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DIFFERENTIATE… OR DIE. In this era of insane competition for vision care, it’s as simple as that. But standing apart isn’t as daunting a task as it may seem. It all starts with you. Whether you work in a Main Street storefront or a strip mall, whether you’re affiliated with a chain or you’re fiercely independent, you can make your business one of a kind. We asked the INVISION Brain Squad what they’re doing to set their businesses apart. We looked at dozens of eyecare pros’ social media feeds, as well as past issues of INVISION. We found a whole lot of inspiration to share with you here. Always remember: These ideas are just starting points. By putting your own unique personality (and that of your team members) into play — and we do mean play! — you’ll instantly make your eyecare business more memorable.

1 YOUR JOIE DE VIVRE

Every day is a good day at European Optical in Laguna Beach, CA, where Astrid Chitamun (above, left) started working alongside her father, master optician Udo Stoeckmann, as a teen. Today, she continues the family business with the help of Elizabeth Mendizibal and Colleen Hannegan, and they all clearly know how to have a good time.

2 YOUR BLOG

Dr. Andy Howard of La Follette Eye Clinic in LaFollette, TN, has a robust blog with posts on everything from vision to overall health to the rare planetary alignment that happened this winter. This is no boilerplate blog: Howard wrote one post while sitting in a hospital waiting for a friend who was having triplebypass heart surgery, using the opportunity to talk about how personal health habits can make or break our future. Each post gets extra mileage on the practice’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds.

3 YOUR PARTIES

At least once a year, think about doing something grand like Urban Optiks in San Diego, where the 2015 America’s Finest finalist throws a Raise Your Glasses gala at a swanky lounge.

4 YOUR BRANDING

The name Medford Optical doesn’t immediately help people know the specialty of Dana Cohen’s Massachusetts shop, but its URL — kidsoptical.com — makes it clear, as does the “We Love Kids” sign in his front window. (Cohen also snagged the Massachusetts toll-free number, 1-800-OPTICIAN). In Florida, Daniel Amyx owns both Hillmoor Optical and Treasure Coast Optical. “We wanted to tie them together with a single website, which would also save us time and money as well,” he says. Amyx and his wife, Lara, occasionally drive to Key West to recharge their batteries, both personally and professionally. It was during one of those trips, margaritas in hand, that they came up with the perfect URL: myfavoriteoptical.com. Let that be a lesson to you. Get away for a weekend more often.

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5 YOUR POP-UPS

Gosgosha Optique in Los Angeles, CA, had a pop-up shop with a neighboring plant shop just before Christmas last year. Says owner Julia Gogosha, it was part of ongoing crosspromotions “to feature people who are knowledgable in their own fields that complement our own.”

6 YOUR ABOUT US PAGE

This too-often-neglected website page is actually the perfect online showcase for sharing your staff’s personality. For example, we love how at optixgallery. com, each staff member of McCulley Optix Gallery shares a favorite frozen yogurt flavor and toppings — yes, even in Fargo, even in winter! — as well as how they like to spend a rainy day. At eyeshopoptical. com, Dr. Cynthia Sayers confesses her love for 1980s rocker Bryan Adams.

7 YOUR NAME

It’s one of the first decisions you make when you go into business, or when you re-brand, and it’s one of the best ways to capture your personality and target market. Some of our favorites include Eye Candy (we know of at least three indie shops in the U.S. with this name, including those in Delafield, WI; McMurray, PA; and Westlake, OH); Glasses Menagerie in Minneapolis, MN; Silver Lining Opticians in New York, NY; and Goo Goo Goggles in Victoria, BC, Canada.

