Partnership, Creative Promotions, Education Initiatives Key to Success
PINELLAS PARK, Fla., Feb. 5, 2004 – Transitions Optical, Inc. named Toledo Optical its Lab of the Year for 2003 at a recognition event Jan. 27 at Islands of Adventures in Universal Studios, Orlando, Fla., during Transitions Academy ’04. Close to 1,000 industry partners from 22 countries attended the fun-filled event honoring Toledo and celebrating all of their strong partnerships with Transitions Optical. Toledo Optical, founded in 1947, serves eyecare professionals in the Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Pennsylvania areas.

“Toledo Optical epitomizes everything that has come to be represented by the Lab of the Year, from partnership to great creative marketing to education,” said P.J. Downes, sales director labs/ECPs, Transitions, who presented the award. “What really separated Toledo from the rest of the nominees was its unwavering commitment to win this recognition.”

Toledo set its sights on becoming a Transitions Lab of the Year in 2001, and was among the finalists for the 2002 award. The company made winning the award integral to its business plan and involved the entire staff in its quest, according to Irland Tashima, president, who accepted the award. Enthusiastically joining him on stage were close to a dozen other Toledo representatives, and the lab’s Transitions Solutions Team representative Chris Borton and Transitions Central Zone Manager Kevin Birkel.

“Every time I think about winning the award, I just can’t stop smiling,” said Tashima. “We’ve had our eyes on this prize for several years, so it’s especially gratifying to be in the spotlight.”

“Toledo exemplifies longevity in partnership with Transitions,” Downes explained. Representatives from Toledo have attended every Transitions Academy since the event began eight years ago and have undertaken their own annual education initiatives such as their popular Toledo University Program, which last year featured a Transitions-sponsored general session.

“In 2003, we were building on what was already a strong partnership with Transitions,” said Kenneth Green, vice president, Toledo. “We focused on education, using Transitions modules to present nearly 200 training sessions to our customers.” He added, “We also continued to leverage all the great business-building tools Transitions offers, and have featured Transitions in our newsletter, online and in our on-hold messages.”

Looking to the Future

Toledo Optical is planning for continued success with Transitions Lenses in 2004, particularly by maintaining its focus on Transitions as a healthy vision solution.

“Transitions Lenses are an outstanding premium product and the eye health benefits make the lenses an ideal everyday lens,” said Jeff Szymanski, sales manager, Toledo. “We plan to embrace this important eye health message in our educational and marketing outreach.”

In explaining goals for 2004, Toledo has also made clear its intention to continue to build on its strong partnership with Transitions.

“The award is just the beginning,” said Szymanski. “We’ve always been aware of Transitions’ commitment to us and know we will continue to grow together in the future. It’s nice
to know that even a small, family-owned lab can be so important in the eyes of a true partner and be among the prestigious list of Lab of the Year winners.”

Lab of the Year Award Growing Globally

Toledo was among top labs from Latin America, Brazil and Canada recognized during the Lab of the Year event, which has continued to grow to celebrate top performers in all of these regions. The Lab of the Year title was awarded for the first time to Latin American and Brazilian labs at this year’s event.
The U.S. Transitions Lab of the Year award is presented to a Transitions Platinum Elite STAR Lab that has made a significant commitment to growing its business with Transitions Optical. Criteria include implementing creative marketing strategies, achieving solid growth in volume and Transitions market share mix, dedication to educating its staff and customers, and showing an overall commitment to Transitions products and programs. Transitions has awarded the Lab of the Year title annually since 1991.

The Lab of the Year recipient may use the Lab of the Year logo in all advertising and point-of-sale materials. The company also earns a permanent spot on the Lab of the Year commemorative plaque, which is passed to the new winner every year.

Past Lab of the Year winners in the United States include: 21st Century Optics (2002), Soderberg, Inc. (2001), Midland Optical (2000), McLeod Optical (1999), Balester Optical (1998), Walman Optical (1997), Three Rivers Optical (1996), Duffens Optical (1995), Benedict Optical (1994), Southern Optical (1993), Optical Supply, Inc. (1992), and W.O.S. (1991).

For more information about the company and Transitions Lenses, visit or contact Transitions Customer Service at (800) 848-1506.