For years, Maria Cardona, OD, and her staff practically tripped over each other in the 10-foot-wide practice space that housed the practice she purchased in 1996. Although the space went back 60 feet, the 600-square-foot space was like a tunnel. Dispensary, reception area and exam room were lined up. The practice was lucrative and warranted sacrificing aesthetics, she says.
Dr. Cardona was very aggressive about investing in her practice and in the future. She actively sought opportunities to purchase real estate that could provide an opportunity for growth and some room to breathe. Then in April 2010, Dr. Cardona was able to purchase a building just two doors down from her current location in Maplewood Village in Maplewood, New Jersey, a quaint town where residents support their local merchants. The new Vision Source® location was four times as wide, and, as a former pet store, it was one big open area. “It was pretty easy to create the rooms we needed and still have enough space for an open dispensary and reception area,” Dr. Cardona says. Purchasing the building was a wiser long-term strategy than continuing to rent.
“Maplewood is a very hip, chic town, so we wanted the new space to be classy with a modern edge. The old practice didn’t have that feel at all,” she says. After extensive renovation, the floors are now laminate wood, and the display cabinets and frame boards are cherry and almond wood. She also worked with Eye Designs to add some interesting cabinetry. “We offer a lot of high-end designer and stylish frames. And we get many compliments from patients who say it feels nice and welcoming—and spacious.”
In retrospect, she’s surprised she stayed with her tiny location as long as she did. Now that she’s seeing the benefits of a larger space that allows patients to browse, she says, “It’s definitely worth investing in the appearance and the type of frames you want to display.”