8 YOUR HISTORY

If you’ve been in business more than a few decades, your shop’s history is one worth sharing: in displays on your walls, on your social media feeds and on your website. A great example of this: the website for Jackson Davenport Vision Center in Charleston, SC, where a multimedia “Our History” page recounts highlights like having the first African American optician in South Carolina on staff and surviving Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

9 YOUR PETS

A friendly animal is one way to make people feel welcome at your business. At Eye Impact in Houston, TX, Chloe, a dog rescued by Dr. Gary Nguyen, serves as an ambassador to the neighborhood, where everyone seems to have at least one dog. If it’s not feasible to have a dog, consider a fish tank like they have at Eye-C-You Optometry in Riverside, CA.

10 YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY

What is the single best way to make a better impression on would-be patients and customers? Hire a professional photographer to get great photos of your business and your staff. If a photo shoot isn’t in the budget, maybe you can barter an eye exam, frames and lens package to your favorite local newspaper photographer. (Trust us. Talented but modestly paid photojournalists would love a deal like that.)

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11 YOUR GOOD MANNERS

Clients of Ulla Eyewear in Madison, WI, get showered with thanks, including a custom-made card featuring caricatures of the staff and a box of handmade confections from Infusion Chocolates, a neighbor in the Hilldale Shopping Center. At Eye Candy in Delafield, WI, people get M&Ms imprinted with the business’s name.

12 YOUR WINDOWS

Modern Eye of Philadelphia, PA, has mastered the art of window displays that make passers-by do a double take, often featuring the business’ signature eyeball people. Last spring, the window of Modern Eye’s University City shop featured three putti frolicking amid flowers. At Christmas, Santa and Mrs. Claus were the star attractions. (See a video at invmag.us/modeye.)

13 YOUR ARTWORK

In Portland, OR, an art curator stops by each month to put new paintings on Optik PDX’s walls in time for second Thursday art walks. At Oakland Vision Optometry in Oakland, CA, Dr. Tanya Gill curates everything from display backdrops to works by local artists.

14 YOUR PURPLE COW

This is Seth Godin’s term for something that makes your business remarkable. He came up with it after his family went on vacation in France and saw “hundreds of storybook cows grazing in lovely pastures right next to the road. For dozens of kilometers, we all gazed out the window, marveling at the beauty. Then, within a few minutes, we started ignoring the cows.” This article is full of purple cows, but if you’d like to read more from Godin on how to identify yours, see invmag.us/purple.

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15 YOUR GREEN SCREEN

Eye Candy Optical in Westlake, OH, makes every customer a rock star with portraits taken in front of a green screen, then posted on the shop’s Facebook feed with the motto, “Be who you want to be at Eye Candy Optical.”

16 YOUR DECOR

Elle Tatum of Elle’s Island Spectacle has a French fling going at her Bainbridge Island, WA, shop. The Parisian vintage vibe includes a red chandelier and an over-the-top bejeweled tutu atop a three-tiered marble table.

17 YOUR FAMILY

Dr. Ted McElroy of Vision Source-Tifton in Tifton, GA, tells how he once bought “infotainment” software for the exam room to help patients pass the time while they waited for him. But he couldn’t get around to loading it and finally just put in a thumb drive of family pictures. Patients immediately started asking, “Are those your kids?” or “Where did you go on that trip where the mountains are?” or “I see you’ve been to Disney. When did you go last?” Adds McElroy, “I knew the infotainment software was not getting a renewal. I now have guests who regularly ask about my family when I see them in our small town, and they tell whoever is around them about the pictures they saw on my computer while in the exam room. My good friend and idol, Dr. April Jasper of West Palm Peach, FL, says you will always get more connection to people you take care of if they see who you are outside the office than what you can do for them while you’re in your office. She puts pictures of her family everywhere and gets the same results.”

18 YOUR MOTTO

Dr. Tanya Gill of Oakland Vision Center Optometry in Oakland, CA, says the shop’s motto, We Love Eyes, “is not just a cute phrase to sell glasses” or win the 2015 America’s Finest Optical Retailers competition. It’s a bold declaration of intent — not to mention great branding — that appears everywhere from the business’s front window to the inner temples of the shop’s private-label frames to a line of natural eyecare products the entrepreneurial Gill launched in 2015. Oh yes, it’s a hashtag on more than 1,800 Instagram posts, too.

