Niche Retail Franchise is Defying the Odds with Record Growth

Franchise industry, franchisors, franchisees

My Eyelab is Disrupting the Eye Care Industry 

Not many businesses will report record growth in 2020. In reality, most have been grateful to keep afloat through the pandemic. Of course, there are always exceptions and My Eyelab happens to be one of them. 

Not only has the eye care retailer been enjoying a double digit, year-over-year increase in sales in 2020, but it has also seen incredible franchise growth. “This is going to be our best year ever for franchise sales,” says Charles Kowanetz, Director of Franchise Development (above, in blazer). “Forty percent of the growth is due to current franchise owners doubling down,” he adds. 

So, why is a retail eye care franchise booming in the middle of a pandemic? Kowanetz attributes it to many factors, but to sum it up, he says that My Eyelab is a total disruptor. “We are taking an industry and changing it,” says Kowanetz. “We’re making eye care and the entire customer experience easy and affordable.”

Disrupting an Industry

My Eyelab has taken the eye care industry by storm. Kowanetz says the competition can’t come close to its value proposition, and people are taking notice—especially investors. “This is not your typical retail franchise. It’s easy to manage, has low inventory, and only requires a few employees,” he says. 

The company’s use of proprietary telehealth technology allows franchisees to leverage My Eyelab’s available doctor network and creates a whole new level of convenience. Customers can just walk in and get an eye exam. No appointment is necessary because the doctor is always “in.” Customers can also schedule appointments online.  

While most eye care retailers focus on an upscale clientele, My Eyelab is a value business and attracts a customer who has an average household income of around 75k. “Many of our customers are without eye care insurance, but they can come here and get real value,” Kowanetz says. “Families come in for the two-for-one deals.” COVID put a damper on My Eyelab’s usual back-to-school rush, but there was a steady stream of families coming in throughout the school year. “Virtual learning has caused a lot of eye strain,” says Kowanetz.

Record Growth 

Kowanetz says that the company is attracting multi-unit ownership and serious investors. “The average franchisee owns 3.5 units,” he says. Although My Eyelab offers semi-absentee ownership, Kowanetz says the most successful franchisees focus their attention on the business with a full-time effort. He says that the company is attracting high-quality candidates because the corporate team has created a top-notch franchise system with amazing support, well-though-out systems and a commitment to continuous improvement. 

With 36 stores in development, 2021 promises to be another record year for My Eyelab. Kowanetz predicts that the company’s momentum will continue. “The bottom line is that this is a stable, essential business that focuses on customer satisfaction and innovation. It’s a perfect storm for success,” he says. 


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Jill Abrahamsen’s career spans more than 20 years in editorial, design, and marketing roles. She serves as editor-in-chief of Franchise Consultant Magazine and FranchiseWire. Through both platforms, Jill reports on franchising news and helps Franchisors spread the word about their brands.
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