It’s been 12 years since Dora Adamopoulos, OD, opened her first location of eye2eye Optometry Corner in Alexandria, Virginia. While it was the middle of a financial recession, her dedication to her business mission allowed the Del Ray practice to flourish. Just five years ago, she opened a second office—the Hilltop office—applying lessons learned and giving opportunity to her team to grow in their skill sets, as well. She shared some advice with Women In Optometry on practice expansion and building a meaningful brand.
LAY A FOUNDATION
As her patient volume began to increase, Dr. Adamopoulos knew a second location would be on the horizon since expansion was not an option. She likens it to the thought of having a second child—“It brews in your head, and you think it’s a great idea,” she says, laughing. Since Dr. Adamopoulos likes to be prepared, she laid down some of the framework early on.
The first step is truly understanding your culture. “Who are you as a company, and what is the driving factor of your business? What are you in business for?” she asks. For her, eye2eye Optometry Corner provides personalized eye care and eyewear to its patients and customers with a focus on building and enriching the community.
Next, determine how you fit the different pieces of the puzzle together to achieve that goal. Dr. Adamopoulos knew that more space was the only way to grow and bring in additional services; in fact, she advises doctors to build bigger than what they need. She became financially prepared through creating a strong relationship with her bank. “I always know the pulse of my business—it’s not just my checking account,” she says. “I knew what my credit line would be and that I was pre-approved instead of scrambling.” Her advice for new doctors with a lot of debt is to not accept the first lease offer you receive. “It’s always a negotiation. Ask for help if you don’t know how.”
She also has a personal relationship with her realtor, who could keep an eye out on the real estate landscape so Dr. Adamopoulos didn’t have to. In fact, the future home of her second office wasn’t even on her radar. “It was in an upcoming development eight miles away,” she recalls. Dr. Adamopoulos studied the research the realtor provided, and it was a strategic fit in a shopping center with a popular grocery store as an anchor.
KNOW YOUR COMMUNITY
While Dr. Adamopoulos has two offices in the same densely populated city, they are far enough apart and very different in demographics so the offices have two different looks. She renovated her first office with new paint, flooring and track lighting over the week of Thanksgiving. It’s located in the middle of a pedestrian-heavy community, full of passersby: young families with strollers, dog walkers and individuals walking to school and work from the Metro.
Her newest office is in a traditional shopping center with lots of parking, attracting more elderly patients and those who have to drive. It’s also located nearby an army base, and the office has attracted a number of military members by accepting TRICARE insurance. The space is open and airy with details in white and a light mint blue and custom frame displays. Both offices are adorned with personalized wallpaper that was printed using old blog posts.
MAKE IT FUN
1? 2? 3? How many elves do you see? It sure will be hard to miss the festive window displays at eye2eye Optometry Corner this holiday season. Dr. Adamopoulos has been decorating her windows for each new season for a year now, thanks to Lauren Durkee and the team at Lauren Aileen Media, which handles her social media and marketing. “We balance professionalism while also being playful,” Durkee explains. “The staff is very outgoing and fun, and there’s always music playing in the office. If a patient looks great in a pair of eyeglasses, the team will all be there to tell you. Yet on the clinical side, Dr. Adamopoulos is an expert at what she does, so we walk that line.”
The window displays are just one of these elements that Lauren Aileen Media has brought to her practice, and they have been a welcome addition to the neighborhoods in a challenging year. The window clings are designed in house at Lauren Aileen Media, and they provide décor outside while still allowing a clear view for those inside looking out. The elves tie into a local social media contest that encourages residents to count the number of hidden elves that they can find on the window. (Read more here about how Lauren Aileen Media assists Dr. Adamopoulos’ practice.)
Dr. Adamopolous is truly in a groove now with her two offices, which are well-known in their communities for adapting to new technologies and services to better care patients backed by a strong team. “Opening two locations has allowed my star players on my staff to grow, get more training and move up into management where they can lead and educate others,” she says. “As their leader, it’s very rewarding to see that they have that platform to grow and expand.”