Eyecare Business April

APR 2017

Issue link: https://eyecarebusiness.epubxp.com/i/806121

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Page 39 of 99

We aren't a boutique—that's not who we are—but we will bring in a different level of brands, let's say Tom Ford as one example, that we don't carry in our base locations. eb: How will your inventory and merchandising be tailored to the demographic in your newer locations? dh: We don't want to become an eclectic brand, that's not who we are. But we're going to elevate the level of branding using our current vendor partners by allowing them to enhance the in-store experi- ence. For example, in the Third Ward location, we created the largest Ray-Ban experience in the state. They brought in a wall wrap, basically a quarter of our store. We will say [to vendors], "Bring us your A game in how you want your products repre- sented. How can we make the in-store experi- ence exciting?" eb: How do you manage a busi- ness with 40 stores in demo- graphically diverse locations? dh: Part of it is building the algorithms where managed care is concerned. Our livelihood is based on determining what the reimbursements will be. Fashion is the fun part of our business, but we are diligent about meeting with our partners every six months to determine if product is moving, if one brand isn't selling— maybe Brand XYZ is hot today but will be out tomorrow. That's why working with key vendor accounts is so important; so we aren't stuck with product. eb: Wisconsin Vision started out early with managed care. What changes have you seen? dh: We aren't just selling eyeglasses and eye exams and contact lenses anymore. We are managing relation- ships. Managed care companies require more from us today in terms of reporting pathologies and managing how many frames we buy and how many of our patients participate in our networks. So, a lot goes into managing this back engine now than it did 15 years ago. eb: To what do you attribute your success as a company? dh: It's a tribute to our team. We tell our staff, "Tell us what you need to be successful," and we listen. There is a lot of bottom-up feeding. eb: How has the optical experience changed in the last 20 years? dh: The Internet has changed all our lives—and retailing, in particular. That said, we need a well-trained staff that understand optics, so that they can trouble- shoot if necessary. We try to put programs in place that reso- nate with customers, shipping contact lenses directly to their homes, for example. We also launched a new website and social media campaign recently, using Facebook and Instagram. We look at our Internet presence as a living, breathing organism by keeping it updated and fresh. People want to know what you are doing tomorrow, not what you did yesterday. —Frances Nuelle 24 hours in Milwaukee Darren Horndasch shares his view of the city's best gems: "We have the largest outdoor music festival here, called SummerFest, which runs over 11 days in June and July along the shore of Lake Michigan. In fact, Lake Michigan gives us the most exquisite lakefront for all water activities during the sum- mer. We have some great hiking trails and great scenery up near Lake Winnebago. "For food and atmo- sphere, try Cafe Benelux in Milwaukee's Third Ward, or one of my favorite places on the lakefront, Harbor House. "Other Milwaukee must- tries include Leon's Frozen Custard, a brat, and if you're here on a Friday, the fish fry. I don't care where you go, even a Mexican restaurant will have a good fish fry on Friday." B U Y E R ' S F O R U M 38 E y e c a r e B u s i n e s s . c o m April 2017 Wisconsin Vision's store in Milwaukee's hip Third Ward was its first upscale location The company relies on vendors to bring brand power and visual impact to its newer stores

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