19 YOUR BEACH

OK, not everyone can pull this one off, but there’s a sandy floor at Optical Oasis in Jupiter, FL. In fact, the whole place looks like the beach-town optical shop it is, with a waterfall, a tiki hut to house the sunglasses and more. “I wanted my shop to be memorable and unique,” says owner Julie Uram. “It’s cozy and casual. My mom and I did feng shui in the shop, and I bless it regularly. Only good chi at Optical Oasis.”

20 YOUR MASCOT

Who is that blue man climbing out the window of Blink Eye Care and Eye Wear in Charlotte, NC? “That is Mr. Big, our practice mascot,” says Dr. Charlene Henderson, who found a similar character for a store in Serbia while researching designs for the business’s cold opening in 2009. She contacted the designer and found a local sign maker to manufacture the characters. “We like to think we have an optical that steps outside of the box, just like Mr. Big,” Henderson says. “He is bright, fun and marches to his own beat.” The character also pops up everywhere from Blink’s website to displays throughout the shop.

21 YOUR LAB

A lab is a lab is a lab — unless you’re in one of the nation’s largest shopping malls and you put a window into your lab so everyone walking by can see just how finely tuned Rx eyewear actually gets made. That’s what they’ve done at Vitra Eyewear in Costa Mesa, CA. Read more about this new shop in our Best of the Best story on page 72.

22 YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE

Facebook remains the top dog among social media sites, and it’s an increasingly important way people search for businesses, too. Some eyecare businesses even use Facebook as their main home online, bypassing a website for a public Facebook page, like that of Park Slope Eye (parkslopeeye.com), which forwards to Facebook. There, people can book an exam, learn about Ortho-K, or even see listings for upcoming local events via shared posts from neighborhood news site Park Slope Stoop.

23 YOUR GREEN CRED

Maybe you walk or ride your bike to work. Maybe you’ve created a line of Earth-friendly eyewear, like Optik PDX did with five OH three, made of wood from the old stadium bleachers at Lewis and Clark College. Whatever you’re doing to make every day Earth Day, let people know about it.

24 YOUR GOOGLE ID

“When I started working here, every time I logged onto the practice email account, Google would harass me to choose a photo for the account,” says Leslie Boyd, practice manager of Village Eye Care Optometry in Raleigh, NC. She finally relented and made the photo a high fashion model with some really cool frames. But Dr. Chris Bateman didn’t like it and said he didn’t want people to think he was a woman, so Boyd changed the pic to a male model with cool frames on. “Dr. Bateman said that was misleading and he didn’t want the patients to be disappointed when they found out he didn’t really look like that. He told me to change it to ‘George Clooney or something,’ so people would know it obviously wasn’t him,” Boyd recalls. So next, Boyd picked a Groucho Marxstyle glasses and nose. It took the doctor a while to notice, “and I had completely forgotten about it when one day I heard him yelling from his office, ‘Leslie! That is not George Clooney!’ He told me to change it back, but here we are a year and a half later and it’s still up there.” And email recipients smile every time they see it.

25 YOUR GIVEAWAYS

At Eyes on Fremont in Seattle, WA, winner of the 2014 America’s Finest competition, they have all sorts of unusual and fun giveaways you don’t see at the typical optical shop, from free pins dispensed from a bubble gum-style vending machine to stickers , beer koozies and snapback caps, all bearing the shop’s “Fight Evil” motto.

26 YOUR PASSIONS

“I am a hobby photographer, so I decorated the office with my own photographs,” says Dr. Selina McGee of Precision Vision in Edmond and Midwest City, OK. “I am a Master Gardener and love fresh flowers, so we have a fresh delivery every Monday from a local florist (who is our patient, too) to start our week off brightly. I like farmhouse, eclectic, shabby chic decor so there are no frame boards in our office, only white bright floating shelves.”

