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The Park Vision Vision: Client interview

Here, we talk to Michelle Beach, Park Vision about why she has no regrets in embarking on a major practice refurbishment that saw them close so soon after their new practice opening.

On the contrary, Michelle goes on the explain how Park Vision is now better positioned to adapt to the UK’s new version of optometry, whilst also being able to demonstrate to patients their physical environment is not only safe, clean, hygienic, it can also still deliver an enjoyable customer experience.

Michelle goes on to explain…

The Park Vision Vision

 “Park Vision is a boutique optical practice in Nottingham, set up originally in 2008. It is part of the Nottingham Park Clinic, a Regency styled house in an exclusive area of Nottingham called The Park. The clinic houses many clinical specialties.

I started Park Vision with a “vision” (sorry) of wanting to spend more time with patients; offering the type of care that allowed me to spend longer with patients both in the examination room and then through to the glasses studio, hour dispense appointments – selecting frames within a boutique environment…..focusing on styling and lens choice.

I started from scratch in the small basement room…..I didn’t quite appreciate the challenges of starting from a zero patient database and the graft it would take but, Park Vision grew, and in 2013 we upscaled and moved into larger rooms on the ground floor. At this time, I considered using Retail Experience Design, but I was nervous about the upscale. I already had optical units I could use, was worried about costs and therefore decided to use a local joinery company”.

Michelle Beach

Optometrist Director, Park Vision

Business Growth 

Park Vision continued to grow, and we hit 2019 busting out in all areas…not enough room for stock, no space for browsing patients that dropped in, and very difficult for two people to be dispensed with privacy. We felt the “Park Vision” experience they came for was being compromised. I had a beautiful spacious examination room, but it was, to be honest, indulgent, and not the best use of a large area.

I followed Brexit for ages, studied accounts, and looked at the best time to be closed if we refurbished. I also looked at moving – we needed more space, but patients loved the location, the parking, and the central aspect for all postcodes of Nottingham.

Should I stay or should I go?……I got so confused with what to do I eventually picked up the phone and called in the cavalry…. in the shape of Dean Waugh, Retail Experience Design! 

I knew of his work he didn’t need any introduction…but was I ready to refurb Park Vision “properly”?

I wanted the world….a beautiful boutique clinic

Since that call I have never looked back – Dean arrived and from that moment we were on a clear path to Park Vision’s future. I wanted the world…a beautiful boutique clinic, but space for all things “necessarily boring” that an optical practice needs. A unique design – I wanted a “wow” factor…but you still need a focimeter, screwdrivers, and space for cases and till rolls! I wanted my examination room to rival the Starship Enterprise… but contact lens trial boxes and trial lenses were not that sexy!

I wanted it all…this was going to be my dream practice and I also needed the question answered – Did I invest in the space I currently had…or should I move? Dean arrived and my chaotic thoughts were instantly calmed. He listened, he made copious notes, I answered a huge questionnaire with my team that delved into the heart of Park Vision and made us think about the direction we wanted to take the practice.

The moment the first visuals arrived – I knew I had made the right decision. In-fact these visuals are quite different from the final refurbishment, but I knew he understood me and Park Vision’s ethos. He listens and acts and is fully prepared to “grow” the design and make changes. This isn’t about his vision for you…it is about him making your vision (and you might not even know what that is) into a beautiful but practical reality.

Once we had decided on the “let’s do it” design – Retail Experience Design produced astonishing 3D visuals which gave complete confidence. Dean spent ages with us talking through finishes and met with contractors discussing build options, discussing areas where cost could be kept down without compromising design.

The refurbishment 

We started the refurbishment on January 4th. The schedule was managed, and Dean kept on hand throughout the entire project. We had issues – it’s an old building and we didn’t allow for RSJ’s being out of alignment behind a 100-year-old wall, but nothing fazed Dean – he just re-drew designs, discussed how to solve old building issues and the project moved on.

We finished three days over the targeted date – and that was the structural engineer’s fault!

Park Vision is everything I wanted and more…it is simply stunning…but more importantly, it works!!! 

I remember saying to Dean that I didn’t want “a beautifully fitted kitchen that when you start using it there is clutter everywhere and a messy draining board” Yes…you are starting to see his challenge!!

Every space is utilized, behind every possible flat surface is a hidden cupboard, we have so much storage space, hidden sockets, subtle downlighting, a secret frame adjustment area, a coffee machine tucked behind a flush cupboard and even a recharging socket for patients to recharge their phones when having a coffee. It is spacious, clutter-free – patients walk in and just say “wow”

I am super proud to call it my practice. 

Global Pandemic 

We opened at the end of February…all was going well and then we closed due to COVID-19 …all the planning and accounts tracking couldn’t have predicted a pandemic!!

In the short time we were open our ROI was up 40% and it was proving to be a beautiful space to showcase our frames and technology.

Do I regret it??? Not at all…I have a futuristic examination room – clean white surfaces, washbasin, hospital taps, modern towel dispenser, and all testing room clutter is stashed behind flush cupboards.

We can socially distance in the dispensing room with more floor space. Again, there is no clutter and the dispensing technology has been fitted to walls so that we can take fitting measurements from afar. 

With us now re-opening our doors and getting back to a new version of Optometry I think we are much better placed to demonstrate to our patients that “we have got this”…..they should expect to feel safe and our practice is clean, spacious and a delight to be in.

I would not hesitate to recommend Dean and the team at Retail Experience Design….if you are reading this looking at the old carpet, cluttered shelves, nasty frame bars, and a tired pile of magazines……raise your game and pick up the phone now. 

You won’t regret it!

Our new practice opened at the end of February… all was going well and then we closed due to COVID-19!

All the planning and accounts tracking before the refurbishment couldn’t have predicted a pandemic!!

Do I regret it? Not at all…

Michelle Beach

Optometrist Director, Park Vision

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