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Eyecare Equipment Firms Will Combine to Form New Company

It will be called Advancing Eyecare Holdings.

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STAMFORD, CT — Private equity firm Atlantic Street Capital announced that it will form Advancing Eyecare Holdings with the partnership of its portfolio company Lombart Instrument — a distributor of ophthalmic instruments to ophthalmologists and optometrists — and Marco Ophthalmic Inc., a high-tech instrumentation supplier.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2019.

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Podcast: Why Optical (and Especially Optical Retail) Is Lagging Behind Other Industries

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Podcast: What the Heck is Marketing? And What Should ECPs Focus on to Attract New Clients?

Podcast: More Ways to Motivate Your Own Eyecare Business Team
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Podcast: More Ways to Motivate Your Own Eyecare Business Team

Gordon Siteman, CEO of Lombart, said, “Creating Advancing Eyecare with the partnership of two leaders in the eyecare instrumentation marketplace increases our ability to provide the doctor both the service and product offerings that suit their budget and their technology requirements. When completed, the combined organization will deliver the best solution at the best price for every practice’s needs.”

Upon completion of the transaction, David Marco will continue as a meaningful investor in the business and will join Advancing Eyecare as co-chairman of the newly formed company and help advise the senior management teams.

Marco said, “With this strategic partnership we will be ideally positioned to maximize value for both our customer and employees. It allows for expanded service capability for Marco and greater technology offerings for Lombart. The combined entity enhances and accelerates our unique abilities to modernize and maximize efficiencies of the Eye Care platforms.”

Bryan Bevin, senior operating adviser to Atlantic Street Capital’s portfolio companies, will serve as co-chairman of the Advancing Eyecare board.

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Both he and Marco will oversee the operating and strategic guidance of all Lombart assets in the medical eyecare marketplace in North America, including Lombart Instrument, Marco Ophthalmic, Enhanced Medical Services and INNOVA Medical Ophthalmics (Canada and Mexico).

Andy Wilkins, managing partner of Atlantic Street Capital, said, “Since our acquisition of Lombart in 2016, we have steadily built the business through organic growth, as well as expanded into Canada with the acquisition of INNOVA and enhanced our pre-owned ophthalmic business with the acquisition earlier this year of Enhanced Medical Services.  The addition of Marco is another significant investment to strengthen Lombart’s position as a key partner for its customers, further extending our ability to deliver a breadth of clinical solutions.”

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VSP Ventures Acquires 6-Location Optometry Practice

All locations will continue to operate under the EyeZone brand.

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RANCHO CORDOVA, CA – VSP Ventures announced the acquisition of EyeZone, a six-location optometry practice in Nevada.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2004 by Daniel Rowan, OD, EyeZone serves Northern Nevada, with locations in West Reno, Midtown, South Reno, Carson City, Fallon and Lake Tahoe. All locations will continue to operate under the EyeZone brand.

“With an unwavering focus on patient care and commitment to their community, the EyeZone team is a shining example of what a top-notch eye care and eyewear experience looks like,” said Steve Baker, president of VSP Ventures. “We’re thrilled to welcome them to the VSP Ventures family.”

“As we explored options to transition ownership, it was critical that it be with partners that shared our care-focused philosophy and would allow us to continue delivering that care while freeing us from the day-to-day management of the business,” said Rowan. “Partnering with VSP Ventures has afforded us that opportunity.”

In 2014, Rowan merged locations with a practice owned by Mark Michitsch, OD, who became a partner in EyeZone. In 2018, Amber Belaustegui, OD, also became a partner following EyeZone’s acquisition of her practice. Today, there are seven optometrists across EyeZone’s six locations. All doctors and practice staff will remain in their roles.

“Looking towards the next phase in our careers, we wanted to find partners who shared our values,” said Michitsch. “Our reputation and legacy of comprehensive patient care will continue on, and we’re set up for even more success as we look to the future in partnership with VSP Ventures.”

“Transitioning away from the administrative aspects of running a practice allows us to focus on what we love most – seeing patients and providing a differentiated and personal eye care experience to the community,” said Belaustegui.

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‘Eyeglass Store Pioneer’ Dies at 84

He founded Eyear 1 Hour Optical Inc. in Tennessee.

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Jim Crittenden, founder of Eyear 1 Hour Optical Inc. in Tennessee, has died, Chattanoogan.com reports.

He was 84.

The website described Crittenden as an “eyeglass store pioneer” for starting the state’s first one-hour eyewear superstore more than six decades ago.

He was well-known for his marketing antics, such as dying his beard purple for a TV commercial.

According to Chattanoogan.com, Crittenden’s business was the first of its kind to advertise in the state, following a legal victory in the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Crittenden was also an owner of the Lookouts minor league baseball team for several years, and helped bring the team back to Chattanooga in the 1970s.

Read more at Chattanoogan.com

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Ransomware Attack Locks Eyecare Practice’s Computer Systems for Over 2 Weeks

The practice chose not to deal with the hackers.

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BEAVER TOWNSHIP, OH — A ransomware attack left Eye Care Associates Inc. without the use of its computer systems for more than two weeks.

Hackers hit the systems on July 28, The Business Journal of Youngstown, OH, reports. The publication reported on Aug. 14 that, according to Mary Jo Sierra, director of operations for the practice, the systems were expected to be restored “in the next day or two.”

Podcast: Why Optical (and Especially Optical Retail) Is Lagging Behind Other Industries
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Podcast: Why Optical (and Especially Optical Retail) Is Lagging Behind Other Industries

Podcast: What the Heck is Marketing? And What Should ECPs Focus on to Attract New Clients?
INVISION Podcast

Podcast: What the Heck is Marketing? And What Should ECPs Focus on to Attract New Clients?

Podcast: More Ways to Motivate Your Own Eyecare Business Team
INVISION Podcast

Podcast: More Ways to Motivate Your Own Eyecare Business Team

A report filed with the Beaver Township Police Department stated that “unknown computer hacking software had taken control of the entire Eye Care Associates computer system and locked them out until unknown ransom was paid.”

The police report said the system was infected with a virus that appeared to have originated in North Korea.

The practice chose not to reply that would tell them how much they must pay to regain access to the computer system, the Business Journal reports.

“Once the directors of Eye Care Associates were told that there were valid backup copies [of the data], they decided to restore the system on a brand-new environment,” Ronald Lipinski of Global Business Solutions Corp., which handles data storage and backups for the practice, was quoted saying.

The attack was disruptive for the ophthalmology and optometry practice. One patient told the Business Journal that he called for an appointment and was told that it could not be set because the computer system was down.

Read more at The Business Journal

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