27 YOUR CURB APPEAL

Erker’s Fine Eyewear’s flagship location in downtown St. Louis has red awnings you can see from way down the street. Artsee Eyewear in Manhattan’s Battery Park City has streetside windows that draw passers-by into the store’s chic interior.

28 YOUR THEME SONG

Says Julie Uram of Optical Oasis in Jupiter, FL, “I advertise on my hometown radio station. It’s not a big station, so the cost is not like a big station.” Customers come in all the time to tell Uram they heard her ad, “which I do the voiceover for. It’s really fun. And at the end of my ad, the song Midnight at the Oasis plays, which fits perfect because my shop is called Optical Oasis.”

29 YOUR SNACKS

Aim for a mix of savory and sweet, like they do at Lynn Valley Optometry in North Vancouver, BC. Fresh fruit and bottled water (or an eco-friendly water cooler) help people make healthy choices, too. But don’t forget: Everyone needs a little indulgence once in a while. So every Friday is “Dessert Friday” at EyeShop Optical Center in Ohio. “No store-bought treats here. Home-baked goods by the doc herself,” says Dr. Cynthia Sayers. And at Specs Around Town in Bloomington, IL, trays of truffles greeted customers for a pre-Valentine’s Tour de Chocolat fashion, music and art event.

30 YOUR LIVING ROOM

With a sofa from Restoration Hardware, midcentury-look leather chairs from Crate & Barrel and a one-ofa- kind rug from the Dallas Design District, Glass Optical in Dallas, TX, exudes a lounge-like vibe. Forget the waiting room; it’s time to give your patients and customers a place to relax and socialize. (The shop hosted its grand opening party with a neighbor, Spinster Records.)

31 YOUR SPA

At EyeBar in Houston, TX, Dr. Sheena Garner offers complimentary makeup sessions with every eye exam, along with eyebrow waxing, lash and brow extensions, and other pampering pluses. (See our America’s Finest feature on page 74.)

32 YOUR MOBILE BILLBOARD

Medford Optical in Massachusetts drives new business its way with a Honda Element colorfully shrink-wrapped to spotlight the shop’s focus on children. And because owner Dana Cohen is usually in his shop fitting glasses all day, the vehicle actually belongs to an art therapist friend who spends his work hours driving to and from appointments all over town.

33 YOUR GOOD SCENTS

At Lynn Valley Optometry in North Vancouver, BC, light citrus aromas from an essential oils nebulizer have replaced a scent machine. Your customers with allergies will thank you for going natural.

34 YOUR NETWORKING

Make yourself an inescapable presence in your community. “I do a lot of outside activities away from the business to keep our name out there,” says Kathy Maren of Combs EyeCare and EyeWear in Western Springs, IL. You’ll see her everywhere from the local Lions Club (always a great choice for ECPs, with its sight-saving programs) to volunteering at a women’s shelter, staying active in the local business association and serving on the board of a nonprofit.

35 YOUR DISPLAYS

Santa Fe Optical (below) had fun with Vinylize, the eyewear made from recycled records. We also love what super-creative optician Tamara Walker does with the displays at Eyepolis in Homestead, PA, using everything from family photos to antique fair finds to showcase the shop’s offbeat frames.

36 YOUR BARISTAS

In St. Paul, MN, Northwest Opticians shares its prime downtown corner location with a branch of the locally popular Dunn Bros. Coffee chain. People can grab their favorite coffee beverage, then browse the frame offerings seven days a week.

37 YOUR AIRSTREAM

Alissa Fields of Eye Spy Optical in Chicago, IL, owns an Airstream trailer. Of course, its name is Iris. Better yet, the trailer has its own hashtag for Instagram, #iristheairstream.

38 YOUR MOBILE DISPENSARY

Andes Optical is located several miles from the center of action in Knoxville, TN, so owner Faith Andes McDaniel decided to outfit a red Mini Cooper as a mobile eyewear showroom. Will Taylor of Eye 2 Eye Contact in Detroit, MI, also works out of his vehicle, noting, “I go to clients’ homes, place of business and coffee shops to meet up with them.”

