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The Brain Squad Shares Its Take on Industry Trade Shows

Many see these as a cost (and a perk) of doing business.

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In a few words, tell us why it is useful to attend industry trade shows…
  • They are useful for team building and getting our staff excited about new products and technology. But some of the education is redundant and the speakers are sometimes lacking useful knowledge. — Barbara Bloom, OD, Weber Vision Care, Harrisburg, PA
  • I think industry trade shows are great. But, we haven’t been for quite a while. Our reps come see us regularly. We like our equipment, our EHR, our frame lines. If that were to change, a trade show would definitely be worth it! — Jenna Gilbertson, McCulley Optix Gallery, Fargo, ND
  • Only to see smaller vendors who don’t have full sales reps. — Maxine Kobley, Metrovision, Carle Place, NY
  • Best way to see small independent frame lines who are often using cutting edge materials and technology. — Andrea Salmond, The Gaze Group, Healdsburg, CA
  • I love them. I wish SECO’s Marketplace was bigger. I always learn a lot and come back with renewed passion for the industry. — Michelle Wright, DePoe Eye Center, Sharpsburg, GA
  • I like to attend the larger conventions every few years to see what’s new in the industry and to meet colleagues from across the country. — Amina Ebrahim, OD, D Vision Eyecare, Allen, TX
  • While I like trade shows, I feel like Expo has become a behemoth that may benefit from restructuring. — Nikki Griffin, EyeStyles Optical and Boutique, Oakdale, MN
  • We find the larger trade shows are worth it if we are looking to add new frame lines. Otherwise, no. — Stephanie Kuhn, Optique Vision Center, Yukon, OK
  • I think it should be a mandatory event for all opticians, if only for the seeing beyond what you deal with in your day to day; to see what is out there in terms of frames, lenses, technologies, equipment; and to mingle with colleagues. — Pablo E Mercado, The Eye Gallery, Woodstock, GA
  • I used to look forward to Vision Expo. But it’s changed. There’s nothing unique about it anymore. I can see new styles from my reps rather than spend a day walking the floor.  — Mitchell Kaufman, Marine Park Family Vision, Brooklyn, NY
  • Seems they are losing vendors and that cannot be good.  — William Chancellor, Eye Can See Eyewear, McDonough, GA
  • For us, no. It is a very long day and we usually only see the vendors who we deal with anyway. — Candy Crone, Wayne Optical, York, PA
  • Love the NY show. I never go to Vegas. I can’t stand Vegas with a passion. I love the show because it allows me to get a lot done in a weekend and build relationships. This year, I am taking my store manager and giving her a trip to NYC! The cost is all part of owning the business and being up to date in fashion.  — Nancy Revis, Uber Optics, Petaluma, CA
  • I would still enjoy trade shows but the cost of travel keeps me from going as often as I would like. — Monica Tracey, MED/Drs. Record and Record, Charlottesville, VA
  • I wish they had more Pop Up events across the country; something more boutique-like and streamlined. — Amanda Barber, Desmone Family Eyecare, Havelock, NC
  • It is nice to  ‘touch’ and see all the different options for equipment, but for me I can do CE closer and for less money. — Jeff Hayden, Vision Care Center, Brighton, MI
  • Not really. Reps from many companies come to us. We also rely on the Internet, industry publications, and our current reps to keep us up-to-date on products and trends. Trade shows are a lot of work and expensive. — Diana Fleetman, The Optical @50th & France, Edina, MN
  • Nope, waste of time. — Greg Kyser, Gallery of Eyewear, Marysville, WA    
 

What’s the Brain Squad?

  • If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. eyecare business serving the public, you’re invited to join the INVISION Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting eyecare professionals. Good deal, right? Sign up here.
  • Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 21 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at editor@invisionmag.com.

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    Buzz Session

    From Travel to Exercise to Alcohol, ECPs Recharge in Diverse Ways

    How do you regain your momentum?

