Tool Time And More
Quite possibly, 20/20 makes the same rave every year—Hilco does a Herculean job with its catalog. All at once it reminds us of day dreaming through the magic of those classic Edmund’s Scientific catalogs and tinkering with tools, gadgets and gizmos in a small town hardware store. This 2003 Hilco take is loaded with the coolest products designed to guide the practical part of any practice while keeping anyone up-to-the-minute on all the latest tools of the optical trade. The format is fluid, the photos and illustrations are definitive and the new Small Parts and Tools Reference Guide is a study in simplicity. For more call (800) 955-6544.  —JJS

A Site to Rem-member — As part of its ongoing 50th anniversary celebration Rem Eyewear has made extensive and expansive changes to its www.remeye wear.com web site. In addition to providing a company profile, customer service and job opportunities, the site allows customers to gain in-depth knowledge of each of Rem’s brands, including the latest news and complete eyewear catalogs for all collections.
“Endlessly, we search for and create as many tools as we can to help make our customers successful—and this site is a terrific tool,” says Rem CEO Mike Hundert. The web site is designed to feature the unique nature of each brand in the simplest way possible being careful not to compete with the branding of its various collections, which ranges from the bright pink of Barbie to the earth tones of Timberland.
Ray of In-Site — When it comes to Ray-Ban retailers actually need to keep up with consumers as the brand has such a high position in the public eye. So with that in mind, it might make sense to get VERY familiar with www.rayban.com since you can be sure your customers have probably already paid a visit.
Ray-Ban’s cybersite has the latest, up-to-the-minute product information and images for dispensers and consumers alike, and a wealth of material relating to the Ray-Ban brand in an attention-grabbing, sound-infused format. Split-screen closeups of Ray-Ban users, a lively soundtrack and riveting graphics make this site both informative and engaging. Included on the site is a fascinating “Ray-Ban History” broken down into eras from the 1930s to the present. Time-period visuals and factoids provide an optical time-line relating to eyewear and American culture in general. The “Hollywood Hit List” boasts Ray-Ban’s long-standing commitment to the Hollywood community from 1956 to the present. Featuring all-time greats such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Top Gun, The Blues Brothers, Collateral Damage and Men in Black. “What’s New” is a quick update on the latest Ray-Ban happenings—both domestically and internationally—relating to films, sponsorships, etc. The “Press Room” provides the newest press information on advertising campaigns, product placement, films and events. The “Services” area provides detailed warranty and repair information. —James J. Spina

Hey Grandpa…
let me see those glasses!
Aspex Eyewear is set to run a series of 30-second commercials featuring EasyTwist by EasyClip on major networks and cable channels beginning this month. The spots have already been featured on Canadian television. Our favorite is the tyke-twist-test.  —JJS

HOOP DREAMS. Star athletes were out in force at the NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta where Sàfilo fitted some super jocks in super sunwear. Among them: All-Star forward 1. Shawn Marion of the Phoenix Suns in Polo Sport style 1081/N/S G8W, Atlanta Braves outfielder 2. Gary Sheffield in Valentino style Val 5241/S 6LBHY, 3. Carlos Boozer of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Gucci style GG 1712/S 6LB and 4. Zack Randolph of the Portland Trailblazers in Dior style Stunt/SML YB714… DRIVING FORCE. Looks from Moja Design’s Ocean Drive Eyewear hit the beaches during Volleypalooza, a model volleyball tournament sponsored by Ocean Drive magazine in Miami. Wearing the shades are 5. Trevor from O-Town and E!’s “Wild On!” host 6. Cindy TaylorGOLDEN EYES. At the Golden Globe Awards, 7. Eric Benet wears Kata Eyewear’s Sesna frame in noir with gray mist lenses from Legacie Eyewear/The Luxury House of B. Robinson… MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. 8. Jason Alexander, best known as George Costanza in TV’s “Seinfeld,” will soon take to the stage in Los Angeles alongside Martin Short in the Broadway mega-hit “The Producers.” Here Alexander wears Flexon style 422 from Marchon… BABY ONE MORE TIME. 9. Britney Spears sports a pair of Valentino Gold sunglasses from Sàfilo on the pages of US magazine… KING OF THE HILL. 10. Dondré Whitfield of NBC’s “Hidden Hills” wears Bollé Valoriums… BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. 11. Kelly Osbourne has it all in focus thanks to MTV’s “The Osbournes,” her new CD “Shut Up” and her Calvin Klein eyewear, style 755 from Marchon… CLASS ACT. Academy Award winning actress 12. Susan Sarandon looks every bit the role of a sophisticated thespian in Donna Karan style 8807 from Marchon… LONG LIVE THE QUEEN. Oscar nominee and rap superstar 13. Queen Latifah sports Fendi style 255 from Marchon. She can currently be seen in the romantic comedy “Bringing Down the House”… MUSICALLY INCLINED. Sàfilo shades could be spotted on some of the movers and shakers at the 45th annual Grammy Awards in New York. 14. P. Diddy presents the award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in a pair of YSL shades style 2025S. WHO ARE YOU WEARING? 15. John Leguizamo in Valentino Gold sunglasses on the red carpet. 16. Kid Rock also sported a pair of Valentino Gold sunwear when he performed with Sheryl Crow at the awards. —JM

