2023 was a big year in the office and at home. Dr. Drewniak hired her first full-time staff member as well as an OD to cover weekend hours, and she also took on the new role as mother to her son. She’s back in the office on an almost full-time basis now, and thankful to her family who help provide childcare. “I have a newfound respect for all moms, and when your identity shifts, it’s nice to go back to do something you love with a new focus,” she says. “I’m not just doing this for myself; I’m doing this for him. It will be fun to see how life continues to change after kids—in the best way.”
Dr. Drewniak shared her journey to ownership, how she’s connecting with her patient base and her outlook for the future of OPT vision studio with Women In Optometry.
BUILDING HER BUSINESS
Dr. Drewniak says that she also felt a strong desire to connect with the large Polish community in Chicago, as the first generation in her family in the U.S. from Poland. “I wanted to help individuals who may not feel comfortable speaking English, and provide them with excellent care” Dr. Drewniak says, adding that she remembers how her family would seek out a Polish dentist and doctors as she was growing up for that feeling of familiarity.
REPRESENTING THE CHICAGO COMMUNITY
The space is 1,700 square feet with a long, narrow layout. It’s typical for the Chicago area, she says, as she occupies a commercial space below three residential condos. Dr. Drewniak chose a style that is clean and modern with a palette of mostly black, white and gray. “My husband, family and friends helped out; it was a labor of love,” she says, from her father-in-law who built the exam room walls to her friend who constructed the front desk.
Behind the front desk is an eye-catching mural that represents the neighborhood where OPT vision studio is located. There are so many interesting elements to check out: the practice logo, Jefferson Park, Thomas Jefferson, a Polish eagle, Mike Ditka (former coach of the Bears), Pope John Paul, the Chicago skyline, the street the office is located on, Michael Jordan, the CTA train and much more. “There’s a little bit of everything, and it’s unique in that the more you look at it, the more you find.”
She’s thankful to the team of artists, Luis Colindres (@colindresart) and Tom Molloy (@tommolloyart), who took her vision and brought it to life in a mural doodle wall, the style of their work. Dr. Drewniak shared some photos to get them started, and they created a rough draft to make sure they were headed in the right direction. But the final masterpiece was a surprise. “They don’t know exactly what it will look like until they get there,” she says. It’s been a worthy investment in the space. “People comment on it every day and say how interesting it is. Our work is 100 percent visual, so it’s fitting for our profession.” It’s even become a helpful tool to calm nervous young patients. “If we need to distract them, we can ask them to find the octopus, or this or that.” (Check out this video of the mural being created!)
COMMITTED FOR THE FUTURE
And, as she had hoped, her connection with the Polish community is meaningful and fulfilling for both Dr. Drewniak and her patients. “They express their gratitude because previously they saw a doctor who could not speak Polish, and they could not adequately describe their symptoms and needs. I love being able to help them in that way.”
Dr. Drewniak says that it’s been fun to see the practice grow and evolve over the past three years. “I didn’t want a cookie cutter office. I wanted it to be unique and standout and revolve around the community,” she says. “The practice is focused on taking care of patients and building community. We love when people run into each other in the optical and start up a conversation.”
Keep up with OPT vision studio on Instagram @optivisionstudio
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