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    • Work out. — Steve Whitaker, Whitaker Eye Works, Wayne, PA
    • I unwind and recharge with Pilates and girls brunch. — Leah Johnson, Central Texas Eye Center, San Marcos, TX
    • Beach!— Paula Hornbeck, Eye Candy & Eye Candy Kids, Delafield, WI
    • Ride my bike or go to the gym in the early mornings before work, listen to podcasts throughout the day, sit down for a great meal with my wife after work.— Ted McElroy, OD, Vision Source Tifton, Tifton, GA
    • Listening to INVISION’s podcast. — Josh Bladh, Dr. Bladh OD, Diamond Bar, CA
    • Motorcycle camping. — Dave Goodrich, Goodrich Optical, Lansing, MI
    • Drink Scotch. — Richard Kemerling, Margolis Vision, Castle Rock, CO
    • Golf. — Rick Rickgauer, Vision Associates, Girard, PA
    • When it comes to recharging as an optician, a good optical challenge between our owner (LDO), lab manager (LDO), and myself (LDO). We press each other and create situations that force us to get our heads back in the books. This happens weekly sometimes. — William Chancellor, Eye Can See Eyewear, McDonough, GA
    • We spend time off at an old farm that we own in rural West Virginia. It’s so peaceful; no sign of neighbors and only about ten cars drive by a day. — Barbara Bloom, OD, Weber Vision Care, Harrisburg, PA
    • Go to the mountains or to the beach for a long weekend. — Laura Wright, Upstate Eyecare, Greenville, SC
    • CALM meditation app on my iPhone. — Vlad Cordero, Focus Eye Care PC, Hackensack, NJ
    • Did someone say Happy Hour?!? — Meredith Hall, Miller Family Eye, Cedar Rapids, IA
    • I just came back after a weekend with girlfriends. We rented a cabin, drank some adult beverages, took naps, and talked about husbands, work, kids, family, and life. I came back on Monday ready to get organized and tackle my mounting to-do list. I feel better about this than I have in ages! — Jenna Gilbertson, McCulley Optix Gallery, Fargo, ND
    • Rock concerts. — Steve Nelson, Eye Candy Optical, Westlake, OH
    • Travel and music. — Pablo E Mercado, Mount Vernon Eyecare, Dunwoody, GA
    • I need to figure that out. — Zachary Dirks, OD, St. Peter and Belle Plaine Eyecare Centers, Saint Peter, MN
    • I spend time with family or friends who are not in this field. I go to the beach to seaglass and beach comb. — Doreen Erbe, Snyder Eye Group, Ship Bottom, NJ
    • Go to CE. — Cedric Mitsui, OD, Big Island Vision Center, Hilo, HI
    • Desert in the winter, beach in the summer. — Amy Pelak, Proview Eyecare Optometry, Corona, CA
    • I play World of Warcraft with my friends. It’s relaxing but still stimulates the brain. — Frances Ann Layton, Eye Associates of South GA, Valdosta, GA
    • Sleep. — Leisa Lauer, Dr. H Michael Shack, Newport Beach, FL
    • Vacay! — Cynthia Sayers, OD, EyeShop Optical Center, Lewis Center, OH
    • Sleep, sleep and more sleep. — Jill Sweig, OD, Oyster Bay Optics, Oyster Bay, NY
    • Beer festival, dancing at a 70’s/80’s club — shout out to Johnny’s Hideaway! Atlanta natives of a certain age will know this place. — Tom Brillante, OD, Decatur Eye Care, Decatur, GA
    • At work, when I need a quick, 5-min recharge, I run receipts reports or restock inventory. I find repetitive patterns and reassuring numbers are great for self-soothing! Off work: hiking, mountain biking, reading, eating at our great local restaurants, and snuggling O’Malley the Alley Cat. — Jen Heller, Pend Oreille Vision Care, Sandpoint, ID
    • Just got back from two weeks fishing in the Amazon. That was a pretty good recharge. I find working a three day week gives me a pretty good recharge each week, but office stays open five days. — Texas L. Smith, OD, Dr. Texas L. Smith & Associates, Citrus Heights, CA
    • Over the weekend, go driving. — BJ Chamber, Carrera Optical, McQueeney, TX
    • Exercise. — Kaleena Ma, MK Vision Center, Forest Hills, NY
    • My artwork and my writing for fandemoniumnetwork.com. — Angel Miller, Cynthiana Vision Center, Cynthiana, KY
    • Bicycling. — Fred Sirotkin, OD, Eagle Eye Care, Columbia, MD
