(L to R) Lori Flees, Willie Cowgur
and Gretchen Oldt.

BENTONVILLE, Ark.—Sam's Club, the membership warehouse club which is a division of Walmart, Inc., is bolstering its efforts in the vision care and optical market this year, with a new executive team and an enhanced approach including innovation and great member service in health care, VMAIL has learned. The company has been investing to improve the customer's experience and convenience while providing affordable health care, a Sam's Club spokesperson confirmed. Lori Flees is Sam's Club senior vice president of health and wellness which includes pharmacy, optical and hearing. Flees started at Walmart in 2014 as the senior vice president, corporate strategy and joined Sam’s Club last year after leading Walmart’s Next Gen Retail and Store No. 8 team (Walmart’s technology incubator).

Flees noted, “Sam’s Club is investing in the health and wellness space, and optical is no exception. We know that 64 percent of Americans wear eyeglasses so there is a great opportunity to deliver value to our members and for our business. Our optical leaders, Gretchen Oldt, senior merchant and supply chain leader and Willie Cowgur, the senior director optical operations, are working together to identify and implement the latest innovations to ensure we’re offering services and products that are truly special to our members.”

The Sam's Club spokesperson noted, "We provide additional benefits to our Plus Members within our vision centers to ensure they are receiving more value than ever and continue to renew their Sams’ Club membership. Last year, we added new designer frames, starting at $59 for a complete pair, and invested in our private brand by introducing our own Member’s Mark line of high quality and fashionable eyewear. Following trend, technology and demand for designer frames, Sam’s Club will deliver a great member experience resulting in a wardrobe of eyewear for our members that fit their style preferences at an incredible value." She added, "This year our patients will see innovation in contact lens offerings as well as enhanced offerings in polarized sunwear and specialty eyewear."

Said Oldt, “I am energized by the Sam’s Club Optical strategy and team. The clear direction to provide our patients the ability to discover, afford and enjoy a wardrobe of impressive designer eyewear and contacts reinforces Sam’s Club’s commitment to vision care and providing something special to our members.”

Added Cowgur, "Gretchen and her team have given the members a great selection for eyewear. With the quality product at a great price, along with our Plus member benefit, Sam’s Club is positioned to be one of the best solutions for our members’ optical wants and needs. Operations is focused on meeting the needs of every member needing optical care and making Sam’s Club the destination for all of our member’s eyewear needs. With Gretchen and I, along with our teams, being aligned with what we need to accomplish in optical, I’m extremely optimistic and excited about the future of Sam’s Club Optical.”