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THE COT! Q+A

The Inside Line...With Paula Puleo Blomquist

COT! chats with Paula Puleo Blomquist, chief marketing and merchandising officer at Eyemart Express, to get her take on what’s on the horizon for the Dallas-based retailer

Paula Puleo Blomquist knows corporate retail merchandising and marketing inside and out. She and her teams are responsible for all elements of frame buying and development for all Eyemart Express locations, more than 200 stores in 40 states across the country. On the marketing side, Blomquist’s team is responsible for all media efforts, including PR, social media, and customer relationship marketing. Here, we catch up with this dynamic leader to get an inside view of Eyemart Express today and looking to the future.

PAULA PULEO BLOMQUIST

GROWTH

Q. What are Eyemart Express’ current plans for expansion?

A. “Entering Florida last summer was an exciting milestone because it also marked the opening of our 200th store. We are on track to open 25 new stores and expand into four new states this year. Our expanding footprint has led to growing our Eyemart family with hundreds of new store employees.”

OPTOMETRISTS

Q. How many O.D.s does Eyemart Express employ?

A. “More than 400 independent doctors of optometry currently have practices next to our stores. Our model allows the doctors to focus on patient care, while we, at Eyemart Express, own the business of running an optical dispensary with same-day service right next door.”

POSITIONING

Q. What’s Eyemart Express’ main messaging?

A. “We launched ‘The Right Team’ brand campaign in 2017, with the supporting tagline of ‘Right Glasses, Right Price, Right Now.’

“We are positioned as a value player in the optical space, offering great prices on both single-vision and progressive glasses. We also take pride in our robust product selection, which is comprised of more than 2,000 frames from name brands to our private label collections and sun.

“Our key differentiator is our speed. We have full-service labs in all stores and can deliver same-day glasses more than 90% of the time. These three brand pillars are communicated across a fully diversified media plan that includes television, digital, local events, and CRM.”

MIX

Q. What’s Eyemart Express’ merchandising strategy?

A. “When you visit any of our stores, you will quickly see we have frames for everyone across price point and style. We are very proud of the fashionable and high-quality private label brands we have created.

“This part of our merchandise strategy will remain a priority throughout 2020. We also carry designer brands that resonate with our customers.”

NEXT

Q. What’s ahead in 2020?

A. “We celebrate our 30th birthday this month and will continue to focus on the core values from our founding: providing excellent customer service and delivering on our brand promise of selection, price, and speed.

“Our mission is to ensure that our customers’ glasses are comfortable and they can see clearly.

“It’s a great day at Eyemart Express when a child gets their first pair of glasses and their vision is corrected. Their confidence shines right in front of us and they get to ring our #MyFirstGlasses cowbell. Who doesn’t want more cowbell?!” COT!