CINCINNATI—The innovative optical company Frameri
is shutting down. The startup company, which first made its presence known when it was featured on a 2015 episode of the television show “Shark Tank,” developed the concept of an interchangeable frames and lens system.
But the company decided to close just after the start of the year and notified patrons in a letter signed by the most recent chief executive officer, Sam Pellerito. The decision to cease operations follows by just a few months the company’s confirmation that it was looking to expand beyond its initial showroom facility here in Cincinnati into other major cities, as reported by Vision Monday’s VMAIL newsletter.
The letter from Pellerito stated, in part, “On Jan. 16, 2018, Frameri will be closing its doors indefinitely. I’d like to thank everyone for your commitment to our vision over the years. Since the beginning, we have strived to create a product you could be proud of. Although we have fallen short of our personal goals we know that our product changed the eyewear industry and we are happy to have been part of that.”
Pellerito, who began his career at the launch of Frameri with co-founders Konrad Billetz and Kevin Habich about four years ago, moved into the top job last March after Billetz left to oversee the launch of a startup solar energy business in North Carolina.
Frameri became widely known in the optical sector when it was featured in an episode of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” which spotlighted new businesses and entrepreneurs who wanted to present their concepts to prospective investors. In addition to a showroom in Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, Frameri had secured distribution partnerships covering 28 optical retail practices in 15 different states as of mid-2017, Pellerito said last year. Under the partnership arrangements, the optical retailers stocked Frameri products, lenses and frames.
Frameri also had a partnership with Hoya Vision Care that began in 2016.
In mid-2017, Pellerito told Vision Monday that Frameri had stepped up efforts to expand its retail presence beyond its Cincinnati roots and that the next likely location for a standalone Frameri showroom would be Dallas. In addition, he said at the time that the company was looking at locations in trendy neighborhoods in both Chicago and Brooklyn.