Home Design Inspirations A Warm Welcome to a (Really) Cold Start

A Warm Welcome to a (Really) Cold Start

Doctor delayed opening practice until stay-at-home orders lifted

melissa bourlandMelissa Bourland, OD, had her plan in place for Duneland Family Eyecare to open at the beginning of April. However, COVID-19 changed all of that.

Dr. Bourland graduated from Illinois College of Optometry in 2017. She had been working part-time at a private practice when she and her husband, Mike Bourland, who has a business degree and serves as her business manager, decided Chesterton, Indiana, was a great place to start a practice.

The couple moved to the area on the shore of Lake Michigan in Northwest Indiana and was working on a home renovation at the same time they were planning the practice. Despite the delays that COVID-19 caused to construction schedules and delivery of materials, the couple says that there is some silver lining. “We didn’t feel rushed,” she says.

bourland office
The space before it was renovated.

NO PERSONAL CONTACTS

The usual networking paths that a new-to-town OD would take have been closed to Dr. Bourland. “We wanted to start going out and meeting people, visiting medical providers’ offices and businesses, but we can’t do that kind of networking. Our advertising has been through social media and digital outreach,” she says.

bourland office

Dr. Bourland opened May 11—and she’s delighted every time she goes onto her electronic appointment book and sees another exam or two schedules. “We have appointments for our opening week, so I’m very excited.”

bourland office

REASSURANCES

As she builds up her reputation in town, she knew she needed to be explicit with the practice’s safety and sanitization processes. “We have a link on the website so that people can see what we’re doing and how that follows guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Optometric Association. We’ve also posted those on our Facebook page,” she says.

bourland office

FAMILY FEEL

There are two other, multilocation optometric practices in town, so Dr. Bourland says that Duneland’s appeal will be in the family-friendly, shop-local vibe. “We’re inspired by the area around us. We’ve incorporated natural dune grasses and beachy colors like grays, whites and blues,” she says. Her optical area includes only independent frame lines and is trying to stay away from the brands that can be purchased everywhere.

bourland office
The space is transformed from swatches and tile samples (top left); these floating shelves are displayed in front of the windows (bottom left). Dr. Bourland’s daughter checks out the new kids’ area (right).

The couple has also created a semi-enclosed section for children—most notably because they anticipate bringing their 2-year-old daughter to work with them. While they’re not promoting it as child care, they do anticipate that busy parents will appreciate being able to come into the exam room briefly and know that their child can be entertained there briefly.

The grand opening—which has already been delayed twice—is now scheduled for May 20.

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Growing as an OD While Giving Back

Before Kami Nguyen, OD, graduated from Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry in 2019, she spent more than a decade working in...

The Myopia Collective Names Inaugural Change Agents

The American Optometric Association (AOA) and CooperVision announced the inaugural cohort of Change Agents for The Myopia Collective. The news coincides with Optometry’s Meeting in Nashville,...

School’s Out: Time to Start Preparing for the Back-to-School Rush

If you wait to start preparing for the back-to-school rush in late summer, you’ve already missed a good part of the opportunity, says Tonya...

Dr. Roya Attar: AI Is Essentially the Next Industrial Revolution

Roya Attar, OD, FAAO, MBA, DHA, of Jackson, Mississippi, says that when she first started getting into artificial intelligence (AI) for optometry, "I used...