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Beauty in Chaos

THIRD PLACE: Construction delays, a global pandemic, and major life changes can’t stop the team at this Texas practice from delivering exceptional — and now award-winning — care.

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Eyes on Westlake / WESTLAKE, TX

OWNER: Blythe McPherson, OD | URL: eyesonwestlake.com | YEAR FOUNDED: 2020 |AREA: 1,468 sq. ft. | EMPLOYEES: 3 full-time | FACEBOOK: facebook.com/eyesonwestlake | INSTAGRAM: instagram.com/eyes_on_westlake | TOP BRANDS: Barton Perreira, DITA, Etnia Barcelona, MODO, ECO, Ørgreen, Maui Jim | BUILD OUT COST: $267,000 | ARCHITECT AND DESIGN FIRMS: Karina Designs


DR. BLYTHE MCPHERSON isn’t one to cut corners. She is all in. All the time. And the first-time business owner wouldn’t have it any other way. “I am just too invested,” McPherson explains. “I can’t just sit back and have a job. I want to dive into every aspect of it and make it better.”

Her hands-on approach is a main reason she left her first job out of optometry school to pursue her aspirations as a business owner. And her passionate focus certainly is reflected in her burgeoning young practice.

Eyes on Westlake is nestled in an upscale planned development in the northern suburbs of Fort Worth, TX. It opened in November 2020, just as coronavirus cases were surging in the country.

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Texas Practice Embraces the Chaos to Deliver Exceptional CareTexas Practice Embraces the Chaos to Deliver Exceptional Care
Texas Practice Embraces the Chaos to Deliver Exceptional CareTexas Practice Embraces the Chaos to Deliver Exceptional Care

But a global pandemic wasn’t the only obstacle McPherson faced that year. There were construction delays. She was unemployed for months. She had a wedding to plan! “It was just a lot of fun chaos,” McPherson says with a laugh, recalling the roller coaster ride that was 2020. “I had a great support system. My husband did not go without work (during COVID-19). He supported me 100%. He said I may be unemployed but that I was working nonstop.”

Texas Practice Embraces the Chaos to Deliver Exceptional Care

Owner Blythe McPherson, OD

Entering that year, McPherson was working as a fill-in at other practices and doing some corporate gigs. COVID put an end to all that. However, it was a blessing in disguise. She put her newfound free time into planning. “None of us knew what COVID was,” McPherson says.

“I figured maybe I’d be laid off for a couple weeks. I was going to laugh if the next time I saw my next patient was when I opened my practice… That’s exactly what happened.”
But she was ready.

“Everything happens for a reason,” McPherson says. “If I had a job, I wouldn’t have had the time to plan for my business. I got to focus on every aspect of it.”

Texas Practice Embraces the Chaos to Deliver Exceptional Care

Before they arrive at Eyes on Westlake, patients are quizzed on everything from their favorite music to their taste in candy.

Her older sister, Jade McPherson, helped with the interior design and branding. The team at iCare Advisors helped her stay on target as she navigated all the moving parts of a cold open.

“My sister refers to herself as my Brand Ambassador,” McPherson says. “She is a software engineer. She was all in on helping with the fine details. We made it our fun project.”

Dr. McPherson has kept the spirit of fun alive as the practice approaches its two-year anniversary. Patient care is key in that regard. “I love the patient experience,” she says.

“I love it all. The experience when they walk in. The smells they are greeted with. The beverages we offer.”

Texas Practice Embraces the Chaos to Deliver Exceptional Care

Eyes on Westlake will even have your favorite music playing when you step into its modern, yet warm, space. That is, if you let them know what it is. “We are very digital,” McPherson explains. “We ask patients to fill out paperwork online before coming in. And we ask them all sorts of questions like what their favorite music and candy are. A lot of patients catch it and say, ‘I wondered why you asked me that!’”

A strong staff of three and a four-legged mascot help McPherson pull it all off. “My team is awesome,” McPherson exclaims. “We hire for personality first, and then the rest usually takes care of itself. Each member is highly talented and cross-trained.”

For all the planning and attention to detail that went into opening her practice, McPherson insists the future of Eyes on Westlake is wide open. She’d like to grow her business, of course. But there’s still a lot of life going on. “We got married in October of 2020,” she explains. “A month later, we opened the practice. Two months later, I found out I was pregnant. It was unexpected. So, we had our first child in September 2021. We are expecting No. 2 in December. They will be 15 months apart. We’ll have two under two and I’m still trying to figure out how that will work!”

Texas Practice Embraces the Chaos to Deliver Exceptional Care

Five Cool Things About Eyes on Westlake

1.ALL IN THE FAMILY. McPherson wasn’t sure optometry was her thing until she shadowed her uncle Dr. John Todd Cornett, who works at Premier Vision in Amarillo, TX. “I wasn’t expecting to like it. But it was just one of those days where there were so many cool cases,” McPherson recalls. “One patient had bleeding in the back of the eye. Another had herpes of the eye. I mean, all sorts of cool stuff. I was like, ‘Whoa. This is way different than I expected!’”

2. ELEGANT DESIGN. The business is part of a planned community that incorporates architectural elements from the Catalonia region of Spain. (Think Barcelona.) “The development is designed with hand laid stone, lakes, canals, and is near a charming, walkable community.”

3. LISTEN TO THIS. Eyes on Westlake takes the customer experience to the next level. In addition to playing their patients’ favorite music upon arrival and a bowl of a favorite sweet treat, Eyes on Westlake offers an assortment of complimentary adult drinks like local craft beers and mimosas.

4. MUST LOVE DOGS Boudreaux, McPherson’s English bulldog, pulls double duty as mascot and store greeter. “Patients come in just to see him,” McPherson says. “He greets people at the door. He sits in the corner and snores. He’s just been great as a social media presence.”

5. GIVING BACK. McPherson volunteers her time giving eye exams to kids at a local school district. She works with the OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation to ensure that any kids in need of eyewear get their frames and lenses for free.

Fine Story

Eyes on Westlake wasn’t McPherson’s first attempt at owning a business. Upon graduation from the University of Houston (she completed her undergrad studies at Texas Tech), she took a job at a practice in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. After about a year of seeing patients, she felt ready to tackle the business side of things. “I asked the doctor I was working with about taking over her practice,” McPherson said. “She said, ‘I’d love to sell to you, but maybe in two years or three.’” However, by the third year, the sale was off the table. “It was what you hear so often in this business,” McPherson says. “It is a safer bet (to take over an established practice). But it is rare for that transaction to go through.” McPherson decided it was time to branch out. “I should have done my own thing a long time ago,” she states. “It was probably one of the scariest decisions. But it was by far one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

PHOTO GALLERY (34 IMAGES)

JUDGES’ COMMENTS

  • Eyes on Westlake is beautifully branded and displayed in a light and bright optical experience. (It is a) welcoming reflection of the local vibe of Westlake. — Jenn Denham, Director of Growth Marketing, Optify, Salt Lake City, UT
  • The excellence in hospitality creates an off-the-charts patient experience. From the very well curated frame brand assortment to the amazing patient care, this practice has the right punch of personality that makes an independent eyecare business stand out and thrive in the community. — David Duralde, Chief Creative Officer, OGI Eyewear, Minneapolis, MN
  • The use of the dark blue and the stark white of the dispensary work well together with the unique light fixtures and exposed ceiling. — Jan Ennis, President/CEO, Ennco Display Systems, Redmond, WA
  • Wow! Every single detail has been attended to! I am impressed with the building, the story, and all of the personal touches. — Paige Kraemer, ABOC, Sales Consultant – Minnesota, Cherry Optical Lab, Green Bay, WI

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