Synergy Energy
With Florida’s Gulf Coast serving as the backdrop, members of Optical Synergies—a wholesale laboratory buying and networking group—gathered for three days of networking, education and business opportunities during the group’s fifth annual meeting February 20 through 22.

The event—held in Marco Island, Fla.—kicked off with a buffet-style dinner during which representatives of the more than 30 Optical Synergies member labs in attendance visited with executives from 15 lens and equipment vendors. Over the next two days, members listened to presentations on various optical topics, including “Lab-to-Customer Communications” by Brian P. Dunleavy, 20/20 magazine; “Practical Engineering for Labs,” by Richard Palmer, Practical Engineering; “FDA Compliance for Labs,” by Steve Drake, Signet Armorlite; and “Cut to Polish,” by Denny Hall, DAC. Several manufacturers—including Transitions, National Optronics, Vision Star and the A-R Council—also made presentations to the group and members were given the opportunity to meet with lens and equipment executives one-on-one to discuss future business. In addition, Pentax held a reception Friday night. And members enjoyed golf and other recreational activities at Marco Island.

Under the leadership of president Bruce Brady, Optical Synergies’ currently consists of more than 70 labs spread throughout the U.S. The wholesalers range from mid-size, regional players that produce as many as 900 prescriptions a day to local operators processing around 100 jobs daily. Though Optical Synergies’ members value the discount pricing they are offered by the group’s 33 vendors, most say the opportunity to meet with and establish relationships with suppliers and manufacturers—as well as each other—is key.

“Talk about getting the information right from the source,” says Joseph Taitelbaum, sales consultant for Ultra Lens Optical Laboratory in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “This meeting is always a great place to get information on what’s going on in the industry. Anybody who’s in the industry now knows what a struggle it is. Having the opportunity to meet with key vendors one on one gives our labs an advantage.” —BPD
Left: National Optronics’ Susan Polson demonstrates the company’s LP Lens Profiler to K Optical’s Don Kirman and Signet Armorlite’s Pierson Ball.
Below, left:  Optical Synergies’ Bruce Brady with Jill Graziano and Richard Kirsammer of Optical Dimensions during the opening Trade Show Reception and Dinner.
Below, right: Select Optical’s Pete Lothes talks lenses with AOSola’s Meaveen Meyer.

Shopping by the Shore
“QVC’s Cure By The Shore” will be broadcast live from Malibu, Calif., Saturday, May 17, from 3 to 6 p.m. (ET), when the e-commerce leader is once again allied with the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF). With celebrity guest host Don Diamont of the soap “The Young and the Restless,” the televised fundraiser (in its sixth year) will feature a wide array of sunglasses, accessories, jewelry and beauty items at half the retail value from a roster of leading international designers, brands and manufacturers. All of the net proceeds from the sales will benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS).

For the second consecutive year, Sàfilo Group has been named Special Benefactor and will donate sunglasses from its Burberry, Diesel, Dior, Gucci, Kate Spade and Valentino brands. With its 2003 donation, Sàfilo will greatly enhance the funds raised for the fight against MS.

To generate excitement for the fundraiser, Sàfilo played host to “QVC’s Cure By The Shore” Accessories Council Market Week party. Among those in attendance were hip hop artist Lil’ Kim, Miss Universe 2003 Justine Pasek
Above: In a public service ad for “QVC’s Cure By The Shore” fundraiser benefiting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, actor Harrison Ford wears the Dior Street sunglass from Sàfilo, which is the Special Benefactor of this year’s event. Top right: Rapper Lil’ Kim vamps it up in the Valentino Gold Limited Edition sunglass during “QVC’s Cure By The Shore” Accessories Council Market Week party hosted by Sàfilo. Bottom right: At the market week party are Sheila Block, president of the Accessories Council, Leon Hall of E!’s “Fashion Emergency” and Claudio Gottardi, president and CEO of Sàfilo.

