969 by Dr. Bruce Gaddie. For over 40 years, Gaddie Eye Centers has served the Louisville and surrounding areas by providing the highest quality in patient eyecare. This tradition continued in 1999 when Dr. Ben Gaddie, the founder's son, joined the practice. Dr. Ben Gaddie is a key opinion leader in the optometric community, who directs and speaks on the optometric lecture tour.

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

Regarding GPN Technologies, Binkowitz said, “As I move into my new role at Total ECP, I am very pleased to have Ed stepping into the GPN Technologies leadership role. Ed’s long career in the eyecare software and technology industry is an ideal background to lead this new firm into the future. I’m confident that Ed along with Evan Kestenbaum and the entire team, have the experience and resources to provide much needed support to GPN Technologies customers.”

Buffington noted that GPN Technologies will be delivering new products, services and solutions enabling ECPs to obtain a comprehensive, 360-degree understanding of their business. He said, “Our industry continues to experience a highly rapid pace of change today. Industry executives and eyecare professionals must understand all the data related to their business and incorporate existing and new tools and technologies to drive success. Our mission is to help our clients make more money.”