Vision Expo East: New York City Delivers

NEW YORK—Just like your favorite 24/7 takeout eatery in NYC, this year's Vision Expo East show delivered, on many satisfaction levels. According to show organizers, "overall numbers are still tracking up" and attendee and exhibitor response/reaction has been "overwhelmingly positive" this year.

For attendees and exhibitors alike, folks came with a plan and many stuck with it. New launches, fashion and trends were a focus of many people's plan at the show. "We wouldn't miss Vision Expo," said Shirleen Steele of Henry Ford OptimEyes. "Of course we meet with our partners here but we're also here to look for new things and new ideas, in fact we are on the lookout for some new accessory ideas."

"Everyone has specific wants and needs for their brand," added Bill Barton of Barton Perreira. "We wanted to create a unique experience here and an environment like our stores. Customers like it and we have been impressed."
Ron Snyder, OD, of EyeCare Registry in Boca Raton, Fla., said he just "wanted to introduce my new company Eye Care Registry to a lot of the major players in our industry. I had lots of excellent meetings. I like to come to both Vision Expos whether I have a plan or not because when I walk around I see new and exciting things, and it creates opportunities for me."

For Laura Bush of Encore Optics in South Windsor, Conn., the plan was to look into upgrades for their wholesale laboratory. "Right now we're just trying to stay up on technology. I just looked at the new PFO Global tracer to see if it would be something we'd be interested in. We're looking for new autoblockers, new auto lensometers and pre-finish blocking. We're planning for the future and investing in equipment for this year.

"We'll be getting a laser engraver from Satisloh; that's truly our next investment. The technology with tracing is finally starting to catch up with the rest of the technology here. MEI has its Shape Finder and PFO Global has its EyeX3, a laser tracer, is able to pick up the unique shapes that the older technology tracers would not be able to do. It's been years that I've been waiting for this technology," she said.

Some plans were much more specific. Dave Eichelberger of Adlens, said, "When we arrived here we had a definite sales plan, a goal of what we wanted to sell at the show. We're well on our way as of the second day of the show toward making that goal. We think we'll overachieve. Of particular excitement, I think that the Google Glass and that whole smart eyewear technology platform is right in line with what we're doing. I love that that category is getting the coverage that it is."

Jenn Falik, style and beauty expert, said, "I've seen a lot of really great trends. I've been very impressed by not just seeing the same classic frames that we're used to but seeing some really new innovations as far as the way frames fit and fun details and embellishments. My favorite part of Vision Expo is trying on as many pair of glasses as humanly possible. It's like the Mecca of all things eyewear, there is so much here that even I never get a chance to see."

Some people's plans were more open-ended to allow for discovery. Like Georg Mayer of Rodenstock, who said, "yes, I definitely came with a plan. The plan was to allow me to stroll around and see something new. My agenda would be to look for new things. An email before the show I read of particular interest, Shamir's new mini-lab concept they are rolling out. I was just at the Shamir booth to check it out."

Cheryl Bartholemew from Vision Associates, an optometric business consulting firm in Warren, N.J. that works with 70 practices throughout the country, explained "we're looking at colorful frames. Everyone likes color now, even men."

Mike Pildes from Avalon Eyewear, confirmed, "People are in a good mindset at this show. We launched the new Romeo Gigli collection and are finding that people are really responding well to its contemporary shapes and colors."

When it comes down to it though, Vision Expo is ultimately about doing business and establishing relationships and once again the show delivered. "So far the show has been excellent for us," said Larry Clarke of Satisloh. "Nearly everyone coming to the booth has seemed to be a serious buyer and labs seem to be in a relaxed mood about spending capital."

Ross Brownlee of Safilo North America was very upbeat. "There is always so much energy at these shows, a dynamic energy that engages people. New York City is great and the Javits Center is an excellent platform. Everyone seems really interested and engaged. The makeovers we've been doing in our booth with the launch of the Bobbi Brown line have been very popular. And that's what this show is all about—having a better relationship with your customers and giving them an experience while they're here," he concluded.