    • Fresh air! — Candy Crone, Wayne Optical, York, PA
    • Trade shows like Vision Expo always tend to give us a little boost of motivation when we get back. — Travis LeFevre, Krystal Vision, Logan, UT
    • Woodworking; repurposing headboards to benches among other things. — Scott Felten, Fox Valley Family Eye Care, Little Chute, WI
    • I travel. Whether it’s a big trip or just a weekend getaway, getting out of my normal zone helps recharge. Also, some spa time is also a big help. — Christine Howard, Attleboro Vision Care, Attleboro, MA
    • Drink beer! IPA preferably. — Dave Schultz, OD, Urban Optics, San Luis Obispo, CA
    • It’s nice to get away from the business but for me I love working and luckily, I work in an area of the country that a lot of people come to visit so it’s kind of like we’re always on vacation… just being back recharges me from time off. — Julie Uram, Optical Oasis, Jupiter, FL
    • Family! — Pam Peters, Midwest Eye, Downers Grove, IL
    • I start with a very serious discussion with myself. I consider the facts, why things are not going as planned, if there is a rotten apple causing discord, what caused situation and then what actions I need to take. The next step is to plan and prepare a meeting to address the issues at hand. This usually recharges me, giving a positive attitude. I believe no situation is hopeless, and something can always be done. Right or wrong, you keep moving forward and don’t give up. One of Murphy’s Laws states “left alone things go from bad to worse.” — Pam Housle, Texas State Optical of Nederland, Port Arthur, TX
    • Caribbean vacation. — Brian Finley, Island Opticians LLC, Palm Beach, FL
    • Eating apples! They always give me a burst of energy. — Jade Kowalic, Rophie Eye Care, Dunedin, FL
    • Take a week off and go anywhere.— Sandy Slang, Ophthalmology Associates, Cudahy, WI
    • Lock the doors and try on glasses for an hour! Nothing is more fun!— Jennifer Leuzzi, Mill Creek Optical, Dansville, NY
    • Look forward to weekends. — Betty Aret, The Eyecare Boutique, Wexford, PA
    • Play with my three kids, travel with my wife, read and attend church. — Ken Boltz, OD, Kenneth D Boltz OD LLC, Dublin, OH
    • Vacation! — Amina Ebrahim, OD, D Vision Eyecare, Allen, TX
    • Vision Expos. — Scott Keating, OD, Vision Trends, Dover, OH
    • Retire? — Jill Schnurer, OD, Village Eyecare Co., Clarkston, MI
    • Vacation!!! — Susie Phillips, Dr. Brendon Johnson, OD, Pekin, IL
    • Sleep, elliptical, pray. — Brian Parker, Temecula Eye Center Optometry, Temecula, CA
    • What’s that? — Caitlin Binyo, Vision Center, Bellingham, WA
    • Moving my shop from commercial location to its new, sweet, in-home location has helped so very much in recharging! Having a shop downtown along with running my home, single-handedly was just too much, like having two homes to keep up! This integration is just the best for my stress and psyche … plus I’ve been able to clean up all business debt! — Elle Tatum , Island Spectacle, Bainbridge Island WA
    • Mini weekend vacation somewhere warm and not too far; like Florida on a Friday and coming back Sunday evening. — Diana Canto-Sims, Buena Vista Optical Boutique, Chicago, IL
    • I plan to take some time off before Thanksgiving to do some late season yard work and plant some fruit trees. I will also be taking a road trip to MI to spend Christmas with my in-laws. — Jesse Ellis , Eye Health Vision Center, North Dartmouth, MA
    • Starbucks!! — Jessica Brundidge , Clarity Vision, Clayton NC
    • Play with grandkids. — Robert McBeath , Edina Eye Physicians and Surgeons, Edina MN
    • Coffee or Red Bull. — Heather Harrington, Elevated Eyecare, Denver, CO
    • Yoga, vacations, bar trivia or concerts. — Harris Decker , Eye Designs of Westchester, Scarsdale, NY
    • I take a day off. Sometimes I just need some “me” time. On my day off, I quilt. — Vicki Thompson , Grandville Optical, Grandville, MI
    • I’m a big crafter and that relaxes me. — Colleen Brondo, Visual Eyes Optical, Stanhope, NJ

