“These glasses cost how much?” If you’ve been shopping for new glasses recently, it’s likely you also suffered from sticker shock. Especially if you, or your kids, are fashion forward and looking for the trendiest new looks or hottest designer frames. But all is not lost. Great Glasses founder Bruce Bergez wants you to know it doesn’t have to be this way and that the day of over-priced eyewear has gone the way of the dodo — though can still be found at many optical shops due to a lack of competition. Bergez explains that while on the surface it appears consumers have endless choices, when it comes to shopping for glasses the truth is hundreds of optical companies are owned by the same massive corporation. He explains that Essilor, a French corporation founded in the 1800s, has spent the past 20 years acquiring almost 250 optical companies. In 2017, Essilor bought Luxottica for about $24 billion, bringing together the largest manufacturer and retailer in eyewear. Luxottica, which makes frames for Ray Ban, Armani,
Chanel and Prada, is also the largest eyeglass retailer in the business with chains, including Lenscrafters, Pearle Vision and Sunglass Hut. Bergez says even though the merger received approval by regulators in the U.S. and European Union — and even passed an anti-trust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission — many business experts consider the end result a monopoly. In 2017 journalist Sam Knight wrote about that merger in the Guardian newspaper; “in seven centuries of spectacles, there has never been anything like it. The new entity will be worth around $50 billion, sell close to a billion pairs of lenses and frames every year, and have a workforce of more than 140,000 people.” Bergez says Canada is also affected by this monopoly. “The eyewear business in Canada is a very manipulative business,” says Bergez. “Due to the lack of competition in selling eyewear, companies have been overpricing glasses for decades. Without access to extraordinary care and fair prices many people will not receive the treatment that they deserve.” It’s that monopoly and ensuing “rip-off” tactics that inspired Bergez to launch Great Glasses in 1983 with a promise to offer proper value to customers. “We are here to provide the wonderful people of B.C. with service that will aid vision issues at a price that is honest and fair,” says Bergez. “We provide accurate and precise eye examinations and prescriptions to those who really need it. We will not sit by and let the hardworking people of British Columbia be deceived into paying for products and services at unfair prices.”
Bergez was determined to revolutionize the eyeglass business long before the Essilor/ Luxottica merger and for more than three decades has been doing just that. To that end, Great Glasses offers a three-for-one package so consumers can choose the ideal glasses for home, work and play. So whether you need glasses for driving, work or fashion frames for a night out, you no longer have to settle on just one design. What’s even better? You have an entire year to settle on your glasses of choice, so no pressure. For more information, contact us or come visit one of our stores.