39 YOUR DJ

Patients at the Union, NJ, office of Dr. Dawn Arnold are always asking office manager Tuli Santiago what music they’re hearing. It’s actually DJ Tuli, who builds sets based on the people who are on the schedule that day. “They are super happy when I just email them the link to a set and they can enjoy it at home,” she adds.

40 YOUR INSTAGRAM

The popular social media site is a great way to show your business’s personality. With its photocentric and largely ad-free layout, people enjoy scrolling through their Instagram feeds, and it’s an excellent place to highlight everything from happy customers with their glasses to the amazing hors d’oeuvres you’ve just put out for your trunk show.

41 YOUR TIARAS

Every Tuesday is Tiara Tuesday at Eyepolis in Homestead, PA. The tradition began since the shop is usually slower that day, when Dr. Viki Christopoulos is often in surgery. “It lightens everything up,” says Michelle Singer, who started the tradition — and who will show you her tiara on a day other than Tuesday, too, if you ask nicely.

42 YOUR HOLIDAY SPIRIT

Every December, Jeff Grosekemper at Casa de Oro Eyecare in Spring Valley, CA, brings out Santa and his team of Hush Puppies. Grosekemper explains that in the late 1990s, Kenmark was looking for the best store display for Christmas, so Kenmark rep Mark Argusa and his wife, Robin, made the sleigh team and Grosekemper featured it at the office where he worked at the time. “Every year, I bring out the team and the patients love it and bring family members by just to see the team,” Grosekemper says, adding that the 2015 display had special meaning since Argusa had passed away last year. “I’ve been offered money for the pups but won’t give them up. They’re one of a kind.”

43 YOUR SPECIAL EVENTS

“We like to do events with our patients,” says Tuli Santiago at Dr. Dawn Arnold’s office. Last year, a team of 10 people signed up for a mud run. A country line-dancing event was another hit.

44 YOUR LIBATIONS

On an everyday basis, you want to offer a selection of beverages to show customers you care, whether it’s water, herbal tea or — perhaps for a happy hour on the evening you stay open — a glass of wine. Special events call for an extra-special beverage, like the “Eye Can See Clearly Now Cosmo” custom cocktail that Urban Optiks offered at its Raise Your Glasses fundraising gala in San Diego, CA, or the beer from a local German-style brewery that they had on draft for the 10th anniversary Oktoberfest celebration at Look + See Eye Care in Minneapolis, MN.

45 YOUR VOICEMAIL GREETING

Scott Ginsberg, aka The Nametag Guy, suggests asking a specific question as part of the message — for example, “What’s your favorite pizza topping?” It encourages people to leave a response, and it definitely sets you apart.

46 YOUR MUSIC

At Whitaker Eye Works in Wayne, PA, they have in-store guitar lessons and a regular 4 o’clock dance party with funky music. “Stacey and I — and sometimes customers — boogie,” says Steve Whitaker. “Never forget to boogie.”

47 YOUR CLEANING CLOTH

With its tie-dye swirls, the cleaning cloth at Eyes & Optics in Las Vegas perfectly captures the shop’s rock ’n’ roll vibe, while doing double duty as a handy eyewear accessory and a reminder to clients of where they got their groovy glasses.

48 YOUR TREND SAVVINESS

At Wood Vision Clinic in Parkersburg and Iowa Falls, IA, they’re always on the alert for great interactive campaigns. In February, for example, they held a “So you think you can color?” contest to capitalize on the adult coloring craze. Here’s the beauty part: People had to come in to the office to pick up their coloring sheet.