Transitions Seeks Sales “Magic”
at Disney Academy

Transitions’ recent visit to Disney World was by no means a vacation. The photochromic lens manufacturer held its seventh annual Transitions Academy event at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort February 2 through 5, with more than 900 lab executives, retailers and lens manufacturer representatives—from more than 30 countries—in attendance. The four-day event was billed as an education and networking opportunity for Transitions’ lab partners (members of the company’s “STAR” lab program).

In announcing the theme of the 2003 meeting—”The Future Is Now”—on opening night, Dave Cole, Transitions’ general manager of the Americas, told attendees, “We believe the people here can define the future [and] drive this industry in the right way.” Part of that “drive” is an increase in sales of Transitions lenses by the company’s lab partners. According to P.J. Downes, Transitions’ director of sales—labs and ECPs, currently one of every eight lenses sold by STAR partner labs are Transitions. The company hopes to see that ratio improve to one of every five by the end of this year.

Transitions will be augmenting its annual print campaign in publications such as TV Guide, People and Newsweek with a national, primetime TV ad campaign. The commercial furthers the company’s futuristic philosophy and reinforces its product message with consumers. It is expected to “reach” more than 110 million people in the U.S., including 91 percent of adults age 35 to 64.

The consumer campaign, much like Transitions trade advertising, focuses on the features and benefits of the company’s photochromic products, as well as their ability to protect the eyes from harmful UV rays. The eye health issue is a key point of Transitions’ industry initiatives in the coming year and will be supported by an education program for eyecare professionals as well as a first-ever “Back-to-School” ad campaign targeting children. The company has also launched several dispenser promotion programs and is offering several online resources (including templates for patient coupons) on its web site—www.transitions.com.

The 2003 Academy also included a day of sales, marketing and leadership seminars presented by the Dale Carnegie Institute. For the event’s closing night, Transitions announced the winners of its Lab of the Year program. The U.S. winner was 21st Century Optics of Long Island City, N.Y. The first-ever Canadian winner was Tech-Cite Laboratories of Calgary.
Future perfect? Transitions president Rick Elias forecasts sales with a little help from “Iris Retina” during the general session at Transitions Academy.

And the winner is… Transitions sales rep Johanna DiChiara (front row, center) welcomes Accurate Optical of Salisbury, Md., winners of a retailer contest, to Academy. The dispensary staff in attendance included (back, left to right): Dean Haemel, Jon Harris, Jo Pratt and Cindy Blades and (front row) Jennifer Briddell and Stephen Franklin.
It was a good year… Barney Woythaler, Anthony Fulco and Ralph Woythaler accept
the Transitions Lab of the Year Award with Transitions’ Johanna DiChiara and members of the lab staff, including Deborah Lang, Dottie Campbell, Robert Woythaler and Patty Oehrlein.

SECO Awards Excellence In Atlanta
Carrying on the tradition of one of the most well-organized meetings in the optical/eyecare industry, the Southern Council of Optometrists (SECO) gathered for its annual conference and exposition in Atlanta February 20 through 23 at the Georgia World Congress Center. Highlights of the meeting included the presentation of the annual “Optometrist of the South” (the group’s highest honor) award to Don Williamson, OD, of Cape Coral, Fla. The award recognizes “significant contributions to the profession of optometry.” Billie Taylor, a staff member at the office of Gordon Jennings, OD, in Wytheville, Va., has won the Paraoptometric of the South award. The meeting also included a busy exhibit hall with products and offerings from more than 250 exhibitors. —BPD

1. OfficeMate’s Ed Buffington, ready to meet the company’s SECO booth visitors.
2. Hoya Lens of America’s Bill Norwood was on hand to help welcome visitors to his company’s SECO booth.
3. Rodenstock North America’s Louise Courville (l), Jim Cox and Karen Jacobs man (and woman) their company’s SECO booth.
4. Taking a break from the showfloor action are Roger Valline of Vision Service Plan (l), Don Yee of Eyefinity and VSP’s Kate Renwick-Espinosa.

