The Nutty Doctor. A Pink Eye. A Red Eye. The Blurry Eye. The 20/20. These are all specialty coffee drinks named after eye conditions, exclusively available at Wide Eye (WE) Lounge in Santa Clarita, California. Mary Demirjian, OD, opened the innovative office, which merges a boutique optometry and optical space with a quaint coffee shop, in January 2023.
This is Dr. Demirjian’s third office, yet even with many years of ownership experience, this pursuit offered a new set of obstacles. She found the location in July 2021 in the downtown area that is undergoing a revitalization. Yet the concept was so unique—combining both medical and food regulations—that it confused the city’s team as she proceeded with her planning and approvals. “The optometry side was pretty standard, but the restaurant side was more challenging. I didn’t have experience with construction of a commercial kitchen,” Dr. Demirjian explains.
The optometry side of the office was ready to go in the summer of 2022, but she couldn’t open until both parts of the business were approved. Finally, by January 2023, WE Lounge was ready for its debut in the community.
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Dr. Demirjian describes the style of the 1,700 square foot space as industrial chic with elements of glam. She used a dark green accent color, seen in the patterned wallpaper on a feature wall, as well as complementary plants and succulents and a collection of beautiful hanging light fixtures to make the office warm and welcoming. There are two exam rooms, a pretesting space and optical—and of course, a full-service coffee bar. “The drinks are made in-house with locally roasted coffee, and we have a local baker bring us pastries a few times a week.”
The furniture choices are reminiscent of a coffee shop with a bar table and desk area for those who wish to study or work, and the couches and large coffee table pay homage to the Central Perk coffee shop from Friends. There’s also an outdoor patio area for additional seating.
Dr. Demirjian and her team look forward to hearing what patients and customers think of the new concept. “People walk in, and they are very intrigued to see the coffee and espresso machine. Then they stop and ask, ‘But you have glasses?’” she says. “It’s been really interesting to see the reactions.” She introduces herself to those stopping in for coffee and invites them to check out the optical or have the staff review their insurance benefits for an exam.
The bustle in the area is building as neighboring businesses—an ice cream shop, pizza parlor and movie theater, to name a few—open their doors as well. The farmer’s market across the street also brings a lot of people to the area on Saturdays. As more people move into the residential units upstairs, there’s great potential for foot traffic. In the first few months, Dr. Demirjian says that it’s been an equal draw of individuals coming for eye exams and coffee.
Dr. Demirjian hopes to add an associate to the WE team to help her cover the six days that the office is open, in addition to balancing the load of running three offices. In the early days of opening WE Lounge, she was spending around two days per week in each location.
Half a year since opening this venture, Dr. Demirjian says that the practice, as well as the cafe, continues to draw interest. “We have a growing number of regulars, too. It has become busier with each passing week.” They have hosted several community meetings, as well as trunk shows, and she’s pleased to see that WE Optometry and WE Lounge is becoming a popular meetup location.
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Read more about Dr. Demirjian’s first two office locations.
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