Mark Tosh, Senior Editor

Mark covers news and feature coverage of national and regional optical retailers, managed vision care organizations, software systems and technology. He works closely with other members of the VM editorial staff to monitor developments in online optical retailing and other industry issues. Mark is a contributor to dba, a twice monthly e-newsletter profiling successful local and regional retail/optometric businesses while addressing their decision-making needs. Contact Mark at mtosh@jobson.com.

Summer Travel Tip: Make an ‘Insightful’ Side Trip to the Shelburne Museum in Vermont for a Look at America’s ‘Vision’ Story

By Mark Tosh
Friday, May 20, 2022 8:30 AM NEW YORK—As many Northeasterners know, there are a thousand reasons to visit New England in the summertime. Let’s make that one thousand and one this year, with the recent opening of the “Eyesight & Insight: Lens on American Art” exhibit at the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vt. The unique exhibit, looking at America’s history of creative response to perceptions of vision, opened May 15 and runs until Oct. 16. There’s also an online component to the exhibit, for those who don’t have Vermont in their summer travel itineraries. (Heck, I’d go to Vermont just to visit the Ben and Jerry’s factory experience in Waterbury.)

Alliances Bulk Up

By Mark Tosh
Friday, May 20, 2022 1:30 AM With more challenges and competitive pressures for independent eyecare professionals to meet and overcome today, there’s also been a raft of changes among the alliances and buying groups that work to help these ECPs navigate the turbulent times. These alliances have done their research and overhauled their offerings as they remake themselves to better meet the needs of independent eyecare practices.

Acquios Alliance: Working to Help Indie Practices ‘Remain in Control’

By Mark Tosh
Friday, May 20, 2022 1:29 AM Acquios Alliance, a two-year-old membership group with a program designed to “mitigate the unique challenges private practice optometrists face and help them thrive, independently,” has had a successful debut and continues to add new services, resources and vendor partners as it seeks additional growth and builds upon the way it delivers value to members.

CECOP USA Sets Goal of Becoming ECP’s ‘Trusted Partner’

By Mark Tosh
Friday, May 20, 2022 1:28 AM CECOP USA, an affiliate of the global CECOP organization, has been active in the U.S. since May 2020 and then stepped up its activity last year with a key acquisition and the appointment of an experienced leader. The key acquisition, in January 2021, brought The Alliance Buying Group into the organization, and the key appointment followed a few months later with Brent Alvord taking the role of chief development officer at CECOP USA.

IDOC Rolls Out a Suite of Services to Support Indie ODs

By Mark Tosh
Friday, May 20, 2022 1:27 AM The past year has been one of evolution and change for the IDOC organization, as the group moved to implement the key elements of a long-term strategic plan. Amid the changing business environment for independent ODs, IDOC saw an opportunity to innovate and adapt—not to just advise doctors about how to run their practice, “but to do it for them, better serving our members and the independent community,” IDOC president and chief executive officer Dave Brown noted. “This led us to the rollout of a complete range of ‘Let IDOC Do It’ services—meaning the practice off-loads the work to IDOC experts.”

The Eye Consortium’s Message Around ‘Independents’ Resonates With Members

By Mark Tosh
Friday, May 20, 2022 1:26 AM Since its founding in 2019, The Eye Consortium (TEC) has earned its stripes as one of the fastest-growing alliances for independent-minded eyecare and optical practices. The group’s mission and philosophy are built upon the idea of creating a community of like-minded business people on the ECP side and to match them with a curated, specialized group of vendors who want to see independent eyecare continue to grow and thrive.

ADO Sets Itself Apart With Unique Lens, Frames and Marketing Services

By Mark Tosh
Friday, May 20, 2022 1:25 AM ADO Practice Solutions has been providing industry-leading savings and business services to help independent eyecare professionals manage their practice with ease, control costs and increase profitability for over 35 years. The organization, a unit of Walman, notes that it prides itself in keeping practices in complete control of their businesses.