5. SECO 2003’s Glaucoma Theatre offered attendees up-to-the-minute credit education with an old-fashioned theater theme.
6. At the Luxottica booth, Henry Sand (l), Mike Howard (c) and David Digby (r) chat with Roy Hyman, OD, (second from l) of Louisville, Ky. and optician Bill Pioetz of Optical Connections, Pewaukee, Wisc.
7. At the Fitovers booth, Roger Hill of the Naval Ophthalmic Support and Training Activity (NOSTRA) visits with Amanda Searancke of Fitovers.
8. Smart Mirror’s (l to r) Gary Laskowsky, Jean-Philipe Sayag and Antoine Toyon were pleased with SECO show attendance and with the interest in their product.

Eyes on the Prize
New York was the setting of music’s big night, the 45th annual Grammy Awards. And Marchon was the eyewear that donned the faces of many of the winners. 1. Norah Jones, who took home five Grammys including Album of the Year for “Come Away with Me” and Best New Artist, is in tune in a pair of Calvin Klein specs style 297S. The daughter of famed musician Ravi Shankar, Jones will be kicking off her North American tour in June. New kid on the block 2. John Mayer won the Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for his song “Your Body is a Wonderland.” This hip square sports DKNY style 7260S. Winner of Best Contemporary R&B Album 3. Ashanti wears Fendi Suns style FS261/S. Funnyman 4. Robin Williams added another award to his collection, the Grammy for Best Spoken Comedy Album for “Robin Williams—Live 2002.” He wears Nike with Flexon style 4056. And last, but far from least, 5. Tony Bennett won his 11th Grammy—Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for “Playin’ With My Friends: Bennett Sings the Blues.” What becomes a legend with more than 50 albums spanning six decades best? Flexon style 422. —JM

Transitions Tools — To support its national TV and print consumer advertising campaign, Transitions has developed a series of interactive, integrated point-of-sale tools to build upon an educational message of eye health. A new patient brochure, for instance, incorporates the campaign’s new look and UV protection messaging with photochromic film that darkens when exposed to outdoor light. Brochure text raises awareness of the need for UV protection for the eye and encourages patients to talk to their eyecare professionals. Other point-of-sale tools from Transitions include a dispensing mat depicting each stage of photochromic activation, a display wheel/brochure holder, a UV light demonstration kit (which costs $115) and a lens use and care guide. Unless otherwise noted, all of the above materials are available to eyecare professionals at no cost. For a free copy of Transitions’ 2003 Point-of-Sale Catalog, including detailed descriptions, pricing and ordering instructions, contact Transitions Customer Service at (800) 848-1506 (United States) or (877) 254-2590 (Canada).

The $20,000 Answer — Essilor of America has announced the winners of its 2002 Essilor Optical Technology Grants, one-time awards given to colleges of optometry that exhibit their commitment to growing the industry through new advancements. North-eastern State University College of Optometry of Tahlequah, Okla. and The Ohio State University College of Optometry of Columbus, Ohio each received $20,000 grants to apply toward continuing industry education. A tie between Michigan College of Optometry of Big Rapids, Mich. and State University New York Optometry of New York, N.Y. resulted in Essilor dividing the prize. Each school received $10,000.

Essilor also announced the winner of its “Just the Two of Us” promotion. Held between August and November 2002, eyecare professionals were rewarded for every Varilux with Crizal pair of lenses ordered in their dispensaries. Andrea Spruyt, OD, owner of WestGlen Eyecare in Shawnee, Kan. won the grand prize, a seven-day, six-night trip for two to Paris, with hotel accommodations at the Four Seasons George V and $1,000 spending money.

Start the Presses — The A-R Council has launched its consumer awareness campaign for 2003. The networking and education coalition of A-R manufacturers and distributors recently sent a press release entitled “Shedding Light on the Glare-Free Benefits of A-R Lenses” to 1,500 daily and 8,500 weekly newspapers across the U.S. The release offers consumers insights into the cosmetic benefits of A-R lenses. For more information, visit www.arcouncil.org or call (877) 254-4477.

Eschenbach Education — Low vision aid manufacturer Eschenbach has created a seminar entitled “Low Vision Care… What’s It All About?” The course is an introductory, hands-on workshop and lecture designed for those interested in the field of low vision. It is approved for three CE credits by ABO and JCAHPO. The informative course covers topics such as: the causes of low vision, the “Seven Steps to Dispensing Low Vision Aids,” reimbursement and marketing of low vision and a hands-on learning session in which attendees can try a variety of vision aids including some of the newest available on the market. Future locations include the following: Columbia, S.C. (April 9), San Jose (April 9), Indianapolis (April 16), Wasau, Wis. (April 16), Torrance, Calif. (April 23), Boston (April 24), Philadelphia (May 6), Morristown, N.J. (May 7), Dallas (May 7), Chicago (May 14), Spokane, Wash. (May 14), Portland, Me. (May 21), Walnut Creek, Calif. (May 21) and Springfield, Mo. (May 28). To learn more about the course, visit www.eschenbach.com. To register, call (877) 422-7300.

