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Growing Eyecare Group Now Has 111 Providers, 45 Locations

It’s ‘the largest ophthalmology group in the country that remains entirely physician owned.’

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PHILADELPHIA — Vantage EyeCare LLC has announced the addition of eight providers, bringing its total to 111 practicing in 45 locations.

It has also added a new division, Phoenixville Eye Care Specialists. A 15th division with five providers is “actively planning to on-board,” according to a press release. The release describes Vantage as “the largest ophthalmology group in the country that remains entirely physician owned.”

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“Staying true to the premise that quality physicians can come together to achieve scale without giving up the ability to best serve our patients, is proving to be a model that we can pragmatically grow with confidence and conviction,” said Dr. Richard Prince, president of Vantage.

Here’s information on the new providers:

Horizon Eye Care

John McLaughlin, MD, served as chief resident at Krieger Eye Institute at Sinai Baltimore after earning a medical degree from George Washington University. His experience in residency with advanced cataract procedures and surgical improvement techniques for glaucoma patients will continue the commitment of Horizon Eye Care to staying at the forefront of eye care in the Southern New Jersey Seashore area. During his education McLaughlin was the chief clinical research assistant at Scheie Eye Institute of University of Pennsylvania on the oncology team.

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Lindsey Petsch, OD, is a recent graduate of Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University, where she earned her doctorate of optometry after having completed a bachelor of science at Widener University. Petsch adds to the team of optometrists at Horizon Eye Care with additional training in keratoconus (steep curving of the cornea). She is a longtime area resident who is eager to bring her training and experience to the patients of southern New Jersey.

Ophthalmic Partners

Brenton Finklea, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist with subspecialty training in cornea, external disease and refractive surgery. Finklea attended the University of Florida, where he was a student in the honors college, graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor of science in agricultural and biological engineering with a minor in biomechanics. During this time, he also studied music performance with emphasis on jazz saxophone. He went on to attend medical school at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Finklea was an intern at the Inova Fairfax Hospital and Georgetown University Hospitals. Residency was at the world-renowned Wills Eye Hospital, followed by a fellowship in academic global ophthalmology at Wills Eye as well. He completed his training with a fellowship in cornea, external disease and refractive Surgery at the Duke University Eye Center.

Philadelphia Eye Associates

Iga Gray, MD, joins Philadelphia Eye Associates and Wills Eye Hospital after completing her ophthalmology residency and glaucoma fellowship at the prestigious Scheie Eye Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. Gray treats a wide variety of ocular disease and specializes in the medical and surgical treatment of glaucoma and cataracts. She performs cataract surgery, traditional glaucoma surgery, minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries (MIGS) as well as a variety of laser procedures for the treatment of glaucoma.

Phoenixville Eye Care Specialists

Jamine Schecter, MD, FACS, graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Haverford College. She received her medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and completed her ophthalmology residency training at the Scheie Eye Institute of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Shechter is board-certified in ophthalmology and is a fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American College of Surgeons. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons, and is on the staff at Phoenixville Hospital and Physician’s Care Surgical Hospital.

Susan Wilton, MD, graduated from Bucknell University in 1981 with a bachelor of arts with honors. She followed that up with a MA in clinical psychology from the University of Arizona in 1985. She graduated from medical school at The Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1989 then completed her residency in ophthalmology. She is also a member of the Pennsylvania Academy of Ophthalmology and the Pennsylvania Medical Association.

Thomas Gulibon, OD, graduated magna cum laude from Saint Vincent College and from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry. Gulibon is board-certified in optometry, holds his therapeutic license, and serves as an examiner for the National Board of Examiners in Optometry. He is a member of the American Optometric Association, the Pennsylvania Optometric Association and the Bucks/Montgomery County Optometric Society. Gulibon specializes in contact lenses. He fits difficult cases with the latest technology including lenses for children, high astigmatism, presbyopia, keratoconus and competitive sports.

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Safilo Group Acquires 70% of Blenders Eyewear

Chase Fisher will remain as CEO of Blenders.

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Safilo Group announced the acquisition of a 70 percent stake in the equity of California-based Blenders Eyewear LLC.

Safilo purchased the stake from Chase Fisher, the company’s founding entrepreneur and full owner.

