Sunday, July 22, 2018
Business

Transitions Optical to lay off more than 100 workers in Pinellas Park

PINELLAS PARK — Lensmaker Transitions Optical is phasing out all manufacturing from its Pinellas Park headquarters and plant over the next year and a half.

Transition Optical is known for creating and manufacturing photochromic eyeglass lenses that shift from light to dark in different amounts of light. The company employs 300 full-time workers at its Pinellas Park operation at 9251 Belcher Road. An estimated 40 percent, or around 120, of those positions will be eliminated from July this year through the end of 2017, said Lesley Sillaman, a spokeswoman for the company. Most of those positions are in the company's production facility.

"Manufacturing will be moved to other facilities around the world and our overall global manufacturing capacity will be increased to meet anticipated future demand. This move will help us to further reinforce our competitiveness so we can accelerate the development of the photochromic category and better support the Transitions brand and our customers through the development of new offers and capitalizing on our expertise, especially in fast-growing markets and Europe," Jose Alves, general manager of the Americas market for Transitions Optical, said in a statement.

"Our lens­caster customers will continue to be supported by our commercial organization from Pinellas Park. Similarly, our North America-focused marketing, retail and channel sales team will continue to work from this location," he said.

Transitions Optical started 20 years ago as a joint venture between PPG Industries and Essilor International, a French lensmaker that closed its St. Petersburg office in 2010.

"Transitions Optical has seen tremendous success and growth in the 25 years since we opened in Pinellas Park and our employees here have been integral to that success," Alves said. "As the optical industry and photochromic category evolves, we are confident these changes will enable us to further support our company and category's global growth."

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