, the startup company featured on the television show “Shark Tank” in 2015 for its innovative interchangeable frames and lens system, has decided to close its operations, according to a letter the retailer sent to customers Friday. The move 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. The letter from chief executive officer Sam 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, as VMAIL reported
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 VMAIL
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.
As part of its shutdown, Frameri announced to customers that it would start a “Farewell Blowout Sale” on Saturday, Jan. 6. The sale offered all frames and single-vision lenses at 50 percent off original prices. Progressive lenses are not offered “for timing concerns,” according to the letter.