By Diana Stanczak
Dr. Lina Than and
Dispensary is 512 square feet; office is a total of 888 square feet
THE 20/20 TAKE:
A California-cool color palette, engaging lighting and distinct reception area welcome patients of all ages.
Great customer service is an essential for any eyecare practice, but even the most efficient employees can’t compensate for an outdated dispensary. That’s why Lina Than, OD, decided it was time for LT Optometry to undergo an image overhaul.
After nearly five years at her Westminster, Calif., location, Dr. Than was tired of what she describes as the “old, messy and worn” look of her dispensary. Dr. Than envisioned a modernized, stylish office that was inviting to customers, as well as an enjoyable workplace for her employees.
To help accomplish this, Dr. Than enlisted the help of San Francisco-based Magic Design, division of Ennco Display Systems, Inc. Cy Furman, director of design, worked with Dr. Than to rejuvenate the dated LT Optometry and transform it into an appealing practice that patients would enjoy visiting. “When I called Cy, he really knew what he was talking about, and his services fit our price point,” says Dr. Than.
With a budget of approximately $55,000, which included fixtures, seating, lighting, flooring and accessories, Furman put his creativity to work. “The goal was to find a balance between classy and modern,” says Furman. Dr. Than selected a clean cut design called Intersections which served as the palette for the office’s redesign. “I strived to appeal to an eclectic interest and create the right image for the location,” says Furman.
With 888 total square feet to work with, Furman created a charming boutique that encourages patients to browse and shop with ease. “What I like to do is create a magnetic feel,” says Furman.
A major element of creating a magnetic environment was choosing an appropriate color scheme. “I was careful not to be too feminine; the dispensary needs to appeal to women, men and children of all ages,” says Furman. The final result was anything but overtly effeminate: The walls are painted in soft, neutral shades toughened up by an eye-catching blue accent wall behind the dispensary’s front desk. The shiny, mid-toned wood floor with contrasting dark grains creates depth—an element of the dispensary that now receives many compliments, according to Dr. Than.
Dark dispensing tables are lined with chairs framed by wood just a shade lighter than the floor. An elaborate light fixture is at the center of attention in the middle of the ceiling, while stylish mini-pendant lights elegantly hang overhead.
There is one aspect of LT Optometry’s new design, however, that is reminiscent of its old look: the diagonal stone detail behind the front desk. While Furman worked his magic to alter the original wall, the end result ties the room together. “The stone detail is one of my favorite parts, I’m glad we kept it,” says Dr. Than.
The dispensary, which takes up 512 square feet of LT Optometry’s entire office, carries about 1,000 frames which are displayed in neat, simple dark cases. Among the frames, popular brands like Ray-Ban, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Versace and Prada offer patients a wide selection of high-end style.
LT Optometry is proof that an older practice can be revamped to satiate the creative and commercial needs of an optical practice. “Dr. Than was able to effectively communicate her own ideas and vision to allow the design team to create a unique and beautiful optical environment,” says Furman.
Dr. Than and her staff are pleased with the completed design. “The patients have definitely noticed and complimented our new image. Now we have a great office to go along with our excellent customer service,” she says. ■
By Kristen Spina
Hopkins, Hopkins and Ackerman Optometrists
Private practice with two locations
Garden City, Kan.
Dispensary is 650 square feet; office is a total of 6,500 square feet
THE 20/20 TAKE:
A need for more space shifts the focus onto retailing.
It takes a certain kind of vision to turn a former Mexican restaurant into a successful optometry practice—vision that was in no short supply when Hopkins, Hopkins and Ackerman Optometrists wanted to expand their practice in 2010.
In fact, when asked what he is most proud of accomplishing during the renovation, Darin Hopkins, OD, says, “Purchasing a building built for a Mexican food restaurant in May and completing a total remodel by the end of December.”
Based in Garden City, Kan., Hopkins, Hopkins and Ackerman Optometrists worked with local architects Gibson, Mancini, Carmichael, & Nelson, P.A, interior designer Julie Hopkins and California-based Fashion Optical Displays to create a Mediterranean-inspired interior that makes use of peaceful earth tones, rich wood, and timeless neutrals. The resulting practice and dispensary are inviting, warm and elegant.
“Our approach was to create an elegant, timeless feel,” says Hopkins. “We wanted an open floor plan and the Legacy displays and furniture from Fashion Optical Displays were a perfect fit for our theme. The elegant lighting and rich wood tones in our dispensary are just the beautiful elements that brought everything together.”
Dan Sloan of Fashion Optical Displays agrees: “They wanted a ‘best of class’ showplace, the kind of interior that sparks workplace pride and makes patients feel at once comfortable and cared for.”
The stand-alone building’s interior does not disappoint. From the stone wall surrounding the check-in and reception area to the polished tile floors with mosaic trim, everything speaks to a certain level of professionalism, charm and hospitality.