    What’s the Brain Squad?

    • If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. eyecare business serving the public, you’re invited to join the INVISION Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting eyecare professionals. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

    Continue Reading

    Buzz Session

    What Vow Will You Make Right Now for the New Year?

    Brain Squad members share their 2019 goals.

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    • Continue to wow patients. Cedric Mitsui, OD, Big Island Vision Center, Hilo, HI
    • Try to gesture with an open hand rather than a pointer finger. This is a harder habit to break than I thought. Jessika Arena, The Eye Center, Asheville, NC
    • Get rid of paper! Kristina Swartz, The Eye Site, Mishawaka, IN
    • Choose happy. Mary Canfield, Orlando Eyecare, Orlando, FL
    • I vow to get rid of all of the magazine ordered frames that the guy before me ordered. Jade Kowalick, Ryczek Eye Associates, St. Petersburg, FL
    • Hit the gym again. Rick Rickgauer, Vision Associates, Girard, PA
    • Travel … further than Orlando. Bart Parker, Vision Source-Fox Optical, Lake Worth, FL
    • No more vows. Mark Perry, OD, Vision Health Institute, Orlando, FL
    • Simplify. Scott Keating, OD, Vision Trends, Dover, OH
    • Write it, think it, believe it till done. Bryan Hartgrave, Vision Solutions, Lamar, MO
    • Finish what I start. Selina McGee, OD, Precision Vision, Edmond, OK
    • My remake percentage will go down. Theodore Sees, OD, Rockford Family Eyecare, Rockford, MI
    • Try to make a difference in 2019. More volunteer work with Vision Screenings for Veterans and low income patients. Texas L. Smith, OD, Dr. Texas L. Smith & Associates, Citrus Heights, CA
    • Hire a front desk coordinator who will stay with us like our optician and optometric tech have for over 20 years! Robert M Easton Jr., OD, Oakland Park, FL
    • Better hiring and retention strategies. Kaleena Ma, MK Vision Center, Forest Hills, NY
    • Patience, take things one day at a time and don’t procrastinate. Mitchell Kaufman, Marine Park Family Vision, Brooklyn, NY
    • To make a quick plug to every patient about our new frame lines. Tom Brillante, OD, Decatur Eye Care, Decatur, GA
    • Thou shalt restrain yourself when buying frames! Nikki Griffin, EyeStyles Optical and Boutique, Oakdale, MN
    • Increase our social media presence and start paid Facebook and Instagram ads to increase optical business. Vlad Cordero, Focus Eye Care PC, Hackensack, NJ
    • Expand to new locations. Pauline Buck, OD, Behavioral and Developmental Optometrists, Miami, FL
    • No printing out things that are not truly needed. Bridgett Fredrickson, Whelan Eye Care, Bemidji, MN
    • I vow to try and consistently have a positive and supportive attitude. Harris Decker, Eye Designs Of Westchester, Scarsdale, NY
    • Grow our dry-eye treatment center. Rob Szeliga, OD, Spring Hill Eyecare, Spring Hill, TN
    • Better equip myself with the hiring of Millennials. Jessica Brundidge, Clarity Vision, Clayton, NC
     

    What’s the Brain Squad?

  • If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. eyecare business serving the public, you’re invited to join the INVISION Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting eyecare professionals. Good deal, right? Sign up here.
  • Continue Reading

    Buzz Session

    Not That Again! The Questions You Wish Patients Would Stop Asking

    “Can I get a trial contact?”