49 YOUR ACCOLADES

If you’ve got ’em, flaunt ’em. Whether it’s a local “Best of” honor or placing in INVISION’s annual America’s Finest Optical Retailers contest, don’t keep your honors to yourself. LaFollette Eye Clinic in Tennessee had a big America’s Finest logo made for its front door. Art of Optiks in Wayzata, MN, celebrates its 2015 America’s Finest showing on a beautifully designed website. And Sonoma Eyeworks in Santa Rosa, CA, has an entire web page full of the local and national recognition it has seen.

50 YOUR FLOWERS

Optik PDX in Portland, OR, regularly gets fresh flower deliveries from Emerald Petals, a nearby eco-florist on Mississippi Avenue.

Julie Fanselow was the original editor-in-chief of INVISION magazine and now contributes to the publication.

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When You’re Passionate About Eye Care, the Right Technology Matters

Lisa Genovese, O.D., strives to give her patients the very best. At Insight Eye Care’s multiple locations, Dr. Genovese provides optimal care for her patients using the Reichert® Phoroptor® VRx Digital Refraction System. In this second Practice Profile Video from Reichert’s “Passionate About Eye Care” series, take a closer look and see how this eye care professional achieved a better work-life balance with equipment that’s designed and engineered in the U.S.A.

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Here’s How Eyecare Pros Are Spending Their Advertising Budgets

The pie is getting sliced ever more finely.

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IN INVISION’S FIRST annual Big Survey, we asked more than 500 ECPs which medium accounts for the biggest chunk of their ad and marketing spending. Print is still on top, but the marketing budget pie is getting sliced ever more finely — and nearly 1 in 5 ECPs claim to be passing on the plate all together.

Which gets the largest portion of your marketing budget?

Print
13%
Community events (including sponsorships)
12%
Direct mail
10%
Other social media marketing
8%
Paid search (PPC, Google Ads, etc.)
7%
Facebook
7%
Email marketing
7%
Radio
5%
SEO
5%
Television
2%
Billboards
2%
Other
3%
Don’t advertise
19%

 

Looking at the above results, it’s seems likely the 19 percent of ECPs who said they don’t advertise are relying on word of mouth to sustain their business. Still, it appears to pay to be more active: 25 percent of the ECPs who told the Big Survey the last two years had been their worst ever also don’t advertise. That compares to just 14 percent of those who said those years had been their best ever. Also worth considering: In a separate question, we asked ECPs to name the most significant thing they were doing to drive sales five years ago that they’ve stopped doing. The top answer? You guessed it—advertising in traditional media. Check out the survey to see how your spending fits in to this complex picture.

The 2019 Big Survey was conducted from August to October and attracted responses from more than 500 American ECPs. Look out for the full results in the November/December issue of INVISION.

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Best of Eyecare

The Big Survey 2019 – The Basics

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THE BIG SURVEY 2019

Who is the American ECP? How does he or she do business? What are the main challenges they face? Our inaugural Big Survey set out to find the answers and 505 owners and managers of American vision businesses answered our call. Here are the results.

The Basics

We find it’s always best to start at the beginning … the basic stuff that makes up so much of your business’ identity. The Who, What, How and Where are all here; we’ll get into the fun stuff — like how much and what’s selling ­— later on.

1. Need to swing on chandeliers? Head to Missouri: 60 percent of stores have these fixtures.
2. They don’t take kindly to strangers asking questions in South Dakota. It, along with Louisiana and New Mexico, were the only states not to be represented in our survey.
3. Michigan ECPs are some of the hardest working in the industry: 25 percent work more than 50 hours a week.
4. Eyewear trend capital? That might just be New York where 21 percent of ECPs thought of themselves as being primarily in the fashion business (as opposed to health or retail), the highest level in the land.
5. Move over Austin. Connecticut was tops for self-declared weirdness with ECPs there giving themselves an average score of 8.2 out of 10 on our oddball scale.
6. Ohio ECPs have been listening to our sales experts – 44 percent use role-playing in training staff.
7. Florida had the most male owners and managers in our survey at 76 percent. Washington state had the most female owners at 86 percent.
8. Is there something in the water in the Midwest? ECPs in a band of states from Illinois to Ohio to Missouri were the happiest vision professionals (along with their cousins in NJ), with half or more (50-57%) ranking themselves 9 or higher out of 10 for professional satisfaction.
9. North Carolina vision businesses have among the highest turnover rates in the country, with 72 percent saying their staff stay less than 4 years.
10. Californian ECPs were the least likely to own their places of business with 82 percent renting. Must have been those pesky legal limitations…
11. Kansans were most likely to be open on Sunday with one in four stores and practices open on this traditional “rest” day.

