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Pandemic Doesn’t Slow Down Eye Care Practice's Approach To Expansion

Mar 26, 2021
Posted by: Stearns Bank

Dr. Christopher Bettner (left) owns Bettner Vision in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Bettner Vision business operations manager Caitlin Wiebe (right) helps manage the practice's day-to-day operations, including its expansion in 2020. (Photo submitted by Bettner Vision) 

 

Bettner Vision is anything but typical.

Dr. Christopher Bettner’s Colorado Springs optometry and ophthalmology practice closed for a brief time in the spring of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But that did not stop Bettner and his employees from thinking big.

“We were strategic about how we handled the pandemic,” Bettner Vision’s business operations manager Caitlin Wiebe said. “We didn’t make any irrational decisions. Everybody had a grateful attitude that we were part of a strong, thriving business. Something like the pandemic wasn’t going to take us out.”

Even before the pandemic hit, Bettner Vision had plans for expansion and updates to their equipment in 2020. Instead of abandoning those plans, Wiebe said Dr. Bettner and his staff remained focused on completing the upgrade.

“We had been planning it for years. We had the space, and the construction was scheduled,” Caitlin said.

Utilizing The PPP Loan

The construction, which began in April 2020, ended last December. The main reason Bettner Vision could afford to stay aggressive with its expansion plans was because it took out a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan to cover its furloughed employees for six weeks. After those six weeks, restrictions were lifted, and they could see patients again.

The PPP loan, taken out through Stearns Bank, came at the right time.

BettnerVisionGroup

The Bettner Vision team stands outside their practice in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Photo submitted by Bettner Vision)

 

“We didn’t have to take out another loan for the construction. As sad as it sounds, the pandemic was a blessing for us because we didn’t have to take out a high-interest loan elsewhere,” Wiebe said. “No one lost their job at Bettner Vision. We never fully closed ­­­­­– we still saw patients on an emergency basis during those six weeks.

“That feeling of strength and unity is something we all felt.”

Bettner Vision expanded into the suite next door at the Marketplace at Briargate Shopping Center. It added a vision therapy exam lane, a visual field-testing instrument (which helps diagnose glaucoma or other ailments) and frame boards for the new space.

A Commitment To Their Patients

The added equipment and space has made the Bettner Vision patient experience that much better.

“I know the patients love the new look and our online reviews reflect that,” Caitlin said. “They recognize our commitment to advanced technology and our ability to care for them on a higher level.”

Caitlin credits Dr. Bettner and his commitment to his patients as the main reason for continual purchases in new equipment over the years. Dr. Bettner’s relationship with Stearns Bank goes back 13 years to the initial opening of his practice.

“He is a phenomenal doctor,” Caitlin said. “He allows everyone to do their jobs here and he doesn’t try to be something he isn’t in terms of business. He goes with the flow, but he knows when we need something. That’s a great dynamic to have in a boss.”

Caitlin has worked for Dr. Bettner for the past six years. While she inherited working with Stearns Bank through Dr. Bettner, she has been impressed with how easy the relationship is.

“It’s a long relationship. They offer services we can take advantage of through maintaining cash flow. Stearns Bank is our go-to. We don’t search for anybody else. Stearns Bank is proficient at what it does, and they always have your back. You always feel supported,” Caitlin said.

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