Personal Connection Leads to Franchise Ownership at Pearle Vision

Amir Essani was a five-year-old living in California when he failed a vision exam at school. At the time, he was part of the 1.1 billion people worldwide living without access to vision care. After failing his exam, his grandfather led him hand-in-hand to his follow-up appointment while both of his parents were at work. Amir’s first pair of glasses, given to him by an organization called OneSight, meant more to him than just a pair of frames on his face. They made a blurry chalkboard, clear and once fuzzy words on a page, enjoyable to read.


Now the owner of a Pearle Vision franchise in Schaumburg, Ill., Essani recalls his serendipitous first experience with the national brand.


Amir and his wife Ambreen Essani are owners of a Pearle Vision franchise in Schaumburg, Ill.


“I didn’t even know I needed glasses,” said Essani, who’s worked in the optical field for more than 15 years. “Of course, at the time, I didn’t realize I was receiving an exam and glasses for free, not to mention about OneSight. It wasn’t until I was older that I learned of the program and connected the dots.”


As a young child, Essani lived in California before moving to Atlanta, Ga., where he started as a part-time lab technician before moving over to optical retail. There he would fit and sell glasses to customers, which is something he grew to find both rewarding and interesting.


“After spending a few years as a licensed optician, I knew I wanted to do more,” he added. “I was looking to own my own optical business and found details about Pearle Vision’s franchise opportunity and information on a global nonprofit associated with the brand. That nonprofit was OneSight. I dug deeper into the organization and realized that I had received my first pair of glasses from the program. I took it as a sign that becoming a Pearle Vision franchisee was the right move for me.”


“It’s my hope that some day these children remember their experience and choose to pay it forward. We have to help each other.”


In 2013, the opportunity to acquire an existing Pearle Vision location in Schaumburg presented itself, and Amir and his wife Ambreen made the move to the Chicago suburb. Since, the Essani’s business has become a neighborhood staple, growing to a staff of 10 serving more than 50 patients each week. Outside of volunteering regularly with OneSight, the couple’s work at their EyeCare Center has brought rewarding experiences as well.


“We recently agreed to see a young boy who was turned away at other optical locations because of his age. When he came back to try on his first pair of glasses, he was finally able to see his mother clearly for the first time,” said Ambreen Essani, who was previously a teacher in Atlanta before joining Pearle Vision as a franchisee with Amir. “It was such a touching moment – his mother even wrote us a thank you note. The crazy thing is that we share moments like these with our patients all the time. Experiences like this one have solidified my passion for the industry.”


Since signing on with Pearle Vision in 2013, the couple has participated more than 15 OneSight clinics, which provide free eye exams and glasses to thousands of adults and children around the world. From the United States to China, Brazil to India, all of the organization’s clinics are 100 percent volunteer-run. Clinics can last from a few days to a few weeks and each pair of glasses given out is made on-site.


“When I help fit these kids for glasses, I can’t help but think of myself when I was their age,” said Amir Essani. “It’s my hope that some day these children remember their experience and choose to pay it forward. We have to help each other.”


OneSight relies heavily on volunteers like Amir and Ambreen in order to see more than 3,500 patients each week all around the globe from pop-up clinics in China, to vision centers in Rwanda, to school-based clinics in New York.


“It sounds silly, but I’ll never forget that first pair of glasses,” he said. “Clear vision should never be taken for granted, but it often is. That’s why I feel so happy for my family to be part of an industry and program that’s made such an impact on not only my life, but the lives of others in need.”


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