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1. How many locations does your business have?

One
74%
Two
13%
Three to five
8%
Six or more
5%

2. Please indicate the type of location that houses your store:

Free-standing building
43%
A strip mall
22%
Business park or office building
16%
Downtown storefront
9%
Lifestyle center
3%
In a hospital/medical wing/health center
3%
The Internet
1%
Mobile practice
1%
A mall
1%
Other
2%

3. Do you own or rent your business property?

Own
39%
Rent
62%
NA (For online and mobile only businesses)
2%
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4. How well are things going in your business this year?

COMMENT: As our heat map shows, there’s very little to be blue about for an ECP right now. Note that white indicates states with statistically invalid responses. Figures in parentheses represent the number of survey responses.

5. How would you describe the market where your store is located?

Large city
15%
Medium-sized city (250,000-1 million people)
24%
Small city (25,000 to 250,000)
29%
Country town (up to 25,000)
13%
Resort area
1%
Other
1%

6. How long has your business been in operation?

COMMENT: Businesses that have been in operation for 11-20 years seem to be this survey’s sweet spot. Not only did they slightly edge out other lengths of time in business, as seen above, but those in business for that long also reported the highest proportion of revenue between $500K-$1.5M (50%).
Wondering what the rest of this group’s demos looked like? Well, 59 percent classified themselves as a private practice with a strong focus on retail, 49 percent were in the South and 39 percent operated out of a freestanding building in a small city or suburb. Forty-five percent of owners in business for that long reported salaries over $100,000 and, best of all, the majority reported their satisfaction with their professional life at an 8 or higher (66%).

7. Which description of your business do you most closely identify with?

Hospital or VA setting
1%
Medical model private practice, no retail
1%
Medical model private practice, small dispensarybuilding
22%
Private practice, strong focus on retail
53%
Corporate optometry location
3%
Eyewear boutique, employed or leased OD
10%
Eyewear boutique, no OD
9%
Mobile optician
1%

8. How big is your (main) location?

Less than 500 sq. ft.
4%
500-999 sq. ft.
10%
1,000-1,499 sq. ft.
24%
1,500-1,999 sq. ft.
17%
2,000-2,499 sq. ft.
15%
2,500-2,999 sq. ft.
11%
3,000-3,999 sq. ft.
8%
4,000-5,000 sq. ft.
6%
More than 5,000 sq. ft.
5%

9. Check the paid services you offer:

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Best of Eyecare

25 ECPs Share Their Elevator Pitches

25 ECPs put who they are and what they do for a living in a sentence or two… or three.

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OK… You’ve slipped into the elevator just as the doors are closing. The woman on your left is wearing poorly fitting frames that are totally wrong for her. The gentleman to your right is squinting as he tries to find the button for his floor. You sense a golden opportunity, but the floors are already ticking by. You’ve got until those doors open again to tell these potential clients what you do and how you can help them. It’s time to dust off your “elevator pitch.” Our Brain Squad members are rarely at a loss for a few well-chosen words, so we asked them their best pitches. Here’s what they had to say to those future customers and patients on the subject of… you.

