PECAA_Portraits-019By: Chris Millet
Chief Operating Officer

PECAA Attends 2014 Vision Expo East as a Voice for the Independent Eye Care Professional

Traveling to New York City for Vision Expo East is an emotional combination of excitement, curiosity, and stress. Excitement because there is always so much to see, hear, and learn from attending one of our industry’s largest events. Curiosity because we get to see so many new and exciting products and meet with potential new PECAA Vendor Partners. Stress because each day begins and ends with meetings, when there is so much to see and not enough time to experience it all. For those of you that attend VEE on a regular basis, you can relate to this statement. For those that have never experienced it, we invite you to come join us next year in the Big Apple so you too can feel like a kid in a candy store! (Is that phrase even relevant any more? Should it be like a kid in an App Store? I will let you decide, let’s get back to attending VEE.)

PECAA Team Learns About New Wearable Digital Technology – Including Google Glass

PECAA begins our trip in the same way every year. The Leadership Team flies into New York on Tuesday so we can attend the Vision Summit Meeting, which takes place on Wednesday. This meeting is hosted by Jobson and is attended by all of the major manufacturers in our industry. It focuses on new trends and covers what is going on right now in the world of vision, from a variety of perspectives. This year, we learned about Google Glass and several other wearable digital technologies. It is interesting for me to see where the world is going with vision devices and makes me think back to the Sci-Fi movies I used to watch as a kid. Many of these new devices we heard about will be available on the market very soon and in some cases, are only months away, not years! The one common link to all of these devices is the creators are working to connect directly to the consumer. They are not looking to the traditional eye care market to promote their products.

PECAA is a Voice for You, The Independent Eye Care Professional

The final thing that is so important for PECAA is that we attend this event as your ears and eyes. As I stated earlier, this meeting is largely attended by the manufacturers and space is limited. That means the Independent Eye Care Professional is mostly absent. There are always a few who attend, but they represent a small percentage of the total attendance. It is greatly important for PECAA to be there as a representative and a voice for you, the Independent. With so much going on in your businesses, do you have the time to research what could potentially be impacting your future?
This is one of the hidden benefits of being a PECAA Member that is so often forgotten. Who is representing your interests? The major manufacturers? Retailers? How about the Optometric Society Groups? The answer is a resounding NO! The PECAA Leadership Team is there to learn first hand. Plus, we have the opportunity to speak with some of these companies, building potential relationships that could either benefit or limit the loss for you. One of our primary goals has always been to represent your interests, and we take this responsibility seriously.

Researching New Vendor Partners & Creating Better Member Programs

Starting on Thursday morning, we begin our marathon stretch of meetings until we depart on Saturday evening. We meet with each of our major existing Vendor Partners: ZEISS, VSP, HOYA Vision Care, Luxottica, Vistakon, Bausch + Lomb, etc., to discuss future programs, products, promotions, and opportunities. We also meet with potential Partners to see if their company and product offerings will meet the needs of our Members. These meetings are often the beginning to a lengthy process or the conclusion to finalize a new Member program.

Welcome Two New PECAA Vendor Partners, Adlens & De Rigo Vision

I’m pleased to announce that during this year’s meeting we added two new Vendor Partners: Adlens & De Rigo Vision. Adlens is our first true partnership that will take our group into the wearable digital eyewear realm. Their AdlensFocuss™ product will be released to our Members early next year and will offer our Members the opportunity to really promote a product with “variable focus” technology.
De Rigo Vision is our newest frame partner. They are new to the North American market and offer our Members several designer collections that are not sold in major retail stores today. De Rigo will be attending PECAA’s Spring Trunk Shows this month in Kansas City, Seattle, Portland an Boise. If you haven’t registered for these shows yet, definitely go look at their products if you can. Both Adlens and De Rigo will be exhibiting at the Annual Meeting, May 2-4, 2014 in San Antonio, TX.
After a total of 22 meetings during VEE, we finally head to the airport to digest all of the information gathered. We’ve learned about many new products and developed new programs that PECAA Members will benefit from over the coming months. We share amongst each other our most advantageous meetings, ideas, and potential partners to get a unified direction on our next steps. Vision Expo East is truly a major event for all PECAA Members and we are there on your behalf to ensure that your voice is heard and your needs are met!
Thank you for being a PECAA Member and I’m looking forward to seeing you soon at the Annual Meeting!

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