Home Design Inspirations It Takes a Village: Raincross Optometry

It Takes a Village: Raincross Optometry

Dr. Ashley Suplee
Dr. Ashley Suplee

When Ashley Suplee, OD, FAAO, graduated from Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry in 2015, she set a 10-year goal for herself: to open her own practice. With help from her family, she met that goal and opened Raincross Optometry in May 2024, and gained a new appreciation of the phrase “it takes a village.”

STARTING OFF

Dr. Suplee started off after graduation as an associate in a Vision Source practice, learning the ropes of what it took to run a business and seeing patients full-time. When she started working with a mobile vision clinic in 2023, she had a bit more time on her hands to discuss bank loans and scope out potential locations.

She originally found a space in a medical building close to home that was “almost perfect but was on the second floor with no elevator.” She reluctantly chose to keep searching. A few weeks later, just  as she was “literally preparing to sign another lease,” her realtor called her and told her a ground-floor space in the building she loved had become available. She signed as soon as she could and started the process of creating Raincross Optometry in Riverside, California.

The space is gutted and prepped
The space is gutted and prepped

A FAMILY AFFAIR

Her parents went with her to see the space and immediately saw the potential, she says. “I’m a much more visual person and have a hard time imagining what it could be,” Dr. Suplee says. “My parents can see that vision way before I can.” She also had help from her two sisters—one an identical twin—on the weekends.

A chiropractor had leased the space previously, so “the bones of a medical practice were here,” Dr. Suplee says. She opted to keep the layout, but needed to paint, as “the last tenant loved color, with purple, red and turquoise on the walls.” Her dad, “the CFO—chief fix-it officer,” also removed aged blue carpeting and worn drop-ceiling tiles. They also ran new plumbing and electrical, installed new baseboards and laid vinyl plank flooring throughout the 1,650-square-foot space.

BEFORE

 

Melamine frame boards
Melamine frame boards

Dr. Suplee’s dad also assisted with creating and installing melamine frame boards and open shelving. A custom designer created the cabinets in Los Angeles and Dr. Suplee found décor and furniture at Ikea, Home Depot and Amazon, including wooden animals that act as mini frame boards. The gray walls are a “clean neutral” to play off the white countertops and navy blue accents throughout the space.

ROOM TO GROW

The practice now holds an optical, an equipped exam lane with another available when needed, a pretest room, a break room and Dr. Suplee’s office. Dr. Suplee eventually plans to offer vision therapy services in a large room in the back.

BEFORE AND AFTER

 

Dr. Suplee says her interest in vision therapy started as a patient herself. “I hated reading growing up because I got such bad headaches,” she says. “Comprehension was hard for me. When I started optometry school, I finally put two and two together and realized why I was struggling. I started vision therapy soon after, and it changed everything for me.” She now loves reading, she says, and is even part of a book club.

The finished exam lane
The finished exam lane

CUSTOM TOUCHES

The sign Dr. Suplee made to hang in the hallway
The sign Dr. Suplee made to hang in the hallway

An arts-and-crafter, Dr. Suplee created a few things herself. She made the sign that hangs outside the practice using Canva and her Glowforge laser cutter. She then hand-painted each component and glued them together.

She also created a sign for each door using her Cricut. The office also features a “super cool” photo of two irises, courtesy of a long-time patient, and a neon sign behind the front desk, also a gift.

The revamped optical
The revamped optical

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

The Suplee family is well-known in the area, she says. “Everyone knows my parents—for 15 years they’ve been creating carnival games for local elementary schools and charity events.” So when it came time to pick a practice name, it was originally going to incorporate Suplee. “But if I ever wanted to sell down the road or bring in an associate doctor, it might get confusing.”

Instead, she chose a symbol that has been associated with Riverside for more than 100 years– an ode to the Mass bell used by a missionary priest and founder of the California Missions. Variations of the symbols are used throughout the city in architecture, street signs and lighting standards, and it is also featured on the city’s flag.

Now, as Dr. Suplee looks forward to a ribbon cutting this summer, she says she couldn’t have done it without all the support—including from her mom, who is now her office manager. “It’s been a process, and it didn’t feel real until the Sunday before we opened,” she says. “My family and friends got me here.”

In her free time, Dr. Suplee enjoys spending time with family, making crafts and jewelry, going to theme parks and cheering on the LA Angels.

Dr. Suplee goofs around in the exam lane
Dr. Suplee goofs around in the exam lane

 

See other design inspiration stories here.


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