Falling in love with an opticianry career through Pearle Vision

Support and business model of Pearle Vision enabled Licensed Operator Leanne Perry to switch to an opticianry career and business ownership

Many of Pearle Vision’s licensed operators come from different walks of life – not all are optometrists or even working in the eye care field. Take Leanne Perry, for example. Pearle Vision is her second career, and now she’s a multi-unit owner in Virginia Beach.

Pearle Vision Franchisee Leanne Perry
Optician and Pearle Vision Licensed Operator Leanne Perry

What is your professional background?
I have an interesting background – I studied criminal justice and worked with a defense lawyer, but I felt that it wasn’t what I wanted to do for my life. Fast-forward a few years and I went back to school for opticianry after working with my sister in a Pearle Vision center. I enjoyed working with patients so much that I eventually purchased the business from my employer, and a few years later, opened a second Pearle Vision EyeCare Center.

What did you like about Pearle Vision that got you to become an optician and a franchise owner?
I always liked to be my own boss. I’ve always been business-minded and organized; my minor in school was management. The store was already here and established, so that was a little bit more of an incentive to be able to help grow it, and then I’ve been able to start my own location from the ground up as well.

How many employees do you have?
I have seven employees. It is me and two others in my Virginia Beach office and then five here at the Norfolk office.

What kind of support do you get from Pearle Vision?
Pearle Vision has opened up lines of communication so that if we have any questions or if there are any issues, they have given us several outlets where we can direct our questions, get help, get answers or report problems that we are having.

There are also communities within Pearle Vision with the other Licensed Operators where we can communicate and help share ideas. There is kind of a camaraderie with all the other franchisees, and they are not afraid to share their ideas to help better your business. They have the same goals that you do in their licensed optician career, and that is to grow their business and to make it profitable.

How often are you in contact with your business consultants from corporate?
I hear from mine by email at least once a week. She sends out a newsletter which I like. In the newsletter, she puts the weekly standings, where we are at in sales in our region. That is stuff I like to know because I am competitive, I like to know where I stand. Other than that, she is usually in the area every three to six months.

Pearle Vision also has a National Franchise Advisory Council and regional Franchise Advisory Councils. I am on the FAC for my region. We discuss issues, concerns and positive things that are going on in the stores and I can forward things to my contact in the NFAC. They work with the Pearle Vision leadership team to get answers or feedback that we can share with our region. It makes you feel good, because they are going through the same thing we are going through and they may see a different side to it and offer a different perspective.

A smiling man in sunglasses hands a green popsicle to his daughter as his wife stands to the side, smiling and holding a red popsicle. A sunny beach and two bicyclists can be seen in the background.
Our high-quality eye care enables our patients to get more out of life.

What do you find is the genius of the Pearle Vision brand? What do you think Pearle Vision does better than anybody else that sets the brand apart?
I would say it all goes back to Dr. Pearle and the fact that he truly cared for his patients. That is what we have to deliver. We have a standard to uphold in delivering genuine eye care. We have a great reputation and people come in here and ask about our employees by name. Almost all of my employees have been here for at least eight or nine years so we have built relationships.

At my Norfolk store, we had a couple that came in. Their mom was in a nursing home and she needed new glasses. The manager here went to the nursing home to take measurements and brought frames with her. They had a prescription, so we were able to go see her at the nursing home, get the glasses ready and bring them to her. The daughter was so very thankful that we were able to do that. Not a lot of places would do that, but if there is a way that we can figure out how to help you, we try to do that.

What does a typical day look like for you?
I am at a really good point in my life where I get a little more time with my family. I have been married for 17 years and have three kids. My kids are 11, 12 and my stepson is 22. Right now, I would say I am in the office three to four days out of the week. Both of my stores are closed on Sundays and I have weekends off now, so I can spend that time off with my family. When we hold events outside of the store, my family comes, too, and they are very supportive. My kids wear Pearle Vision shirts when we are out in the community doing our events.

It has taken a long time to get to this point in my opticianry career. I have such a wonderful staff that I am able to spend more time with my kids at home. In the beginning, I did put in a lot of time and long nights. In order for something to grow, you are going to have to nurture it. I like to be hands-on and know how things are going.

Knowing what you know now after having owned the business for 10 years, if you were just starting out, would you do it again?
Yes, I would. It is definitely not easy. It was a challenge, but I like a challenge. You have to be willing to be patient if you are going to start out with your own store. You just have to be very patient, pray a lot and be willing to put time into it. It is going to take time, a lot of time.

I would definitely say that Pearle Vision is something that I would do again. My husband had asked me before why I’m not an independent, thinking that I could make more money that way. A lot of people think of the royalties you have to pay, but like I told him, you see that sign on my store, and there is a reason I pay for that name. It’s not just the name, it is all the other benefits that come with being a Pearle Vision store. To me, those benefits outweigh what I pay for royalties.

Learn about Pearle Vision business opportunities

To learn more about Pearle Vision and the opportunity to open your own optical store franchise and further your opticianry career, fill out the form on this page to request more information. We’re happy to answer your questions about the brand.

This article is not intended as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy a franchise. Within the U.S.A., we offer franchises solely by means of our Franchise Disclosure Document. Certain states in the U.S.A. and certain other countries have laws governing the offer and sale of franchises. If you are a resident of one of these states or countries, we will not offer you a franchise unless and until we have complied with applicable franchise investment law requirements in your jurisdiction.

Minnesota Franchise Registration No. F-6281