Opening an optical boutique was kind of a daydream for optometrist Mark Veth.
"I always thought about hanging my own shingle, being my own boss and living the American dream," said Veth, 35, owner of Be Spectacled.
But it wasn't until an ophthalmologist's office in Milwaukee closed that the door on his longtime dream opened.
Until then, Veth never thought about creating a job. He already had one, working for a Lasik surgeon with offices in Milwaukee and Fond du Lac. When the Milwaukee office closed in May 2010, Veth realized he had a great opportunity.
"My wife was two months pregnant, and to tell her I was excited about losing my job because I could now do what I wanted to - well, she was excited for me," Veth said.
Four days after he opened his shop in November, he and his wife, Kerry, welcomed their first child, Freddy.
After that momentous first week, Veth was sure he'd have some down time. In fact, he even brought his guitar and a piano into the shop.
"I thought I'd have time play the piano in between patients," he said.
Things haven't worked out that way. But the instruments have been a conversation starter and once led to a duet with a seventh-grade patient.
"That's the absolute most fun part of my job when I have those connections with patients," he said. "
Six months into the entrepreneurial life, Veth is still learning about accounting, marketing and management.
But every once in a while he gets to be the teacher, like when he explains the difference between an ophthalmologist (eye doctors who do surgery) and an optometrist (eye doctors who do everything but surgery).
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JUST THE FACTS
BUSINESS: Be Spectacled
ADDRESS: 7605 Harwood Ave.
PHONE: (414) 453-1300
OWNER: Mark Veth
TYPE OF BUSINESS: optometrist, optical boutique
PEARLS OF WISDOM: "I like to develop a personal connection with all my patients."
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