Optometrists have a keen eye for business | nnbw.com

Optometrists have a keen eye for business

Duane Johnson
Dr. Daniel Rowan (left) and Dr. Mark Mchitsch pose with one of the University of Nevada, Reno's mascots, Alphie

After years in the world of commercial optometry, Dr. Daniel Rowan wanted to pursue his own ambitions of running his own business.

In 2004, he rented a space in Caughlin Ranch and opened his private optometry practice called EyeZone.

While Dr. Rowan admits he didn’t fully grasp what an undertaking it was, a conservative business plan and diligence has built the EyeZone brand in northern Nevada.

“I was probably so naïve in the gravity of the situation that I was doing at the time,” Dr. Rowan said in an interview with NNBW at his office at 9700 S. McCarran Blvd. in Reno.” I probably didn’t have the cash reserves that are suggested to start a business, but I had the will and desire to get it done.”

Dr. Rowan said he tried not to accumulate a lot of debt from borrowing money or buying a lot of expensive equipment.

EyeZone in 2007 expanded into Carson City with a location on Topsy Lane. Despite modest growth, Dr. Rowan found it difficult being a sole proprietor.

“Truth to be told, being a solo practitioner is a tough gig,” Dr. Rowan said. “When it’s just you, it’s hard to take vacations and deal with the business side of things such as working with insurance companies. It just made more sense to go into that type setting.”

In 2014, he merged practices with Dr. Mark Michitsch, then owner of Premier Vision Group, located in the medical complex near the of W. Fourth Street and S. McCarran Boulevard intersection in Northwest Reno, which is now EyeZone’s main office.

The merger, Dr. Rowan explained, has made office operations run much more efficiently and because each physician has different areas of expertise, it has made the practice more attractive to insurers.

Among the services EyeZone provides are pediatric and sports-related eye care, LASIK procedure consultations and management of eye diseases.

With its expertise in sports-related vision, EyeZone also is the official optometrist for the University of Nevada Wolf Pack athletics.

EyeZone recently acquired South Meadows Vision Source at 10583 Double R Blvd. in South Reno. The practice now has four locations in northern Nevada including offices in Stateline.

Dr. Rowan said unlike some medical practices with multiple offices where doctors are usually stationary, EyeZone’s physicians are mobile, working in multiple offices during the week.

Two other physicians, Dr. Matt Sisson and Dr. Amy Sullivan also practice at the EyeZone offices.

In recent years, the physicians have shifted their marketing approach to more social media outlets. They hired Stephanie Hanna, a local marketing consultant and owner of the marketing firm Promote, to handle the nuances of social media.

“I did a lot of TV and radio in the past, but now its more word of mouth,” Dr. Rowan said. “Social media is an animal that’s getting bigger and bigger and Steph really helps us out with that aspect.”

Hanna indicated EyeZone has invested in their community outreach programs. While it’s a useful marketing tool, Dr. Rowan says helping those in the community is much more meaningful to the company.

“Our work with the university and our community is very important to us,” Dr. Rowan said.

Its community outreach is mostly tied to its relationship with UNR. EyeZone sponsors various UNR programs such as the recognition of U.S. military veterans at the halftime of home football games or a celebrity free throw contest with proceeds benefitting Moms on the Run, a nonprofit that assists women and families dealing with breast cancer.

As to the future?

“We do have plans to grow, but with our focus on continuing to provide excellent care and efficient offices for our clients, I think that growth will happen on its own,” Dr. Rowan said.

For more information on EyeZone, go online at: http://www.eyezonenevada.com.