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A Fresh Take on the Family Business

Dr. Whitney Jensen

A family business with a new addition makes for a thriving practice for Whitney Jensen, OD. The practice, Jensen Optometrists in Grinnell, Iowa, was opened in 1949 by Dr. Jensen’s grandfather, Dr. Earl Jensen. Her father, Clark Jensen, OD, and uncle also worked there until her father’s retirement in December of 2020. His retirement was just the impetus Dr. Jensen needed to purchase the practice, and the deal went through in January of 2021.

Dr. Whitney Jensen joined the practice about six years ago, bringing in some new ideas of her own after having worked at a practice in Des Moines for three years. It wasn’t always inevitable that she’d end up in the family practice. “Growing up in an optometry family, I didn’t want to do what everybody else did. I tried to find other avenues. I wanted to do something with medicine, but optometry appealed to me,” she says. “It has become medical and multifaceted, so that’s what intrigued me.”


The spa room

In December 2020, she added a dry eye spa that combines treatments and therapies for signs and symptoms of dry eye and also aesthetic services. “I like the full service optometry aspect,” she says.

“I went to a dry eye clinic in October 2020 and learned all about it.” She saw the potential of adding the service – and she also happened into a great employee find. The year before, Dr. Jensen hired Lexie Smith as an optician. “She was working in Des Moines as an esthetician, but there were no opportunities closer by, so she joined our practice [as an optician,”] she says. “I told her, ‘You have this experience and you’re licensed, and if we wanted to incorporate that, we could offer facials and waxing.’ So, when she’s not doing esthetician services, she helps out in the optical.”

Lexie Smith

Dr. Jensen remodeled one of the exam lanes to be the spa room, adorned with a white exam-style chair that can recline for facials or sit up for other services. The cabinets are wood with glass fronts, and the back wall is accented with a eucalyptus patterned wallpaper. A refrigerator and a towel warmer make the room truly spa-ready.


In 2018, Dr. Jensen led the practice through a refresh, remodeling the entrance and optical primarily. The logo also received a makeover in the fall of 2020 — what used to be brown and orange is now navy and teal.

Since she became the owner, she continues to wonder how else to make a splash in her community. One way has been investing in more marketing, technology, treatments and instruments.

The front desk before (top) and after (bottom) the fall of 2020 remodeling.

The optical before and after


“We always try to have the most up to date [technology,”] she says. “I hope to grow the eye spa. Iowa optometrists gained an expansion in their scope of practice for injections for Botox and small lesion removals. That training is coming up in February, so I’m always looking forward to expanding my scope.”


“I hear it a lot from patients, who say, ‘I saw your grandpa and your dad,’” she says. “They want the same care as they have been getting here for decades. Those people trust in me.”

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