How I Found the Perfect Practice Setting for Connecting to My Community

Dr. Jackson’s practice’s stand at a community golfing event. Dr. Jackson says that having an independent practice next to a Walmart Vision Center has helped him build strong ties to his community.

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By Mark Jackson, OD

May 24, 2023

My community has always been important to me. When opening a practice, I wanted to make building strong ties to the surrounding community a key focus of our efforts. Opening an office adjacent to a Walmart Vision Center has allowed me to be as big a part of the community as I had hoped. I have used this ideal location to get even more involved in local activities and charities.

A Simple, Yet Powerful, Way to Start a Practice
I opened my first practice adjacent to a Walmart Vision Center in 1997 in Columbus Neb., and then moved to Fort Collins Colo., in 2001. I initially chose this practice setting because it offered a simple way to start an independent practice. As time went on, however, I realized that not only is opening an office next to a Walmart Vision Center an easy way to start a new practice because I could focus on my patients and my community, but I also have the autonomy to practice optometry to exactly my comfort level.

Choosing a practice setting like this allows an office to get up and running with minimal start-up costs and without having to worry about operating an optical. Right from the beginning, I made the decision to focus on practicing medical eyecare and serving my patients. I didn’t have to worry about building a retail sales infrastructure or selling glasses myself.

Reach Out to Your Community
Having patients come to me in my office to receive care is only one way I serve my community and use my optometric skills. There are many others: I am a proud member of the Rotary Club of Fort Collins-Breakfast, the official sponsor of the referees of the Colorado Eagles hockey team, the official optometrist of Fort Collins Foxes baseball team and a proud sponsor of the Ensight Skills Center-Colorado Low-Vision Service and Care.

In addition, each year our practice participates in local community auctions. Our sponsorships of events, which sometimes includes the purchase of a booth, benefits the charities while also bringing greater local awareness of our independent practice.

Through our participation in all of these organizations and events, our community has come to know us as a trusted place for receiving eyecare.

Find Philanthropies in Your Own Community & Grow Your Practice
If you want to grow your practice, get involved with your community by joining a civic organization, attending community events and sponsoring local sports teams. This will, in turn, bring brand awareness to your business. Plus, giving back is rewarding in itself.

We let people know that, while we hope they choose us first, the most important thing is that they get an annual comprehensive eye exam. The motto we repeat at events is: “Yearly Eye Exams for Healthy Eyes!”

My practice has had its challenges over the last five years, but is on the upswing. We went from a record year in 2019 to a reduction in business for 2020 and 2021. However, in 2022, we rebounded, surpassing the number of patients we saw in 2019.

When your practice becomes integral to your community, you can withstand the hard times to grow even stronger. Having a practice adjacent to a Walmart Vision Center, an essential part of the community, has proven invaluable to our growth and ability to serve the local population.

Mark Jackson, OD, is the owner of Jackson Eye Care, with two locations in Colorado, one of which is located adjacent to a Walmart Vision Center. To contact him:


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