The focal point of the dispensary is the Legacy collection from Fashion Optical. Available in either cherry or mahogany, the collection is handmade and easily customized to make the most of available space. “The wood ages beautifully,” says Sloan. “In fact, this collection, featuring leg trim moldings and handmade recessed panel doors, truly stands the test of time.” Though the look is high end, it is also approachable and inviting, two factors that speak to the patient base and area demographics.
“What this interior really says,” adds Sloan, “is that this practice is prepared to provide cutting-edge medical expertise and services, along with the best retail has to offer. It is absolutely the best of both worlds.”
The 6,500-square-foot building is divided into space for multiple exam rooms, a waiting area and a 650-square-foot dispensary. Built-in displays hug the walls and house an inventory of 1,500 frames, including styles from Kenmark, Viva, Sàfilo, Luxottica and Charmant.
The dispensary’s open floor plan accommodates as many patients as necessary and lends the space a light, airy feeling. “Many practices underestimate their space,” says Sloan. “When planning a dispensary, it’s crucial to remember that the space will fill up with people, and those crowds can be difficult to navigate when shopping.”
That said, it’s easy to imagine patients browsing through the displays here and trying on various frame shapes and styles. The layout is one that emphasizes the retail components of the business in a way that is neither off-putting nor overwhelming. Spot lighting and two dramatic chandeliers enhance the large selection of frames.
“The before and after of this project is really a great thing to see,” says Sloan. “The space needed a huge renovation, but the doctors had vision and the end result has been very rewarding. Two years down the road and they are having tremendous success with it. Careful planning really does pay off.” ■
By Diana Stanczak
The Eye Place
Dispensary is 1,216 square feet; office is a total of 1,870 square feet
THE 20/20 TAKE:
Modern elegance meets high-tech details at this boutique-style dispensary.
One of the most exciting parts about opening your own dispensary is being able to do things your way. That’s exactly what happened when Thuy Quach, OD, made the transition from working at a retail chain to starting her own independent practice, The Eye Place in Windermere, Fla.
With over a decade of experience under her belt as an optometrist, Dr. Quach wanted a dispensary that reflected her and her husband Tony’s taste in design. “Dr. Quach envisioned a practice with a zen-like feel,” says Kelly Myers, optical director of The Eye Place. With a budget of $260,000, Dr. Quach turned to Eye Designs.
“After reviewing some designs from Eye Designs, we chose them because we liked their look and feel,” says Myers. Eye Designs certainly made a strong impression on the Quachs, considering the optical display company is based in Collegeville, Pa.,—much more than a hop, skip and jump away from sunny central Florida. However, long distance clients are nothing new for Eye Designs, according to Blanca Rivera, a display designer. “It’s a lot of phone calls and e-mail, but if we have all the information everything goes smoothly. The Eye Place was actually one of our smoothest projects,” says Rivera.
Eye Designs starts off with a space plan—a detailed diagram of the office’s layout which eventually becomes drawings that contractors refer to for the layout of ceiling systems, electrical outlets and wall dimensions. “Everything was clear, and we didn’t run into any roadblocks,” says Rivera.
Once the foundation is in place, then comes the fun part—the interior design. “Dr. Quach wanted her dispensary to have a relaxing, boutique-like feel. We’re located in a suburban shopping center and want to cater to our clientele’s taste,” says Myers. Rivera and her team worked to transform the 1,870-square-foot space into an image of zen.
Dr. Quach chose the Milan Collection for her dispensary, a line of European-inspired contemporary furniture. A dark accent wall stands out from the rest of the neutral colored room, while light-colored floors and a modern area rug tie the color scheme together. The front desk, as well as the dispensing tables and chairs are all black and white. The entire practice is well-lit, thanks to decorative hanging ceiling fixtures and curved track lighting. “Between the lights and lit-up display cases, every customer is in awe,” says Myers.
The part of the showroom that draws the most attention, however, is the TV in the ceiling above the display cases which plays runway fashion shows. “Everyone always asks about it. The fashion shows really take the dispensary to the next level and put a focus on fashion,” says Myers. The fashion element is an important one, considering The Eye Place carries about 750 stylish frames, including brands like Tiffany & Co., Coach, Tag Heuer, Gucci and Teka.
“The store turned out phenomenal,” says Myers. “Before, it was nothing, just an empty space. Eye Designs made it everything it is now,” she adds. Since its grand opening in May, Myers says that she has seen an increase in sales.
Ultimately, Eye Designs helped The Eye Place stand out in a crowd of retail giant dispensaries by giving it a unique, modern and chic boutique-like image. Says Myers, “By working closely with Eye Designs, we were able to create an absolutely amazing optical that we would love to share with as many people as we can.” ■