Two optical chains go into receivership

Two Canadian optical chains have succumbed to the competitive retail heat this summer.While the optical business is considered to be a hot category because more and more aging baby boomers need eyeglasses, discount chains have started to muscle out the moderate-...

Two Canadian optical chains have succumbed to the competitive retail heat this summer.

While the optical business is considered to be a hot category because more and more aging baby boomers need eyeglasses, discount chains have started to muscle out the moderate- and high-end vendors.

The Bayview Group, operator of 76 Bay Optical outlets in Hudson Bay stores, entered receivership in June.

And, last month, Standard Optical followed suit.

Geoffrey B. Roche, president and creative director of Geoffrey B. Roche & Partners Advertising, the Toronto agency with the Standard Optical account, cites deals offered to consumers by the discounters as a major contributor to the financial troubles suffered by his client.

While Bayview Group closed and all employees were let go, the receiver for Standard Optical is continuing to operate the company’s 149 stores and is looking for a buyer.

Roche says he has not heard anything new about the status of Standard, and is waiting to hear from the receiver about whether a new radio campaign created by his shop for one of Standard’s chains – Shorney’s Optical – will make it to air.

Standard’s holdings include Shorney’s Optical, Braddock Optical, 19 franchised Optical Factory stores, and Eatons Optical through a licensing agreement with Eaton’s.

Standard was owned by Snowdon Management Group, which bought it last July from PAJA Group, the owner of optical distributor Imperial Optical Canada.

LA Ads/Lawrence Ayliffe of Toronto, which had handled advertising for the 70-outlet Bay Optical chain for about four years, resigned the account at the beginning of the year when there was an indication there might be financial problems.

Campbell & Michener of Toronto did some work for Bay Optical after that.

Media placement was with Toronto’s Harrison Young Pesonen & Newell.