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Business Ownership, Times Two

OD and husband take on cold-start practice and expand with purchase of existing office

Dr. Krystal Hoover
Dr. Krystal Hoover

Krystal Hoover, OD, grew up in a household where entrepreneurship was a way of life. She says that she inherited their hardworking ethic and mindset as she watched her parents run their own business, and she envisioned practice ownership in her future once she chose optometry for her career.

Dr. Hoover started making moves toward that goal of opening her own practice about a year after her 2018 graduation from Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry. During that time, she worked for a leaseholder with Visionworks as she and her husband John Hoover made plans for a place of their own. They opened Eyes on Little Elm in Little Elm, Texas, in October 2020. Starting a cold-start practice was not an easy task, especially in the middle of a pandemic, but Dr. Hoover says that she is happy to have made it through the first year and grateful to her patients and surrounding community for trusting her office with their eyecare.

John Hoover
John Hoover

When an opportunity arose to purchase an existing practice in Prosper, Texas, just 5 miles away, they were confident to take on this new venture. It was a chance to have an even bigger impact on the area and to serve a different patient demographic, and they finalized the purchase of Prosper Eye Room in December 2022.

Dr. Hoover spoke with Women In Optometry and reflected back on the experience of taking on ownership of two offices in just over two years.

INITIAL OWNERSHIP: COLD START

Dr. Hoover was grateful for two resources throughout the journey of opening her own practice: the Vision Source network and the team at iCare Advisors. The guidance, advice and cost-savings benefits were priceless, she says, from the early days as she searched for a location for Eyes on Little Elm.

In November 2019, Dr. Hoover found what she thought would be the home of Eyes on Little Elm, but the new construction was not progressing fast enough. The search started again in February 2020, and thankfully, they were quickly able to find a new spot. It was visible from the main road in a small plaza with five suites. The architect redrew the blueprints for the 1,986 square foot office, which would give her an opportunity to grow into two or three exam lanes. She also wanted plenty of room for pretesting equipment, a finishing lab and contact lens storage.

Little Eyes on Elm construction

As the building construction was underway, Dr. Hoover switched gears and did fill-in work for doctors on maternity leave while she built her practice. The new construction was complete and ready for the Hoovers to open up on Oct. 16, 2020. They were the first to sign on, followed by a dentist and tutoring center.

Dr. Hoover appreciated the support from Kam Wang, owner of Bluetiful Design, who helped take her vision for a classic, modern and clean logo and office and make it a reality. “She killed it on the logo, and we expanded on that in the office,” Dr. Hoover says. The space is mostly white and gray with accents in a light teal-blue hue, and there’s a unique chandelier hanging as a focal centerpiece as you walk into the office. Dr. Hoover says that it feels more like a boutique than a medical office, thanks to the design team from Karina K Studios. “They took my inspiration pictures and totally executed everything that I wanted,” from the furniture to the décor.

Eyes on Little Elm
Eyes on Little Elm

Technology was an important investment, and Dr. Hoover wanted to offer full-scope care from the start. She’s been pleased with her automated phoropters, autorefractor, edger, topographer for myopia management and orthokeratology and Topcon Maestro for anterior- and posterior-segment OCT capabilities for eye disease management and scleral contact lens fittings. She also offers wide field retinal screening with an Optos retinal imaging device. More recently, she added a digital field headset from Olleyes and an IPL/RF dry eye device from InMode called Envision.

The Hoovers joined the Little Elm Chamber of Commerce and are sponsoring sports teams for the local schools. They are also asking every patient if they will tell their family, friends and colleagues about their experience at the practice, and each connection made has expanded their patient base.

Looking ahead, Dr. Hoover is passionate about expanding her specialty contact lens services, which she says is a truly rewarding fitting experience for both doctor and patient. She recalls a 24-year-old patient who had only seen hand motion his entire life. “Every doctor said they couldn’t help him, so I tried a scleral lens. I was expecting 20/70 with his advancement, but he was 20/20,” she recalls. “He saw the hair on his arms for the first time, and he couldn’t wait to see his daughter and get his driver’s license.”

EXPANDING THE EXPERIENCE

The newest practice venture, Prosper Eye Room, is just far enough away from Eyes on Little Elm that she doesn’t feel that they will compete with one another, but close enough to refer back to Little Elm for specialty care. The office also opened in 2020, as well, and Dr. Hoover began the discussion of purchasing this practice from a Vision Source colleague in late 2021 when he could no longer dedicate the attention to this location.

Prosper Eye Room
Prosper Eye Room

Plans were postponed a bit due to the birth of Dr. Hoover’s daughter, but the colleagues reconnected and made the sale official in December 2022. The office’s optician has stayed on board to help with the transition.

When Dr. Hoover first took over Prosper Eye Room, she split her days in each office, switching back and forth on where she is for mornings and afternoons. She added an associate shortly after so that they can offer full doctor days in both locations. Her technician traveled with her to each office, and there was a designated optician who stayed at each location. It’s a balance and juggling act as a business owner and parent, but Dr. Hoover has a determination that won’t quit. “It’s tough, but it’s working really well right now,” she says.

 

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