Home Design Inspirations New, Larger Location Prompts Phase of New Growth

New, Larger Location Prompts Phase of New Growth

When Jessica Yannelli, OD, looked for a home for Precision Eye Care, her new cold start practice 10 years ago, location and affordability were at the top of her list. She found a small space in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, and began building a practice that allowed her to provide comprehensive eye care to her patients.

About four years later, she acquired a second location in West Chester, about 15 miles away. Having a second location allowed her to bring on an associate and start growing the two businesses, both of which operate under the Precision Eye Care name.

an old animal hospital was converted to a larger practice space.
Dr. Yannelli found a former animal hospital that would be perfect for her new location.

But the original space began to feel crowded with its one exam lane. “I wanted to stay in Downingtown, so I cast a small net around where I was. An old animal hospital about a mile away was available,” she says. It took about a year to complete both the detailed planning and engineering work that the town required and for the construction itself.

Now, it’s a practice that Dr. Yannelli—as well as her staff and patients—love.

A RUFF SPACE

First, there were features that worked in a vet hospital that would not work for an optometric practice. The previous owner had put in drop ceilings – which likely helped a lot with the din of barking dogs. She got rid of those, and a structural engineer helped redesign the foyer so that she could add skylights for an even airier entrance.

The building had some floor-to-ceiling windows, but they were the jalousie louvered style. The contractor replaced those with single-pane windows.

Her architects laid out a floor plan that includes four exam rooms, three fully equipped for exams and one as a dry eye spa room with low level light therapy (LLLT) equipment. She had been treating patients for dry eye previously, but adding the LLLT gives her patients a new option for in-office treatment that they didn’t have in town before.

Dr. Yannelli at the slit lamp
Dr. Yannelli has been committed to providing high-tech, high-touch exams.

“From day one, I had been committed to have the latest technology,” she says. But in the old space, there simply wasn’t the room to add all she would like to. “We’ve added some in-house testing, such as ERG testing. And I updated my optomap technology,” she says.

IT’S A VIBE

The optical is also about twice the size compared to the previous location. That has allowed her to bring in new frames lines as well as showcase the other options better. She’s added a contact lens bar and two dispensing tables.

optical area of her new practice, larger to support practice growth“The color palette is the same,” she says. The walls are Benjamin Moore Silver Lake, a light blue, and the trim is Sherwin Williams Extra White. Her floors are a natural light wood, and the décor emphasizes pops of green.

She designed each of the bathrooms to look different. “I went with darker, moodier bathrooms,” she says, noting she loves the wall covering options from Rifle Paper Co. “If I have a choice between something standard and something unique, I’m going with the unique,” she says. No rectangular sinks or mirrors for her when she can choose asymmetrical decor.

the contact lens bar
The contact lens bar

She had a speaker system installed throughout the ceiling, and a business account with a streaming service lets her control the mood. “On Friday afternoons, we have happy, upbeat music, and on a cloudy or rainy day, we might play jazz.”

These choices are amplified by a large screen that for now displays scenery. “One day, it’s a babbling brook and the next it’s a walk through the woods or an underwater scene or beaches.” As she creates educational content in video format, she will start running those loops as well.

SMART TO START SMALL

She, the staff and her patients all love the airy, open feel. The staff now have private spaces where they can do back-end work, and her office manager can handle correspondence without being in the middle of the public space. Dr. Yannelli also has her own office, which is a luxury for her.

But even as much as she enjoys the openness, she feels strongly that she made a smart choice to start small. “Just as it wouldn’t make sense for me to have moved into an 8,000-square-foot building now, I would advise people starting out that it’s not wrong to be conservative. We were not viewed as being less-than when we opened 10 years ago. Patients were attracted to the charm and the genuineness of the care,” she says.

There was another unexpected benefit of having some space restrictions. Dr. Yannelli developed a robust referral relationship with MDs and even ODs who offered specialty services that she didn’t. For many of her first years in practice, these were the providers who provided second opinions or co-managed her patients.

“My experience is that it’s OK to start small and grow,” she says. She’s doing that now with her dry eye services. Her patient base who needed the services warranted her purchase of an LLLT system, a move that wouldn’t have been prudent 10 years ago. “There is always something to build on.”

frame display

 

See other design inspiration stories here.


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