When Lynda Nguyen, OD, and her husband, Duy Bui, decided to take on the venture of opening a cold-start practice in 2018, they didn’t expect for her husband, an engineer, to physically be in the office. Yet when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, just months before the opening of Clarity Eye Care in McKinney, Texas, he started working remotely before his employer permanently eliminated its office space. Now, he’s juggling his full-time engineering job with his responsibilities at Clarity Eye Care, where he helps out with the lab and is good at frame styling and helping patients. “He’s our office manager, and I’m super grateful for that,” Dr. Nguyen says.
TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK
Each spouse having the support of the other has been essential on this opening journey, Dr. Nguyen says. She worked in a number of settings following her 2017 graduation from University of Houston College of Optometry, but after about a year, she was ready to build her own schedule and balance for her life. Bui had always aspired to be a business owner, so it was a perfect match.
While Dr. Nguyen took on fill-in work in the Dallas area, they worked with iCare Advisors to map out a plan and joined Vision Source for the benefits of its network. The Frisco area was saturated, but their advisors saw potential in the nearby area of McKinney, as its growth is blossoming. They chose a 1,600-square-foot space in an area under construction, and then began the waiting game with construction and COVID-19 supply delays.
Dr. Nguyen chose a modern, cozy, chic vibe for the space and picked out most of the furniture herself. She worked with Karina K Studio to pull it all together with the finishing touches. “After working in so many places, I started to get an idea of how I wanted the office to flow,” Dr. Nguyen says. She wanted a separation between the optical and clinical sides of the practice. There are two exam lanes to accommodate growth; one is outfitted for now. Dr. Nguyen brought in optomap technology and an automated phoropter from the start, and she also wanted to provide convenience with an in-office edger. The design has the lab close to the optical to make it easier to get orders.
There’s an emphasis on the optical, which takes up about half of the space and is adorned with independent frame lines. Dr. Nguyen hopes that these unique styles will help differentiate the practice from others around it, which typically carry bigger box brands. MODO has been a top seller—“it’s our bread and butter”—along with Barton Perreira and OVVO. She’s targeting her marketing to promote these eyewear options that can help patients showcase their individualism.
WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Doors opened to Clarity Eye Care in June 2020, and now six of the eight businesses in the shopping center are open. The practice has attracted some customers from the neighboring restaurant and yoga studio, as well as insurance carriers and other online resources. The couple continues to work with iCare Advisors every few months, analyzing the practice data such as capture rate and revenue per patient as they work together to implement strategies to meet their goals. They’re also focusing on improving SEO, implementing more Google ads and targeting ZIP codes where consumers tend to spend a little more on their purchases.
She’s focusing on primary care, with mostly healthy patients between 20 and 50, and there’s a great education potential with emerging presbyopes to get them in to the right lenses for their lifestyle. As her patient base grows, Dr. Nguyen says that she would love to grow her skills in the area of specialty contact lens fittings so she can add it to her service line if it seems to be a good match. Dr. Nguyen also enjoys employing two preoptometry students who bring an enthusiasm to the job and the career that she’s so passionate about herself.