Mr. Nifty Goes on Tour — AO-SOLA has launched a national educational tour featuring its new Teflon EasyCare Lens Coating. The program, called “The Arctic Blue Breakthrough,” wraps continuing education (worth one ABO credit) in an “entertaining format.” It will be staged at various locations around the country in partnership with wholesale labs. The show follows in the footsteps of AO-SOLA’s popular “Mr. Nifty’s Optical Review.” For “The Arctic Blue Breakthrough,” the company has gone one step further, according to Teflon EasyCare Lens Coating product manager Amy Walter. “Teflon EasyCare is an innovation in coatings and we are excited to offer eyecare professionals an innovation in continuing education—a program that’s as fun and theatrical as it is educational.” She noted that the innovation extends to the choice of venues for the show: “wherever possible we’re booking theatres or even science centers.” In addition to ABO credits and numerous laughs, eyecare professionals in attendance will have the opportunity to sign up for an exclusive promotion called “It’s a Teflon World.” Eyecare professionals can reserve a seat at one of these shows by calling (866) 3TEFLON, or by logging on to www.solateflon.com/rsvp/.

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Going for Gold — Essilor International has signed on to work with the Special Olympics/Lions Club International Opening Eyes vision health program for the next three years as Official Global Supplier of ophthalmic lenses and a sponsor of the Opening Eyes program. The company has been a long-time supporter of Special Olympics programs at local community levels in various locations around the world. Essilor’s support will now extend company-wide in order to provide optimum vision to athletes around the globe. Special Olympics Opening Eyes provides equipment and services with the help of volunteers (optometrists, ophthalmologists, opticians). Activities include extensive vision and eye health tests, refraction for those requiring further screening, prescribing and dispensing of eye glasses and protective sports eyewear and referral advice for follow up care. In 2003, Essilor will provide an estimated 8,000 pairs of polycarbonate and conventional plastic hard-coated lenses during 76 Special Olympics events worldwide. For more information about the Special Olympics visit

Cobra “Charms” Labs — Cobra Vision, a division of NexGen Vision, has announced that Michael Woythaler, vice president—manufacturing at 21st Century Optics in Long Island City, N.Y.,
is the grand prize winner of a trip to Emerald Pointe Golf Resort at Lake Lanier Islands, Ga. Woythaler’s name was selected from entries received at the recent Optical Laboratories Association meeting in Indianapolis. Woythaler is pictured here (at left) receiving the prize package from Cobra Vision sales representative Jim Gawinski. The package includes a four-day, three-night stay for two, including airfare, hotel, transportation, meals and golf/fishing. Emerald Point Resort is the centerpiece of the 1,100 acre Lake Lanier Islands. “The OLA show in Indianapolis was an excellent opportunity for us to showcase our NexGen lens casting technology,” says Drew Eichelberger, vice president of sales and marketing at Cobra Vision. “We are pleased to support the OLA and appreciate the relationships developed through the organization.

It’s All Good
It’s the holy grail of gift baskets. A vacation to Chile, the latest generation of cell phone and… KATA Eyewear by Blake Kuwahara. All these choice goodies were doled out to celebrities during the 75th Annual Academy Awards. Already an established celebrity favorite, KATA’s Sesna sunglasses went home on Oscar night with the likes of Julianne Moore, Jennifer Lopez, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Salma Hayek and Denzel Washington. Not bad company at all. —JM

Dummy Type

Kenneth Cole New York Eyewear has decided to “get real” by looking decidedly fake. The new eyewear campaign set for spring is the first ever directly targeted at consumers. The eyewear advertisements will run in In Style, Details, Interview, Time Out, GQ and Men’s Journal. Ever clever, the campaign features a “live models that look like mannequins” theme. The depicted models make it feel like you are window-shopping at a Kenneth Cole New York boutique. Window reflections, a unique use of light and statuesque models with perfectly coifed hair are all elements that add to the illusionary look of the ads. The particular eyewear ad shows a male model wearing the “Look Straight” frame, a polished plastic frame while the female model sports a stainless-steel frame named “Steeling Away.” Kenneth and company (and that certainly includes the Friedfeld brothers at ClearVision) sure love irreverent punning. The copy reads, “If something’s out of sight, how can you tell? – Kenneth Cole.”  —JJS