Eyemart Express’ Aggressive Growth Plan to Produce 25 New Locations in 2019

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Eyemart Express' first Florida location opened in Destin in June 2019.
DALLAS—Eyemart Express, a leading national value optical retailer, expects to open 25 new locations nationwide this year as it expands to four additional states, according to an announcement this week. The retailer, which is backed by the private equity firm FFL Partners, noted in its announcement that “while retail bankruptcies are on the rise since 2017, Dallas-based optical retailer Eyemart Express is thriving with accelerated growth.” “Our growth is something that we’re serious about,” chief executive officer Michael Bender told VMAIL in a recent interview. “We are going to continue to make efforts to open more and more stores.”

The company currently owns and operates 206 stores in 38 states. It already has opened 13 of the planned 25 new locations for 2019, a spokeswoman told VMAIL.

Eyemart Express ranked as the No. 11 optical retail business in the 2019 Vision Monday Top 50 Optical Retailers report, with annual sales of roughly $265 million. The company plans to increase its footprint by opening 25 locations and completing expansion into four new states by the end of this year. The four states are: Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.

“The drive behind our aggressive growth strategy is to make prescription eyewear accessible and convenient for more communities,” Bender said in the announcement this week. “Seeing clearly should not be a burden or an excessive expense for any family. We work hard to make all our locations an affordable one-stop shop for all eyewear needs.”

In terms of frame assortment, Eyemart Express carries more than 2,000 fashionable, low-cost frames for prescription glasses and sunglasses that support a variety of customer needs, according to the announcement. Frames range from exclusive private label brands to well-known brands. Stores also feature onsite labs so 90 percent of glasses can be ordered and received on the same day—some in as little as 30 minutes, according to the announcement.

The company noted that its growth helps entire communities as well. “Job creation is an important factor in determining new store locations — we examine where Eyemart Express can make the biggest contribution to local economies with career opportunities,” Bender said. More than 300 jobs will be created for hourly wage earners as a result of the optical retailer’s expansion this year, according to the announcement.

“When local associates join our team, they are taught everything about prescription eyewear and are truly trained in a trade,” Gianna Venturi, chief people officer, said. “They become opticians and have those skills for the rest of their lives.”