The German company has announced that it will re-introduce its lines of prescription frames and sunglasses in the U.S. as of Jan. 1 through a new sales subsidiary. Located in Sheridan, Wyoming, it will be headed by Chris Juergens, who worked for Silhouette for 15 years, the last nine as president and chief executive of the Austrian company's U.S. subsidiary.
Rodenstock had already entered the U.S. market in the 1970s under the ownership of the Rodenstock family. After the family sold its shares, in 2002, Rodenstock North America was closed down, following an unsuccessful foray into new lens technologies. Rodenstock continued to sell semi-finished lenses and eyewear frames in the U.S. via Pro Fit Optix, but put an end to a distribution agreement with that company just before it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2011.
Rodenstock subsequently created a network of franchised lab partners in North America to make some of its lenses. A spokesman for the company could not tell what the future distribution set-up for its lenses will be in the region.
Rodenstock USA says it plans to address the market gradually, pursuing a selective distribution policy in working with independent opticians with a focus on quality eyewear frames and excellent service.
Meanwhile, Rodenstock's French subsidiary has decided to stop selling the company's Rodenstock and Porsche Design lines of eyewear, terminating its agreements with regional sales representatives, and to focus only on lenses. The company will continue to work directly with French key accounts and independent opticians from its head office in Munich