Launched in San Diego, Blenders Eyewear “has built an advanced e-commerce platform with unique digital and social media skills, which has achieved fast and profitable growth thanks to its world-class digital capabilities,” according to a press release. The company generates about 95 percent of its business through its proprietary direct-to-consumer e-commerce platform, more recently complemented by the opening of the first Blenders flagship store in San Diego.

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Blenders Eyewear’s products “are inspired by the California active and progressive lifestyle and offer a compelling price-to-value eyewear proposition, particularly appealing to a broad range of consumers with a focus on Millennials and Generation Z, both female and male,” according to the release.

The brand has fueled its growth through highly social marketing strategies, partnering with influencers, athletes, and lifestyle enthusiasts and arranging product collaborations.

In 2019 the company expects to reach profitable net sales of approximately $42 million, all generated in the U.S. and up around 40 percent compared to the previous year.

Angelo Trocchia, Safilo’s CEO, said: “We are thrilled to welcome to Safilo an inspiring brand like Blenders Eyewear, a fast-growing e-commerce-powered business at the forefront of the latest direct to consumer and omni-channel capabilities, which will enrich our proprietary portfolio with new strong skills and a particular focus on our key US market.”

Chase Fisher, founder and CEO of Blenders Eyewear, said: “This marks a huge step forward for Blenders and we’re excited to be part of Safilo to reach a wider marketplace. Safilo’s product know-how and global distribution capabilities are the perfect complement to our digitally native business model, opening up worldwide expansion potential. We’re on a mission to build a thriving global community that inspires people to live in forward motion.”

Safilo acquired the 70 percent controlling interest in the company, based on a total value on a cash and debt free basis  equal to $90 million. The cash consideration to be paid at closing is subject to customary price adjustments.

Fisher will retain full ownership of 30 percent of the shares and will remain CEO of Blenders Eyewear, which will continue to run out of its San Diego home.

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Sunglass Maker to Cut 295 Jobs and Close Most of Its Daytona Beach Operations

It’s being integrated into the Luxottica profile.

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Sunglass maker Costa Del Mar plans to close most of its operations in Daytona Beach, FL, with 295 jobs to be cut in the process.

The first job eliminations are set to take place on Feb. 7, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. Costa employs 350 people in Daytona Beach currently.

In a letter to state, county and city officials, the company cited “changing business needs” as the reason for its decisions.

“Certain sales and marketing functions” will remain in Daytona Beach, the newspaper reports, quoting the latter.

The layoffs will continue through the end of September.

WESH-TV reports that jobs are being moved to New York and California.

Costa was acquired by Essilor in 2014. Last year, Essilor merged with Luxottica, with the combined company being called EssilorLuxottica.

According to WESH, the company said that Costa is “an incredibly special and unique brand” and that “we see great growth potential for it in the future.”

“EssilorLuxottica’s decision to integrate Costa into the Luxottica profile will allow the brand to fully leverage on Luxottica’s strengths in everything from product innovation to manufacturing to supply chain to distribution networks, helping it reach its full potential,” the company said in the statement.

Read more at the Daytona Beach News-Journal

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Kim Kardashian Eyewear Deal to End Early Amid Disappointing Sales

The U.S. launch was a flop.

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A an agreement under which reality TV and social media star Kim Kardashian West promotes an eyewear brand is likely to end prematurely, Israeli news site Haaretz reports.

Kardashian has a two-year deal with apparel retailer Castro to tout Carolina Lemke eyewear. But discussions are underway for the deal to be cut off at the halfway point because of sluggish sales, according to Haaretz.

Kardashian was hired to boost the brand’s U.S. launch in the second quarter of 2019. Kardashian’s deal included a $6 million deal and an ownership share in Carolina Lemke USA.

But the launch was a flop, Haaretz reports. The company reportedly sold only $1 million worth of the eyewear and returned 300,000 pairs to Israel.

Castro released a statement saying: “The company’s Carolina Lemke Limited subsidiary and Ms. Kim Kardashian West are together exploring the option of adjusting the contract terms with Kim Kardashian West and the company she controls, including the matter of the period Kim Kardashian West provides her services.”

Read more at Haaretz

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