MASON, Ohio—Pearle Vision, the eyecare franchise business of Luxottica, said Thursday that it’s preparing to launch a “strategic independent optometrist conversion program,” called Pearle Vision “Ignite,” that is tied to the company’s commitment to growing the brand in new communities across the nation, according to an announcement from the company. The announcement noted that the Ignite program will provide “an attractive opportunity for independent eyecare practice owners.” It also explained that Pearle Vision wants to expand with “qualified optometrists who embody a contagious entrepreneurial spirit and have passion for providing genuine eyecare. The conversion program is an ideal opportunity for independent practices seeking greater structure, support and marketing expertise.”

Under the Ignite program, owners who opt to participate “will remain independent and operate their practices as they do today, but with the backing of a comprehensive franchise infrastructure powered by more than five decades of market intelligence,” according to Pearle Vision. The practices will carry the Pearle Vision name.

A key facet of the Ignite program, according to the announcement, is that independent practices that participate will pay royalties “only on incremental sales post conversion.” And there are no royalties on professional fees collected, such as eye exam revenue.

“We want our owners to be able to do what they love and practice as they see fit, all the while embracing and developing their entrepreneurial spirit by partnering with Pearle Vision,” Josh Robinson, vice president of franchise development for Pearle Vision, said in the announcement. The new “Ignite” program will launch at Optometry’s Meeting presented by the American Optometric Association (AOA). The meeting begins June 20 in Denver.

There are currently 527 Pearle Vision locations in North America, which includes 413 franchise offices and 114 corporate-owned locations, a spokeswoman told VMAIL.

“We have spent a lot of time analyzing the franchise opportunity and learning about how our eyecare centers perform compared to independent eyecare offices,” Robinson added. “We believe the Pearle Vision network can be of great assistance when it comes to supporting these practices to perform at a higher level.”

Additional benefits for independent ODs who join the “Ignite” program, according to Pearle Vision, include:

• More time to spend with patients because of Pearle Vision’s support and supply chain programs

• Access to trending eyewear brands that command consumer demand

• Advantageous pricing on eyewear and state-of-the-art exam equipment

• Affiliation with the Pearle Vision brand name, which has 80 percent-plus brand name recognition

• Limited upfront capital required to convert an existing practice

For more details about the Pearle Vision “Ignite” program, visit the website