Hi, My name is Diana Canto Sims. I am an eyeball doctor turned eyewear designer for the diverse and the bold. What do you do? — Diana Sims, Buena Vista Optical, Chicago, IL

We help you create a look that is as unique as you are. — Doreen Erbe, Snyder Eye Group, Ship Bottom, NJ

I create complete custom eyewear by hand in Glenview. This includes the frames as well as the lenses. — Kevin Count, Prentice Lab, Glenview, IL

I am the owner and doctor at an eyecare office focused on pampering our patients.  — Nytarsha Thomas, OD, Visionelle Eyecare, Zionsville, IN

I can easily knock 10 years off your look and I promise people will notice! — Jennifer Leuzzi, Mill Creek Optical, Dansville, NY

We sell unique eyewear from all over the world.” (Then give a few specific examples of exotic materials. However, never oversell or seem pushy. Just plant the seed!!!)”  — Scott Keating, OD, Vision Trends, Dover, OH

You know the eyes are the windows to the soul right? Sometimes the windows cannot see; I help with that. I am an optometrist.” — Selina McGee, OD, Precision Vision, Edmond, OK

I refine one of your five senses. I give you vision and insight into your health, with a twist of style, all while having a good time in the process. — Cynthia Sayers, OD, EyeShop Optical Center, Lewis Center, OH

I explain that I run a practice for an eye doctor and that our goal is to make sure each patient sees well and is educated on the products and materials we wear ourselves. — Amy Pelak, Proview Eyecare Optometry, Corona, CA

I help people love their new eyewear, and owning 31 pairs of glasses and sunwear, I know I can find the right pair for you. — Kathy Maren Comb EyeCare & Eyewear, Western Springs, IL

I talk about the unique things our practice offers like sensory and vision therapy. We carry a variety of frames for the whole family. From durable kids, to the fun and funky for mom and dad. We’re not your average eye doctor.” Heather Nagucki, Brodie Optometry, Perrysburg, OH

I compliment someone on their glasses. I may ask them where they got them and always say something nice about their doctor or optician. I know everyone in town after 50 years in Sacramento. If the patient discusses a bad experience then I drop a business card.”  — Texas L. Smith, OD, Dr. Texas L. Smith & Associates, Citrus Heights, CA

I help people see and look better.  — Jason Stamper Eye Care Pavilion, Davenport, IA

I tell them I try not to look like an optometrist! — Dave Schultz, OD, Urban Optics, San Luis Obispo, CA

When I meet people I always try to tell them I’m like a pharmacist for your eyeglasses. — Bob Schmittou, New Eyes Optical, Wyandotte, MI

I’m an optician. Once the eye doctor is done with you I will help you with any optical needs whether glasses or contacts. Basically, I make you look good! — Scott Felten, Fox Valley Family Eye Care, Little Chute, WI

We get to help people see to their fullest potential. It’s the best job in the world! — Caitlin Bruno, Binyon Vision Center, Bellingham, WA

I’m like a pharmacist. I fill the prescription written by the doctor. But in Michigan, your optician doesn’t have to have a license the way your pharmacist does. That’s why there are so many people walking around in ugly glasses that can’t see.  — Dave Goodrich, Goodrich Optical, Lansing, MI

I bend light for a living. — Jon LaShorne, Kirkpatrick Eye Care, Madison, IN

I frame the windows to your soul with beauty. — Frances Ann Layton, Eye Associates of South Georgia, Valdosta, GA

I have no elevator pitch. I just let people know why I love doing what I do.” — Pablo E. Mercado, Mount Vernon Eyecare, Dunwoody, GA

Nice glasses! I bet they cost you a fortune. I’m an optician. Here’s my card. Next time you’re in the market for a new pair, give me a call and I’ll save you money.” — Mitchell Kaufman, Marine Park Family Vision, Brooklyn, NY

Everyone knows what a pharmacist does … so I equate my career as a licensed optician to that. I take a prescription from a doctor and I interpret that prescription. I advise and educate the patient on how to use the prescription written. I generate a product from that prescription and then dispense that prescription as a piece of medical equipment.”  — William Chancellor, Eye Can See Eyewear, McDonough, GA

We help people see the important things in life.” — John Marvin, Texas State Optical Inc., Houston, TX

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