Community-Focused Dental Practice Thrives with Help From the SBDC

PCR1The SBDC offered dentist Dr. Carla Thomas the advice and expertise she needed to get the best loan terms, improve her cash flow and expand her dental office.

Dr. Carla Thomas believes it is important for people to have access to quality services within their community. After growing up and attending school in Inglewood, graduating from USC’s School of Dentistry in 1996, she chose to open her own dental practice in her hometown. The Smile Studio offers preventive, periodontal care, cosmetic dentistry, and restorative care to keep the Inglewood community smiling.

Challenges
After more than 15 years in business, Dr. Thomas purchased her own building in 2011 on a busy thoroughfare and expanded her practice substantially. By 2013, she was seeking to refinance an existing loan she used to purchase dental equipment. Looking for advice on obtaining better loan terms, she visited the Small Business Development Center hosted by Pacific Coast Regional.

Best Advice
SBDC Business Advisors Tom McCluskey and Myron Perryman helped Dr. Thomas put together a loan application, explore her financing options, compare interest rates and loan terms, and ultimately obtain two loans totaling nearly approximately $280,000.

Client Impact
Today The Smile Studio is a state-of-the-art dental facility, boasting 95 percent new equipment with all the latest technology and materials used in dentistry. “My practice has grown tremendously,” Dr. Thomas says.

Now in a 3,200-square-foot location that’s quadruple the size of her original office, Dr. Thomas has been able to expand from three treatment rooms to eight, triple the amount of patients she can see per day, and cut appointment scheduling from two months out to two weeks out. To handle the increased patient base, she’s hired two new dental hygienists, two new doctors, two new specialists and one new assistant, expanding her staff from four employees to 11.

Dr. Thomas, who is committed to serving the Inglewood community, is striving to become the premier dental office in the area. “I want to create a customer service environment that’s above and beyond, and I think we’re well on our way.”

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