I was born and raised in Colorado. We know Winter very well. We know snow. We know how to have more fun in the snow than probably anywhere else in the country. Yet one of the things I always dread is packing for a week of cold New York City end of Winter weather every March for Vision Expo East. By the sounds of what I just wrote you must think I hate Vision Expo. On the contrary. I love it!
Yes, I wish we were all gathering someplace warm, maybe with sandy beaches, palm trees, and drinks with tiny umbrellas, but well over ten thousand of us will soon descend upon the Big Apple the last weekend in March to live, breathe, touch, taste, smell, and learn everything optical during Vision Expo East 2020.
New York City is the business capital of the world. From the moment you enter Manhattan and head towards the Jacob Javits Center, there is an air that makes you want to work that much harder, learn that much more, be that much better, at what you do…and what we do, is make people look good and see good.
Vision Expo East is one of the largest optical trade shows in the world. It is easily the largest optical classroom in the world with over 321 hours of education offered for optometrists, ophthalmologists, and opticians alike seeking Continuing Education credits and real-world knowledge about how to do our jobs better, to serve our patients and customers better. That’s practically two solid weeks of education squeezed into 4 days.
Vision Expo East is the best opportunity the American optical community has to look, touch, and feel hundreds of brands, thousands of models, in dozens of colors of eyeglasses and sunglasses you could never do at home in your own shop. Vision Expo East is where you can not only try them on for yourselves but compare every model against hundreds of thousands of square feet of competing products. Vision Expo East is where you can find virtually every piece of equipment to provide a better exam, cut a better lens, or more accurately fill every patient’s needs.
In our opinion, Vision Expo East isn’t a nice to do, but a must-do, if you and your optical shop want to not just survive the 2020’s but thrive in our ever more competitive optical world.
Let’s address the looming elephant in the room, or more to the point, not in the room…yet. Covid-19, or the Coronavirus. There is a bit of trepidation on some people’s possible participation due to the spreading of the virus. MIDO was forced to postpone its 50th Anniversary celebration due to the rapid escalation of infections in and around Milan that was to take place starting tomorrow. So too did the Korean trade show, diops 2020, that was scheduled for April 8-10, 2020. As of the writing of this, there have been over 400 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Italy, 140 in Iran, and 1,300 in Korea, including 1 US soldier. Meanwhile, in the US, there have been 57 confirmed cases. That number includes 42 people who were returned by the State Department from the Diamond Princess cruise ship and another 3 American citizens who were flown home from China. So as of this February 26, there have been 15 local cases of Coronavirus in the United States out of a total population of 327 million people. None of the local infections came from the New York City area and no new cases have been reported inside the United States in more than 2 weeks. Barring any last-minute infection and spread, Vision Expo East should go as planned. With the delay of both MIDO and dipos, Vision Expo East 2020 will become the most important showcase of what’s new in optical for the first half of 2020.
Expo East runs from Thursday, March 26th through Sunday, March 29th. That’s one day longer than the show has traditionally been. Vision That fourth extra day may make the show excruciating long for those working the show, no doubt, and our hats are off to you for doing so. However, in our opinion, having a fourth day will make the show that much more exciting. For those who schedule well, you will be able to build in an hour or two every day to stop and see new lines, new lenses, new equipment, and new services, that you might have been to busy running past in previous shows to make your next appointment. This extra fourth day could possibly give your shop that golden nugget you need to stand out from your competition.
Not only is the show a day longer, but the entire show has undergone a major renovation for 2020. Refreshed and rebranded, there are now three new distinct neighborhoods being debuted at Vision Expo East 2020.
The Union – The shopping experience with hip, fashion-forward lifestyle brands.
The Springs – A new incubator area for emerging new talent and new designs in eyewear
The River – Daring design-driven brands and products. A virtual show within a show.
Even if all this were somehow not enough, and I have no idea how most people can even walk after a day of working Vision Expo, you will be in New York City, the city that never sleeps. There are some of the world’s great art treasures, some of the world’s greatest performing arts, some of the world’s greatest shopping, and some of the world’s best restaurants too.
Vision Expo East should be a part of every optical shop’s plans for success in 2020. There is still plenty of time to get a good rate of airfare and even a decent hotel at a decent price. Yes, New York City is almost always cold and windy during Vision Expo East, but what’s inside will excite you and bring a smile to anyone who attends. I sincerely hope to share a smile with you in New York next month. In case you’ve missed where to sign up, just click here.