Nominations Now Open for VM’s 2021 Most Influential Women in Optical

By Staff
Friday, May 7, 2021 12:27 AM NEW YORK—Women’s influence in optical is undeniable and today, more women than ever before are playing vital roles at all levels of our industry. In retailing, wholesaling, product design, manufacturing, distribution and vision care and managed care, talented women are shaping the direction of the companies and organizations they work for, and, in many cases, lead. This is why Vision Monday will once again be highlighting The Most Influential Women in Optical in our July issue, marking the 19th anniversary of our signature Special Report saluting women in the eyewear/eyecare industry. We are currently seeking nominations via an electronic survey form.

Maintaining Lab Service in the COVID-19 Era

By Sarah McGoldrick
Sunday, April 25, 2021 10:00 AM It’s been a tough year for the optical industry, especially optical labs. Soon after COVID hit regional lockdowns began, and many eyecare practices closed or reduced their patient hours. Labs felt the impact almost immediately. A Vision Council Member Survey conducted in Spring, 2020 found that the majority of labs had reduced their production and service hours in response to decreased demand due to COVID-19. (see Fig. 1) As the volume of Rx orders fell, many labs reduced staff or staff hours. However, the decrease in sales from brick-and-mortar optical locations was partly offset by an increase in online optical sales, as homebound consumers increasingly turned to eyeglass e-tailers. Labs had to quickly adapt to these shifting market dynamics by adjusting their service and delivery strategies.

Pandemic Prompts Labs to Embrace New Marketing Approaches

By Sarah McGoldrick
Sunday, April 25, 2021 9:59 AM More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, optical labs are still adjusting to the disruptions the pandemic has caused to the eyecare practices and optical retailers they service. With many lab customers operating on limited hours and under strict health restrictions that prevent making in-person sales calls, labs have had to develop new approaches to educating ECPs and staff about new products and services. In particular, many labs are shifting from face-to-face product demonstrations and traditional marketing materials and embracing virtual consultations.

GSRx Promotes Bonnie DeMark and Tasha Morgan

By Staff
Tuesday, April 20, 2021 12:21 AM SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.—GSRx president, Keith Posin, has announced that Bonnie DeMark, ABOC/CPOA, has been named director of customer interaction, and Tasha Morgan has been named business systems manager and operations/customer service liaison for the Scottsdale-based eyewear supplier.

VM Conversation: Essilor’s Pete Lothes Talks With Andrew Karp About Labs and Servicing Independent ECPs

By Andrew Karp
Wednesday, April 14, 2021 12:15 AM NEW YORK—Essilor, the world’s biggest lens company, is also the biggest optical laboratory operator in the U.S. Since acquiring its first U.S. labs in 1996, Essilor has built a network consisting of over 90 locations that are part of its ELOA group or are independently-owned partner labs. Pete Lothes is in charge of the company’s lab operations. Lothes has spent his career in and around labs, first helping manage the family business in Columbus, Ohio and later heading Essilor’s Satisloh business unit, which is a leading manufacturer of lens processing equipment.

EssilorLuxottica to Acquire Walman, the Largest Independent Lab Group in the U.S.

By Staff
Thursday, March 25, 2021 1:15 PM CHARENTON-LE-PONT, France, and MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.—EssilorLuxottica has entered into an agreement to acquire Walman, the largest independent optical laboratory group in the U.S. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Walman, which is employee-owned and operated, has long been a top wholesale distributor of Essilor lenses in the U.S. It has been a leading partner to vision care practices around the country since its founding in 1915. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., the diversified company operates a network of 35 facilities across the U.S., including prescription lens-finishing labs and hubs for optical instruments and other vision care products. It generated approximately $500 million in revenues in 2020, according to EssilorLuxottica and Walman.

Eye-Kraft Optical, Inc. Promotes Jason Sharpe to President and CEO

By Staff
Tuesday, March 2, 2021 12:15 AM ST. CLOUD, Minn.—Eye-Kraft Optical, based here, announced that Jason Sharpe will be promoted to president and CEO, effective March 8, 2021.

Family Business: Lab Leadership Across Generations

By Jeff Hopkins / Contributing Editor
Thursday, February 18, 2021 12:30 AM The optical industry is often viewed as a family: it is relatively small, as industries go, and it often seems like everybody knows everyone else. But many optical businesses, including labs, are literally family affairs passed on from one generation to the next, creating a continuity of culture and customer relationships. To understand the attraction, advantages and the rewards of working in the family business, VM spoke to four lab leaders who are following in their parents’ footsteps and creating new ones of their own.

The Human Factor: Lab Functions That Resist Automation

By Jeff Hopkins / Contributing Editor
Thursday, February 18, 2021 12:29 AM The first two decades of the 21st century have seen many new developments and large investments in lab automation. Automating functions increases efficiency, reduces turnaround time and points of failure in lens fabrication and finishing, and almost everyone who knows the lab business would agree that the changes are for the best.

New Products for Labs

By Staff
Thursday, February 18, 2021 12:28 AM

A Better Way to Clean Alloy Surface Blocks

By Staff
Thursday, February 18, 2021 12:27 AM Solving problems within the Maui Jim Rx lab does not happen within a vacuum. It takes a team to identify the problem and then work together to find the solution, according to Paul Ponder, vice president, Rx lab operations for the popular sunglass brand.

From Processing ‘Scripts’ to Reading Scripts: How 3 Ex Optical Lab Owners Found Success in the Film Biz

By Andrew Karp
Friday, January 8, 2021 8:30 AM It’s a plotline straight out of the movies. Three former optical wholesale lab owners leave behind the daily grind of making prescription eyewear to become producers of independent films featuring Alec Baldwin, Marisa Tomei and other big name stars. Like the legal disclaimer seen at the start of many movies, this story is based on actual events. In fact, the main characters—Michael J. Rothstein, formerly Hirsch Optical in New York, Mike Palkovicz, formerly of I-See Optical Lab in New Jersey and Greg Ruden, formerly of Expert Optics in Illinois—are real people who are well-known to many in optical. How they landed their dream job is the true story of three middle-aged guys who each sold their successful family business, invested in an indie production company, took a leap into the unknown and landed on their feet.

Optical Coating Entrepreneur, Jean Gehrig, Dies at 79

By Staff
Wednesday, January 6, 2021 12:15 AM ARCHAMPS, France—Jean Gehrig, founder of SCL International, a cleaning and hard coating machine manufacturer based here, passed away Nov. 13, 2020, at age 79. The news was reported this week by Satisloh, whose parent company, Essilor, acquired SCL in 2016. Gehrig was an electrical engineer who founded two companies before SCL International was formed in 1993, producing dip coating technology. Two years later their first piece of equipment with the SCL label was produced.

Welcome to VM’s Lab Report

By Andrew Karp
Tuesday, December 22, 2020 6:30 PM Optical laboratories have always been an important part of Vision Monday’s editorial coverage. Over the years, we celebrated and elevated labs because they are the backbone of the optical industry, providing support for eyecare professionals and optical retailers while serving as an essential link in the optical supply chain. Our original research and in-depth reports spotlight the accomplishments of the companies and individuals who contribute to the growth of this vital sector of our industry

Start Me Up: What it Takes to Launch a New Rx Lab

By Jeff Hopkins, Contributing Editor
Tuesday, December 22, 2020 6:29 PM With the optical lab landscape seemingly dominated by manufacturers’ networks and a few large independent labs, you could be forgiven for thinking that there is no room in the market for new players. Yet optical veterans continue to find fertile ground for the establishment of new small independent labs, and success is following.