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HomeminewsOPSM Lures Optomeyes with New Franchise Model

OPSM Lures Optomeyes with New Franchise Model

OPSM has agreed to a new franchise model to secure 10 established practices in the state of Tasmania. The franchise model is a joint venture arrangement between three former partners of the Optomeyes group, Luxottica’s former manager of its Queensland Laubman and Pank stores and Luxottica itself.

Luxottica’s director of franchising and acquisitions, Peter Baily said the joint venture with Optomeyes was an unusual arrangement for OPSM but one that “ticked all the boxes”.

“Optomeyes is a great business, with state wide representation and a really good team of people. We’ve partnered with them and brought to them our assets of a great brand, solid systems, product supply and marketing.”

Luxottica operates three franchise models – Full Franchise, Optometry Franchise and Alliance Franchise. Under the Full Franchise model, where both the optometry and retail side of the business are owned and operated by the Franchise Partner, the Franchise Partner can acquire an existing corporate owned OPSM store; can convert their independent store to an OPSM store under the franchise model or can start a ‘blended environment’ by buying an existing independent store then converting it to OPSM.

…the arrangement with Optomeyes differs… we chose to do (this one) as a joint venture arrangement – to add our stores to the new entity and share ownership of the business…

Mr. Baily said the arrangement with Optomeyes differs from Luxottica’s blended franchise model because “we chose to do (this one) as a joint venture arrangement – to add our stores to the new entity and share ownership of the business.”

In 2013 Luxottica established 43 franchises, taking the total number to 111. Mr. Baily hopes to grow the number of franchises it operates in Australia under the OPSM brand by a similar amount in 2014.

“The market is changing fast. There are still high quality independents doing well but a whole bunch are doing it hard and there are certainly lots who are looking for an opportunity to make life easier which is something we can provide,” he said.

Optomeyes Major Move

Under the arrangement with Optomeyes all 10 Optomeyes practices were merged with six existing OPSM practices operating in Tasmania. All practices will be branded OPSM. Some of the original Optomeyes owners took the change in direction for the business as an opportunity to sell their equity in the business and move to employees.

Luxottica’s former manager for the Queensland Laubman and Pank stores, Mathew Bradford has joined the Tasmanian based group as a partner and general manager, in a move that will enable the former Optomeyes partners more time to practise optometry.

“Our partner optometrists were spending significant time running the business, managing administration and human resources, said Andrew Hogan who has stayed on as a partner in the new joint venture, along with his former Optomeyes partners Tim Powell and Heath Davis. “We had a full time optometrist whose time was spent choosing frames for our practices. It wasn’t sustainable, so this new arrangement will make life a lot easier,” said Mr. Hogan.

The joint venture arrangement enabled three of the original Optomeyes partners to implement their own succession plans.

“Optomeyes had many different owners in different places. Three, (Ian Bourchier, Greg Dennis and Susan Sluce) found this (the joint venture agreement) was a great time to step back and not have the worries of managing a day to day business. They are still with the business but can now concentrate on optometry, which is what they’re passionate about,” said Mr. Baily.

Mr. Baily said while 2013 was a “fantastic year for growth,” there are no acquisitions or joint ventures of the size and complexity of Optomeyes in the pipeline just yet.

“These conversations take some time… optometrists by nature are conservative and can be risk averse – and that’s fine. We’re happy to take the time to walk them through all that it means to enter into a franchise. This is a true franchise partnership – people operate under our brand and within our systems, but we encourage them to develop their own business, their own strategy.”

With 111 franchises now in operation, he said franchising has become a significant focus of the Luxottica business.