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    • Can I get a trial contact? (Even writing it makes me combustible.)  — Rick Rickgauer, Vision Associates, Girard, PA
    • “No, really, I just need to ask the doctor a quick question. Can you get him/her on the phone right now?”  — Jen Heller, Pend Oreille Vision Care, Sandpoint, ID
    • Sadly, they ask if my breasts are real.  — Julie Uram, Optical Oasis, Jupiter, FL
    • How many pairs of glasses do you have? How much did they all cost?  — Jenna Gilbertson, McCulley Optix Gallery, Fargo, ND
    • I can buy these contacts anywhere, right?  — Shimul Shah, OD, Marysville Family Vision, Marysville, OH
    • Aren’t these scratch proof?  — Jade Kowalick, Rophie Eye Care, Dunedin, FL 
    • Which frames are covered by my insurance?  — Shane Clark, Infinity EyeCare, Rapid City, SD
    • Does my insurance cover that?  — Danielle Jackson, OD, Jackson Eye, Fairburn, GA
    • Why do I have to pay a contact lens evaluation fee? I’ve never had to pay it anywhere else.  — Tammy Hazelett, Wylie Vision Care, Garland, TX
    • Does this come with a warranty?  — Jason Stamper, Eye Care Pavilion, Davenport, IA
    • How do you compare to [discount optical] — Ron Catterson, Clear View Optix, The Villages, FL
    • Why do you cost more than Costco?  — Kathy Maren, Comb EyeCare & Eyewear, Western Springs, IL
    • Do you take my insurance?  — Mitchell Kaufman, Marine Park Family Vision, Brooklyn, NY
    • Do you really need to wear glasses or do you just do so because you work here?   — Christine Howard, Attleboro Vision Care, Attleboro, MA
    • Can you do better on the price?  — Dorothy Reynolds, Optical Alternatives, Milford, CT
    • You let them ask questions?!? Kidding… “Is xxxx normal?” … when it’s obviously not.  — T.S. Stephens, OD, Dr. Stephens and Associates, Vienna, WV
    • Why do you charge for a CL refitting ?     — Dave Schultz, OD, Urban Optics, San Luis Obispo, CA
    • “At your age, do you take Viagra?” Yes, but I take it so I won’t pee on my shoes.  — Texas L. Smith, OD, Dr. Texas L. Smith & Associates, Citrus Heights, CA
    • What is my insurance?  — Jeff Grosekemper, Casa De Oro Eyecare, Spring Valley, CA
    • Do I get that exact frame off the wall?  — Bob Schmittou, New Eyes Optical, Wyandotte, MI
    • Can this be billed to my insurance?  — Pauline Buck, OD, Behavioral and Developmental Optometrists, Miami, FL
    • Can I get more contacts and trials even thought my Rx is expired?  — Scott Felten, Fox Valley Family Eye Care, Little Chute, WI
    • How come these are so expensive, when I can get them online for $20?  — Frances Ann Layton, Eye Associates of South GA, Valdosta, GA
    • Can you write this frame down for me?  — Steve Nelson, Eye Candy Optical, Westlake, OH
    • Why are my glasses not free? I have insurance.  — Pablo E Mercado, Mount Vernon Eyecare, Dunwoody, GA
    • Do you carry Ray-Ban? (Or Oakley)  — Caitlin Bruno, Binyon Vision Center, Bellingham, WA
    • Are you open?  — Dave Goodrich, Goodrich Optical, Lansing, MI
    • Can you fix my Warby Parker’s, Zenni, or any other online glasses? I got them like this!  — Jill Sweig, OD, Oyster Bay Optics, Oyster Bay, NY
    • “That’s the soonest I can get in?” when we say, “Her first opening is XYZ.”  — Bridgett Fredrickson, Whelan Eye Care, Bemidji, MN
    • “Is the doctor available? I have a question….” As if he is not particularly busy, you know, seeing patients all day.  — Cassandra Nash, HD Optical Express, Lansing, MI
    • Why doesn’t my insurance cover that?  — Richard Kemerling, Margolis Vision, Lone Tree, CO
    • Aren’t all frames made by one company?  — Paula Hornbeck, Eye Candy, Delafield and Mequon, WI
    • Why do I have to pay for contact lens evaluation when I already wear contacts?  — Monika Marczak, OD, Eye Candy Optical Center, Pittsburgh, PA
    • Will you adjust the glasses I bought online?  — Kevin Bushouse, RxOptical, Kalamazoo, MI
    • What does Costco charge for this?  — Allen D. Hoek, OD, Ripon, CA
    • Why don’t you know what my insurance covers?  — James Masser, Rocky Mountain Eye Center, Pueblo, CO
    • Are your sunglasses prescription only?  — Edna Shelby, Macomb Vision Associates, Shelby Township, MI
    • Can I take my prescription elsewhere? UGH!  — Karen Santos McCloud, OD, Hamburg Vision Center, Lexington, KY
     

    What’s the Brain Squad?

    If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. eyecare business serving the public, you’re invited to join the INVISION Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting eyecare professionals. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

    Continue Reading

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