BUSINESS Black Optical Acquires St. Louis-Based The Eye Bar By Staff Tuesday, November 23, 2021 12:24 AM ST. LOUIS—The newly forged partnership between Black Optical and New Look Vision Group announced that it has acquired St. Louis-based The Eye Bar and its two retail locations. Black Optical partnered with New Look Vision Group, led by CEO Antoine Amiel, in late August of this year, as VMAIL reported with a unified goal in mind to begin growing the Black Optical footprint in new and emerging markets. Amiel said, "We feel very privileged to welcome The Eye Bar to the New Look Vision Group under the leadership of Black Optical."At the inception of our partnership with Gary Black two months ago, we committed ourselves to grow and are delighted with this first opportunity. We are thankful Stacey chose Gary and us to continue the exclusive journey she so passionately started," he said. The Eye Bar is the first acquisition for Gary Black and the Black Optical team, as they expand their presence in the optical industry. Black Optical is an eyewear retailer with a strong focus on independent manufacturers and designers with locations in Dallas, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and now, with The Eye Bar, two locations in St. Louis. “I have been an admirer of The Eye Bar for years,” said Gary Black, founder of Black Optical. “The boutique’s longtime owner Stacey Plank and I opened our businesses around the same time over 10 years ago. It has been an inspiration to watch her business thrive and succeed over the years. Our shared passion for creating unique experiences within our retail spaces and the love we share for independent eyewear, is what originally inspired me when the opportunity of acquiring the business became an option." Black added, “After finding success with two showrooms originally in Oklahoma and then later in Dallas, deciding that St. Louis was going to be the next market for us was the obvious choice. It is clear that the people of St. Louis have a deep passion for eyewear.” “Thirteen years ago, what started out with a simple plan to open my own optical shop, turned into a love and passion for our loyal customers that will always be a part of a wonderful memory of growing a business beyond my dreams,” said Plank. "I’m thrilled to work with Gary and the Black Optical team, along with New Look, as they assume the day-to-day operations and allow for a smooth transition of leadership. We are passing on the responsibilities to this new generation in hopes that they continue to inspire our friends and clients with unique products and the same friendly service they’ve come to know and expect." The Eye Bar’s current team will retain their positions and service offerings will grow in the future. New independent brands will be introduced into the store and customer service excellence will remain the focus. “I look forward to collaborating closely with Stacey and her team to help optimize the business and elevate The Eye Bar into a new era while working with the team to continue carrying the torch of great customer service forward,” Black added. “This is the first step of many to come, and together with New Look as a strategic partner I am thrilled to see what the future holds for Black Optical and our team across the region. I look forward to forming new relationships with trusted partners and for the opportunity to grow in new markets,” he said. The company started in Tulsa, Okla. in 2007 and consists of 12 team members including four American Board of Opticianry (ABO) certified opticians. Black Optical was recognized as a finalist of the Vision Expo East 2019 and 2020 OPTImum Retail Award, celebrating independent boutique retailers in the optical industry. In addition, Invision Magazine awarded Black Optical as one of America’s Finest Optical retailers in both 2019 and 2021. More information about Black Optical is posted here. New Look Vision Group is the leader in the eyecare industry in Canada and first entered the U.S. in 2020. New Look Vision Group has a network of 426 locations operating mainly under the Iris, New Look Eyewear, Vogue Optical, Greiche & Scaff and Edward Beiner banners and a laboratory facility using state-of-the-art technologies.