PECAA, Delivering More With HEA Adds New Resources, Tools

By Mark Tosh
Friday, May 20, 2022 1:24 AM Change has been the routine, not the exception, across much of optical and eyecare over the past two years. Perhaps no organization has seen as big an alteration as the now combined PECAA and HEA groups, which have officially become “PECAA, Delivering more with HEA” after a deal combined the two entities in the summer of 2021. The rebranded company launched at the recent Vision Expo East event in late March in New York City.

Opti-Port Strives to Provide the ‘Right Community’ and Resources

By Mark Tosh
Friday, May 20, 2022 1:23 AM Founded over 20 years ago, Opti-Port is a national alliance of leading multi-office eyecare providers that leverages the combined strength of its member practices to create revenue-enhancing, cost-saving and market-expanding opportunities. Opti-Port is the only eyecare alliance dedicated solely to supporting large, regional multi-office practice groups. The alliance has grown to include 59 multi-location practice groups that represent over 500 practice locations, with several members routinely appearing in Vision Monday’s annual Top 50 Optical Retailers report.

PERC Offers the Benefits of Collaboration and Buying Power

By Mark Tosh
Friday, May 20, 2022 1:22 AM Founded in 2008, PERC is a doctor alliance designed to ensure member practices greatly improve their bottom line by harnessing collective buying power to negotiate advantageous terms with vendors. The group’s no charge, risk-free membership model is open to all private practices and its low-burden to entry setup has unlocked rapid growth for the alliance, which recently surpassed 7,000 members, according to the alliance’s executives.

In Busy 2021, Vision Source Adds Members and Expands ‘Next’ Program

By Mark Tosh
Friday, May 20, 2022 1:21 AM Vision Source is North America’s most extensive network of independent optometrists, consisting of over 3,150 locally owned optometric practice locations with 4,500 doctors. Founded in 1991, Vision Source is dedicated to preserving the elite business of independent eyecare and providing highly personalized services delivered through a unique heritage of shared expertise, according to the organization.

As a Media Channel, Retail Offers New Messaging Opportunities

By Mark Tosh
Saturday, April 23, 2022 12:58 AM NEW YORK—Amid changing consumer dynamics, supply chain disruption and all of their other challenges, retailers are now faced with figuring out the developing concept of retail as a media channel, and all of the new messaging opportunities this presents. This idea was tackled at the VM Summit in a session appropriately titled, “Retail Is the New Media Channel.”

Walmart Sees an Opportunity to Provide ‘Affordable Health Care’

By Mark Tosh
Saturday, April 23, 2022 12:55 AM NEW YORK—While the significant role Walmart has played in American retail over the past 50 years is readily apparent, the company’s effort to provide health care services, especially to underserved individuals and rural markets, has often gone unnoticed, in spite of the major effort Walmart is making in the health care sector. This was one of the underlying themes in the VM Summit presentation of David Reitnauer, vice president for health and wellness, and specialized services at Walmart Inc.

Private Equity and Practice Transitions

By Mark Tosh
Saturday, April 23, 2022 12:30 AM The past two years have been a cycle of ups and downs for many business owners and company leaders, and this is particularly true for the eyecare sector. In an environment of tremendous change taking place in both health care and retail, practice owners have had to cope with seemingly unending challenges on a daily basis.

Bausch Health Counts on a ‘Tiny But Mighty’ Group to Oversee Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability Issues

By Mark Tosh
Friday, April 22, 2022 8:30 AM ROCHESTER, N.Y.— Many companies and individuals did their part this week to “celebrate” Earth Day, which falls on April 22 every year, and noted the accomplishments made in terms of recycling and sustainability over the past year. And there have been many notable achievements across various industries, especially eyecare and eyewear, where companies have been taking steps to address the issue of recycling and waste for years. But while the focus on sustainability may seem like a recent phenomenon to some, the issue of protecting the environment and effectively dealing with industrial waste has been top of mind for a few companies and executives for decades.