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Rapp Optical and BDC: Seeing eye to eye

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Toronto‑based Rapp Optical, which started in 1983 as a small eyewear dispensary in the back of a ladies’ hat shop, has never stopped growing. The business, which designs and manufactures high‑fashion eyewear and runs a chic retail location, has developed a reputation as an international icon of modern and eclectic fashion eyewear.

With rising demand from international markets, owners Mel Rapp, his wife Julia and their son Shilo faced financial issues. They needed to upgrade and increase output, but their projects had outgrown their existing operating line of credit. They turned to BDC for additional financing.

BDC recognized Rapp Optical’s potential and was impressed by the management’s strength and vision. Two concurrent loans, for technology improvements and the purchase of manufacturing equipment, were provided. A 12‑month principal payment postponement helped ease cash flow issues. A BDC financing expert guided the owners in making the most of the additional funds and directed them to BDC’s value‑added online material to help them keep abreast of entrepreneurship trends.

With BDC’s help, Rapp Optical was able to enter new markets around the world and expand its retail location to include a conceptual retail experience with sunglasses, art and a museum of eyewear history.

Winning the 2012 Ontario Business Achievement Award was a defining moment for the business. “Thanks to BDC’s knowledgeable approach to business, they have been instrumental in helping us relieve finance‑related stress and successfully attack the issues we’ve faced,” says Mel Rapp, Rapp Optical’s founder and co‑owner.

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