Over the last several years much attention has been given to buying local or shop small. There are many reasons for this:
Shopping locally helps to cut down on Industrial pollution which according to the EPA is responsible for almost 50% of the pollution in the USA. Less processions, packaging and transportation waste.
Buying local support the Maker Movement, which is artisans and small business owners, like you.
Local Businesses pay more taxes to their communities.
But, if you want your customers to shop local, you need to practice what you preach and shop local as well.
That said, after investigation, we pulled together our local wholesale ‘optical providers’ in San Diego, California. Many of the wholesalers (eyewear) also are D2C. I think most eyecare professionals would be surprised at how many ‘local’ suppliers are in their area. We came up with a total of 48 suppliers.
- Vision West (Rancho Bernardo, CA) Optical buying group
- Comfort Vision Carlsbad, CA
- GP Specialists (Rancho Bernardo) gas permeable lenses, single vision, keretaconus, toric and ortho-k rgp lenses. Design and manufacture a variety of orthokeratology rgp lenses, also known as corneal reshaping technology
- Polyvue Distribution (Oceanside) Specialty Contact Lens that was founded in 1998.
- Synergeyes (Carlsbad) Hybrid Contact Lens
Eyewear: In California alone there are over 300 Eyewear and Sunwear companies in California alone. The majority are in Southern California (over 190, not including San Diego County)
- 9Five Eyewear (San Diego, CA) Lifestyle sunwear brand. Sells wholesale and retail. Has been seen at Vision Expo and just opened their own Retail stores.
- 100% Eyewear (San Diego, CA) Motorcycle sports eyewear. Launched in 1982.
- Blenders Eyewear (La Jolla, CA) Give back company, that has been on West Texas Investors Club. Wholesale and retail sunglasses. Launched in 2012.
- Bobster Eyewear (San Diego, CA) Established in 1996, sports performance eyewear. Sell both wholesale and retail.
- Calacas Eyewear (San Diego, CA) Wood sunglasses sold online.
- Classique Eyewear (San Diego, CA) Classique brands include: Gios, Kingsley Row, C-Zone. Member of The Vision Council and can be seen at Vision Expo. Wholesale products only.
- Gatorz (Carlsbad, CA) Eyewear and Sunglasses, made in the USA. They were launched in 1990.
- Gunnar (Carlsbad, CA) One of the first optical companies to address digital eye syndrome and blue light. Can be seen at Vision Expo, member of The Vision Council. Sells both online and thru retailers. Launched in 2007.
- Hoven Vision (San Diego, CA) Sports sunglass line. Also sell apparel. Launched in 2002.
- Knockarounds (San Diego, CA) Lower end, fun sunglass company. They do an annual Shark Shade in conjunction with Shark Week and gives back
- Kynd Clothing (Oceanside, CA) Clothing company that has bamboo eyewear. Sold online.
- My Link Visionary (Encinitas, CA) Online Eyewear company that lets you customize eyewear by use of magnets.
- Ovan Eyewear (Encinitas, CA) Eyewear: Polarized Sunglass and goggle company. Ovan is another company that was funded via Kickstarter in 2015.
- Raen Optics (Oceanside, CA) Lifestyle sunglasses and eyewear. They can be seen at Vision Expo’s. Raen sells sunwear online and through retailers. Launched in 2008.
- Rainbow Optix (San Diego, CA) We cannot confirm that they are out of San Diego.
- Roshambo Baby (San Diego, CA) Kids sunglass line that gives back. Launched in 2012 via Kickstarter.
- Schro Shades (San Diego, CA) on Etsy. This guy makes his eyewear at home for a Made in USA status.
- Shauns Shades or Shauns of California (Solana Beach, CA) Shaun’s used to exhibit at Vision Expo. Sold online and through retailers. Launched in 2012.
- Solo Eyewear (San Diego, CA) Give back sunglass company. Uses eco friendly materials. Launched in 2012 and also had a successful Kickstarter funding.
- Spex Wax (San Diego, CA) Eyewear made from recycled vinyl records.
- SportRX (San Diego, CA) online Sports eyewear and lab. One of the first online Sport-Lab combinations. Launched in 1996.
- Spy Optic (Carlsbad, CA) Spy is one of the oldest frame companies in San Diego launched in 1994. Sold online and through professionals. They can be seen at Vision Expo and are a member of The Vision Council.
- Sunglasses by Tower (San Diego, CA) Paddleboard manufacturer that was featured on Shark Tank and got a deal with Mark Cuban. They then launched a wood sunglass line.
- Tree Tribe (San Diego, CA) Wood and Sunglass collection. Plant 10 trees for every frame sold.
- William Painter Eyewear (San Diego) Sunglass company that was launched in 2011 and has achieved funding several times via crowd-sourcing. Sold online.
- Woodie Specs (San Diego, CA) Wood sunglasses and watches that was established in 2013. Sold online and through Etsy. They give back to Kids
- Yes Man Sunnies (San Diego, CA) Sunglass collection. They also have watches. Another give back company and they achieved funding via Kickstarter in 2014.
- Heidelberg Engineering (Vista) – Diagnostic Instruments.
- Phantom Research Labs (El Cajon) Lens dying equipment and supplies. lab equipment
- Costco Lab (National City)
- Hoya Lab (San Diego)
- Meridan Lab (Essilor- San Diego)
- Perfect Optics (VSP Lab)
- Prison Industries Lab (San Diego)
- Professional Optical Lab (San Diego) 858.273.0411
- Signet Armorlite (Carlsbad, CA) Essilor Company
- Augen Optics (San Diego) lenses, free form equipment and a lab.
- Carl Zeiss Vision (San Diego) lenses, labs
- Shamir Lens (San Diego) Lenses .
- AAC Vision- Software- (Carlsbad) no website and no confirmation.
- EyeCom 2 (San Diego) computerized recall and patient marketing software
Buy Local: Gives resources on how to set up a Buy Local Day in your area.