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When franchising meets innovation

Luxottica

In just five years Luxottica has emerged as one of Australia’s most innovative franchisors, creating a model that has seen its OPSM stores flourish despite the tough economic climate.

Sitting at number 4 on BRW’s Fast Franchises list this year, the OPSM brand was run under a store-owned model until 2008.

Peter Baily, director of franchising and acquisitions at Luxottica, believes that the brand has returned strongly because they have found franchisees strongly aligned with the brand.

“We’re looking for people who are aligned to our philosophy of providing great eye care, products, and customer service. If someone didn’t hold those things to heart, they probably wouldn’t fit in our business,” Baily said.

While Baily added the company looks for potential franchise partners with previous experience running a business, he believes the most important thing is that they’re truly passionate about business.

Luxottica offers several franchise models to suit different business goals and needs, offering franchise partners varying levels of involvement.

“We take care of all the back end…so running the store is quite straight-forward,” Baily said.

Bjorn Russell is one optometrist that jumped at the chance to be part of the OPSM brand, which now numbers over 350 stores.

He was a Just Spectacles franchisee for almost ten years, but after growing tired of running the shop’s back end, he switched to OPSM.

“I was looking for an opportunity to manage the entire shop’s operation, but not as an independent optometrist and all the stress that would bring. I wanted a framework that would give me a degree of autonomy, with back-up and other experience I needed,” Russell said.

As well as being OPSM’s very first franchise partner, Russell is also one of their most innovative, investing in new testing equipment.

“There are a lot of fairly expensive pieces of equipment you can purchase, and I’m a gadgets man so I jumped in and bought a whole lot of it. We used it and showed OPSM what was possible,” he added.

After looking at these results and conducting their own broader research, OPSM has rolled out new technology across stores nationwide to set itself apart from other eye care providers.