On November 1, 2017, Nautic Partners announced it created "Healthy Eyes Advantage" in partnership with four industry companies to form an alliance of eye care professionals. Healthy Eyes acquired substantially all the assets of Block Buying Group; C&E Vision Services; HMI, including Red Tray and Club Zero; and Vision West. Together, Healthy Eyes will serve over 10,000 independent eyecare professionals.
Founded in the early 1980s when independent practitioners faced growing competition from national chains, BBG, C&E, HMI, and Vision West set out to support the competitiveness of the independent channel by aggregating purchasing services allowing for efficient interaction with the eyecare supply chain. Thirty years later, the four companies that started the industry are now joining together to continue their long-standing commitment to support ECPs. The newly formed Healthy Eyes alliance will expand upon this commitment and offer new and unparalleled access, services, education, and networking to independent optometrists, ophthalmologists, and opticians. As the largest alliance in the country, HEA will set the standard of independent community and network services offered to the industry.
In forming HEA, Nautic has partnered with industry leaders who collectively have over 100 years of experience serving the independent eyecare channel. The HEA team includes Jeff Rinkus, the former Chief Operating Officer of ABB Optical; Andrew Alcorn, the former Chief Executive Officer of Block Vision and Chairman of Superior Vision; and Dr. Joe Mallinger, former Chief Executive Officer of Vision West, Past President of the California Optometric Association, and President Elect of Optometry Cares, the AOA’s Charitable Foundation. In addition to the executive team, Michael Block, founder and CEO of BBG and pioneer of the eyecare buying group industry; and Brad Shapiro, Principal of C&E and Vision West, have joined the board of Healthy Eyes and are serving as Senior Advisors to the company.
“Together, the four buying groups provide purchasing services and management support to more than 10,000 optometrists, ophthalmologists, and opticians across the country with over $500 million in purchasing power," Jeff Rinkus, CEO of Healthy Eyes, said in a company news release. "These numbers give us an opportunity to partner with leading industry suppliers to develop innovative purchasing programs that will further reduce our members’ largest expense, their cost of goods. We will also be building a peer network of independent practitioners to assist with marketing, managed care, staffing, accounting, and other practice management challenges.”
Each of these groups has helped the independent eyecare professional community provide great value to its patients and succeed in the marketplace. Given our partnership with Nautic and the strength of the Healthy Eyes platform, our vision of delivering differentiated value to independent eyecare professionals and being their eyecare business solution will continue at an unprecedented scale," Dr. Mallinger added.
“We are thrilled to partner with an incredible group of executives to form Healthy Eyes Advantage,” said Chris Corey, Managing Director of Nautic. “The combination of these four eyecare buying groups provides an outstanding foundation to serve and best position independent eyecare professionals for success in today’s evolving market and into the future.”