FO Safety Eyewear Business to Business


FO Safety Eyewear Business to Business
Shona Opdahl, Brian Bachman, Charlotte Kessler, Jeff MacPherson and Stephen McIntosh.
Providing Rx safety eyewear,
Photos by Shawn Fulton.
Safety Eyewear represents the culmination of
many years of thought, a couple of years of
planning, and now 12 months of very strong
operations,” says Stephen McIntosh, President. “We some time
ago identified a hole in the prescription eyewear industry that you
could drive a truck through, and that hole was the provision of
approved Rx safety eyewear in a business-to-business context.”
F.O. Safety Eyewear is one operating company within the
Factory Optical/Optiks International/Eyecandy Optiks group
of companies. Head office for the operation is in Regina, and
its digital lens manufacturing function is performed in the
Company’s wholly owned state-of-the-art digital lens fabrication
Having this lab has been a “game changer,” according to
McIntosh. “To add Rx safety lenses to a manufacturing process
that already process upwards of 250,000 lenses a year affords
us the ability to leverage these efficiencies and economies of
scale, and price our safety lenses accordingly.”
Further developments have been the appointment of Jeff
MacPherson as Chief Operating Officer, and Charlotte Kessler as
the full time Vice President of Business Development, attainment
of industry standard PICS designation, and the addition of latestgeneration specialized lens-edging equipment, dedicated to the
cutting of Rx safety lenses. Furthermore, a commitment to what
the group feels is the single finest line of safety frame available—
WileyX—out of California has enabled F.O. Safety Eyewear to
successfully roll-out its proprietary “Sealed and Close Fitting
Eyewear Program.”
The adoption of the WileyX safety frame line as a complement
to the Canadian gold standard OnGuard line and, together,
representative of their core frame line, is in itself an interesting
story. “Without boring anyone with the details, we came across
this line at a U.S. tradeshow, were immediately impressed by
its pedigree as the frame of choice for the U.S. military, and,
unbeknownst to the company, had it approved for Canadian
safety eyewear application. Fast forward to today, and we are by
far the largest distributor of this line in Canada.”
The manifest of these efforts is a client list today numbering
60 significant operations, with companies as small as a dozen
employees, up to companies with employment complements in
the thousands.
“We have deliberately constructed our marketing program
for F.O. Safety Eyewear to be flexible. Virtually every contract
we have is customized as we early on recognized that no two
companies share the identical needs,” notes McIntosh.
With a retail chain of 15 wholly owned stores in Western Canada
today and growing, the group is well positioned to service a large
number of its clients’ employees through its own distribution
network. Where it is not geographically possible to do this, “we
send Licensed Opticians trained in safety fitting and dispensing
wherever our clients require. We rent apartments where
necessary and put our people onsite full time, when asked.”
There are a number of organizations, according to McIntosh, that
appear to dabble in Rx safety eyewear, but none that embrace it
the way F.O. Safety Eyewear Inc. has. “I think that the traction that
we have generated in this initiative speaks volumes to not only
the effectiveness of our specific program, but to the unfulfilled
need out there. Our VP Business Development would be better
equipped to answer this, but I’m not sure that once a company
has listened to what we have to offer, the price and flexibility
with which we offer it at, anyone has said no. We just attended
a convention in Vancouver last month, and our expectation is for
another 20 corporate clients from that alone.”
Making a mark in the West
The Factory Optical and Optiks International group continues
to make its mark in Western Canada—today it’s in the early
stages of constructing two more “super-opticals” in downtown
Vancouver. Their destiny, however, would appear to be more
diverse than that. With the roll out F.O. Safety Eyewear Inc., their
mantra “that you really can be all things to all people” seems
to be realistic. Their success to date is well documented by
their designation by Quantum Shift ™ as one of the 40 most
promising private companies in Canada in 2009, and more
recently by their inclusion in the bestselling book That’ll Never
Work, published earlier this year.
To learn more about F.O. Safety Eyewear Inc., find them on the
Web at, or contact Charlotte Kessler,
Vice President of Business Development toll free at 1-855-5273661, or by email at [email protected]. BR
F.O. Safety Eyewear Inc.
#6 - 1713 Ross Ave. E, Regina SK
p: 306.775.2355
e: [email protected]