Home Design Inspirations A Test of Patience: Tracy Eyecare Center

A Test of Patience: Tracy Eyecare Center

Dr. Sarah Tracy and her husband Jordan

Long before Sarah Tracy, OD, graduated from Indiana University School of Optometry, she knew she wanted to be an optometrist. She recalls faking the need for eyeglasses as a toddler because she “wanted them so badly.” She manifested that dream into a reality throughout her education and by working in a corporate location. But she and her husband, Jordan Tracy, were living about 45 minutes away from the community where they wanted to move—Murray, Kentucky, about two hours northwest of Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Tracy was born and raised and Murray, and the couple was making the trip a few times a week to visit her family.

CALL IT KISMET

She and Jordan wrote down a number – the amount they would be willing to invest in consultative help for Dr. Tracy to open a cold start practice in her hometown. They called iCare Advisors after seeing one of its social media videos – and the consultants came back to them with precisely that same number. “We kind of thought, did that just happen? In that moment, we knew that this was meant for us,” Dr. Tracy says.

Nor has it been easy to get to her grand opening in March. Over the course of a year, they identified one location, engaged in some negotiations but did not hear back from the landlord until, while they were on vacation, he said he decided to lease to someone else. “Our world felt like it was in shambles.”

BACK TO SQUARE ONE

When they restarted their search, they decided to do it themselves rather than work with a realtor, as they had the first time around. Jordan Tracy, with a background in sales and business administration, and Dr. Tracy started looking for a new space “immediately.” They had heard buzz of a new plaza center opening up in town. Right off the main highway, it was a new building with four spaces, with one in use as by the plaza’s owner, an audiologist.

“I was excited when I saw the potential. We were able to go from seeing the space to signing a lease in two months,” she says. But their challenges weren’t over yet.

Construction inside started in November 2023, with a date for completion set in mid-February 2024. She posted the opening date of March 11 for Tracy Eyecare Center, a Vision Source practice, all over social media and told friends and family. But in January, the builder had bad news. “The custom cabinetry, reception desk and beverage bar were delayed until mid-April. But our word is everything to us; we had already announced we’d be open on March 11, and we did everything in our power to stick to that.”

The husband-and-wife team worked onsite next to their designers and builders, often staying at the location late into the night. “Our family and friends helped us, and it was a rollercoaster of emotions. We literally had a weekend to get pictures hung, training completed and our equipment set up.” They also had spent “almost 100 hours” submitting all frames, inventory, administration tabs and personalized records into her electronic health record system. In another head-slapping moment of frustration, an oversight by a data technician meant that all the records she entered into the EHR system didn’t get saved. “Everything was gone, and we had to redo it. We often thought, ‘Why is this happening?’” Dr. Tracy says. “I felt like we were always jumping through hoops, but the iCare Advisors team was always there to help push us through.”

“The space was a cold, dark shell when we started,” Dr. Tracy says. Now, one exam lane is fully equipped and ready for her to see patients, and two more are available to be equipped as the practice grows. She has a special testing room, contact lens room, pretesting room, private office, break room and on-site lab. The ceilings also range from 9.5 to 11 feet, making the 1,825-square-foot space feel even larger. Plus, she’s the only born-and-raised OD practicing in Murray.

ALL DECKED OUT

She invested heavily in making this a high-tech practice that offers a range of services. It’s equipped with a Topcon SL-D2 slit lamp, Optos California, DC-4 digital camera, Essilor Auto-Lensmeter, Essilor Auto Kerato-Refractometer, Topcon CA-800 corneal analyzer, Haag-Streit Octopus 600 Visual Field analyzer, Vision R-700 phoropter and a Santinelli LEXCE Trend all-in-one edger. She and her husband picked out each piece of equipment and every single frame at Vision Expo West, and she “still gets sad when I see a favorite frame leave the practice,” she says. Her services include full-scope primary eye care plus myopia management and dry eye.

BRING ON THE BLING

She had a distinct vision in mind for the look and feel of the space. “I wanted to show my personality—like a blingy boutique.” ‘Oh Pistachio’ by Sherwin-Williams brings a warm feeling to the optical. Her husband’s “pride and joy” is the beverage bar, where patients can choose tea or coffee with a variety of syrups, seltzer water or juice boxes. “We didn’t want an intimidating office feeling,” Dr. Tracy says. “We wanted patients to feel at home.”

The optical furniture came from Wayfair and Kohl’s, and décor was found at Home Goods, Hobby Lobby and Amazon. The hand-painted photos and giant glasses in the hallway are all custom from Etsy, and Elephant Stock was great for finding other fun art, she says.

“After facing many trials and having uncertainty with the first location falling through, we were emotionally drained,” Dr. Tracy says. “Now, I’m speechless when I think about our story and where we’ve ended up.” Their journey inspired Dr. Tracy to handwrite three bible verses on the framing before the drywall was hung. “It’s a reminder of what we’ve been through, and that it’s finally all ours,” she says.

“The whole process has been surreal,” she says. “But there is nothing like seeing how the final project turned out. It’s been amazing.”

The custom acrylic logo features a custom font for the first letter, to avoid the ‘T’ looking like a ‘J,’ Dr. Tracy says.

 

Visit Dr. Tracy and Tracy Eyecare Center on socials:

Instagram @tracyeyecarecenter

tracyeyecarecenter.com

Facebook: tracyeyecarecenter

 

See other design stories here.


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