Veteran Puts Detail and Discipline to Good Use as Licensed Operator
Pearle Vision® can be a great franchise opportunity for veterans, combining their drive and leadership abilities with our operational support
For people like Pearle Vision Licensed Operator Gene Krupa, military service can provide a strong backbone for their careers for the rest of their lives. With the discipline and attention to detail he developed in the Marine Corps, Krupa has forged a distinguished career in the optical industry with Pearle Vision, as both an employee and a longtime, multi-unit operator. Below, Krupa discusses his career and how he views Pearle Vision as a supportive franchise opportunity for veterans.
What is your background?
I served four years active duty in the Marine Corps, achieving the rank of sergeant.
After my time in the military, I was recruited by a regional manager for Pearle Vision. I started as a manager trainee in 1988 and trained under several store managers in the Minneapolis market. I was selected to become a regional trainer and was sent to Pearle’s headquarters in Dallas for advanced training. This is where I first met Dr. Pearle. I was later promoted to National Trainer and traveled the country presenting training seminars. I eventually transferred to Pearle Vision’s headquarters and my office was down the hall from Dr. Pearle. I got to know him personally and feel honored that I am able to continue the traditions that he started.
What’s your history as a Licensed Operator with Pearle Vision?
I franchised my first location in 1991. About a year after that, we opened two more locations, and ultimately operated nine stores. At the time, it was Pearle’s largest franchise operation with more than 120 employees and optometrists. Although that was many years ago, it illustrates the fact that I think Pearle Vision is a great organization. Currently, I’m content as a single-store operator. I have a greater ability to personally manage my staff and make sure that our patients are being taken care of. In 13 years of ownership, this store has tripled in business.
You’ve been with the company a long time. What are some of the ways that you’ve seen it change and grow in your time?
When I got into franchising in the early ’90s, there were some pretty incredible opportunities, but then a change of corporate ownership caused problems for a lot of franchise owners that were kind of struggling. Today, I think it’s a whole different story. The parent company, Luxottica, has a very successful track record. I think they are more realistic with their expectations and provide the training and support necessary to be successful.
I think some of the biggest changes have been in the recent years. The transition to digital lens products and the digital technology in the manufacturing process gives us a far better end product than back in the day when everything was done manually.
In what ways has your military experience impacted the way you run the business?
Discipline and attention to detail. Similar to the way I took care of the Marines I was in charge of, I also like to take care of my employees. Essentially, my staff is my front line, but my customers are the most important aspect to my business, so we focus very heavily on our level of service.
I have a sense of organization, attention to detail, honor and integrity. Those are personal values of mine, and a lot of those I learned while I was in Marine Corps. They have greatly impacted the way I do business.
Why do you think Pearle Vision is an attractive franchise opportunity for veterans?
I think of Pearle Vision as a great opportunity today more than ever. For someone considering a Pearle franchise, they should know that we have an incredible franchise community nationwide. I’m fortunate because in the Minneapolis market, we have the opportunity to meet regularly and help one another be successful.
I think that military service is great preparation. Because I believe in honor, integrity and discipline, I think those are all important aspects to make a person successful in the optical industry or any other business.
What are some of the ways Pearle Vision has supported you as a Licensed Operator?
I think there’s so much value with Pearle. In my opinion, there is far more support than you would get running independently, and there are so many built-in efficiencies. First and foremost is the level of advertising. We contribute a percentage of our sales to an advertising budget, and I doubt a private or independent operator could promote and advertise at that level. Pearle Vision is a nationally recognized brand. Here in the Minneapolis market, we are a very successful group, so we tend to get additional funds to allocate locally. Additionally, Pearle promotes community involvement and charitable events. Fundraising events, like our market’s annual golf tournament, help raise money to support the OneSight foundation.
Learn more about Pearle Vision
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