“The most expensive rent in the world is for a space you do not need.” Dr. Lawrence Gipson, ophthalmologist at NeoVision in Pittsburgh, Pa. knows this through experience. A seasoned veteran of optical offices with three other branches in or around the Pittsburgh area, Dr. Gipson has come to learn that location is key. He was prepared for the two-year wait for the SouthSide Works spot after already having waited three years for the previous space in the high-end Shadyside section of Pittsburgh. He and the staff at NeoVision knew their patience would bring in patients.
A new and unique outdoor retail, office, entertainment and residential complex, the area seemed to have a lot to offer to an optical practice. “SouthSide Works is full of young professionals living and working next to older denizens that are mainly on retirement incomes. These individuals are loyal, repetitive in their needs for service and spread the word,” he says.
Settling into an area where the practice would get exposure on its heavily trafficked street-front location further promoted the practice. “I was very much interested in attracting new patients to this office,” says Dr. Gipson. “Three thousand dollars a month more in rent for an ideal location will go much farther in promoting a practice than three thousand dollars a month in advertising.”
Even with a strategic location secured, NeoVision needed to appeal to both age groups. “We had to offer a hip and stylish environment for the young professionals, but one that would not offend the sensibilities of the elderly,” Dr. Gipson says. Working with Magic Design, NeoVision began to take shape. “We wanted something that would knock their socks off,” says Cy Furman, design director for Magic Design. “We took the previous design theme and enriched and built on it.”
With 617 square feet to work with in the dispensary, nearly triple that of the prior location, the stylish environment began to unfold in a way that would be sure to please. “The store gives a feeling of accessible elegance,” says Dr. Gipson. “This is consistent with my belief that eyewear is jewelry for the eyes. The displays are done in a deep cherry wood like those at a high-end jewelry store. Each waiting room has a faux stone wall. All of the stores are done in the same warm colors, with blues and purples.”
Working with Magic Design proved to be a success. “The most successful element was using Cy Furman from Magic Design. The design of the location must fit the personality of the owner as well as the community it serves,” says Dr. Gipson. “I believe it is critical in this industry to have a designer that not only understands the business, but you as well.”
Four solid locations of NeoVision wasn’t quite enough for Dr. Gipson. “After opening up this SouthSide location, I decided it was imperative to have a fifth one—a virtual office. Our web site, www.neovisioneyes.com, gave us an opportunity to begin weaving all four offices together.” A successful retail space that is completely accessible, wherever the eye can see.