Last year posed significant challenges to business owners in the retail industry. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, nearly every aspect of people’s lives was disrupted. The My Eyelab business model has proven to be robust through innovative use of technology, allowing us to continue growing through franchising – earning awards and achieving major milestones throughout 2020.
An Award-Winning Retail Eye Care Franchise
We started out strong in 2020 celebrating our first year being named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s annual Franchise 500 list. Among thousands of franchise brands, being ranked among the top 500 franchisors is a much sought-after honor, recognizing outstanding performance in areas including unit growth, financial strength and stability and brand power.
“As the My Eyelab franchise continues to expand, this ranking showcases all of our collective efforts to be a leading eye care brand,” said Daniel Stanton, founder and chief executive officer for Now Optics – the parent company of My Eyelab. “The future is bright, and the team is working as we speak to build upon this recognition in the future.”
Recently, we were ranked in the top 20 Entrepreneur’s Top New Franchises, represented by brands that have been franchising for five years or less.
Even in the face of a global pandemic, My Eyelab franchisees were able to persevere and provide consumers with essential products and services. In April, we reached 700,000 telehealth eye exams performed across our network of stores.
Through our virtual built-in doctor network and proprietary, innovative telehealth technology, franchisees, and their staff perform more eye exams at a lower cost – providing the same level of quality and accuracy as in-person eye exams. Each exam takes as little as 10 minutes to complete. Customers can book their appointment over the phone, online or in-person. This allows for same-day and walk-in appointments, resulting in a low-transaction, high-margin business.
This simplified business model enabled our brand to reach 1,000,000 telehealth eye exams in October. This is a testament not only to the viability of our brand and technology, but also the trust our customers continue to place in us.
My Eyelab Franchise Development Continues throughout the Pandemic
We were fortunate the momentum we built in 2019 never relented. The new openings and signings in 2020 mark a 40 percent year-to-date growth rate over last year, with 23 units currently in development.
Throughout the year, we reinforced our presence in existing markets and broke into new markets with robust development. Franchisees opened new My Eyelab stores in Georgia, including Conyers, Douglasville, Dawsonville, Covington, and Fayetteville.
In Texas, we further solidified our presence with new stores in Forney, Deer Park, Pearland, and Spring. We introduced our first franchised locations in the state of Florida in Pompano Beach and Plantation. Similarly, we broke ground in the Golden State, opening our first store in Modesto, CA.
At the same time, we’ve kept the development pipeline filled, awarding four units in the Dallas – Fort Worth metropolitan area in July. In November alone, 22 units were sold in Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Atlanta.
In December, we signed an agreement that will bring eight new franchise stores to the Austin and Fort Worth markets.
“We are excited to be joining a brand that has great unit economics, low start-up costs and low ongoing operating costs with an intent on serving a wide array of consumers looking for a dependable place to find a pair of glasses, contacts, and other eyewear,” said Arash Ghanbari, a UT Dallas MBA graduate and new My Eyelab partner. “This is a game-changing brand which will be at the forefront of telemedicine for optical needs, and we believe telehealth to be a huge part of the future.”
Optimistic About the Future
With more than 50 franchise stores currently open, we’ve had one of our most successful years as a franchise brand.
“Now more than ever people are looking for eye care that is safe, convenient, and affordable,” Now Optics founder and chief executive officer Daniel Stanton said. “We look forward to filling that need as we partner with hard-working and ambitious entrepreneurs across the country.”
In 2021, we’ll continue to expand our retail footprint. Between sister brands My Eyelab and Stanton Optical, Now Optics has more than 200 corporate and franchised stores open in 27 states.