BUSINESS: The Independent Eye: Optical on Main Street The ‘Small Town Vibe’ Goes Worldwide at Salisbury Eyecare and Eyewear By Staff Thursday, February 13, 2020 9:37 AM Melanie J. Denton, OD, MBA, FAAO opened Salisbury Eyecare and Eyewear cold in January 2016. Image courtesy of Salisbury Eyecare and Eyewear. SALISBURY, North Carolina—In January 2016, Melanie J. Denton, OD, MBA, FAAO, took a leap. A 2009 graduate of the Michigan College of Optometry, Dr. Denton opened her own independent practice in Salisbury, North Carolina, where she now works as the primary doctor alongside a small team that includes Kristin Temple Black, her medical assistant. The decision to open up her own practice—named Salisbury Eyecare and Eyewear—was one that made sense for Dr. Denton. Black explained that Dr. Denton “had very specific ideas of how she wanted to interact with patients,” before beginning her work, and knew that independence would give her the freedom to spend more time with each patient. Although occasional fill-in doctors sometimes join her, Dr. Denton is the primary practitioner at her practice—and the only full-time one as well. This also means she can work to build a personal connection with everyone who comes through her office. Black told Vision Monday, “Dr. M believes that all her patients should feel like she is their doctor—like she knows them. She interacts with them at every yearly exam—it’s not like ‘I just go to this office and see whoever is available.’ She wants to give it that small town vibe and really make it personal.” Dr. Denton handpicks everything in her practice, from the frame lines to the decorations. Image courtesy of Salisbury Eyecare and Eyewear.Dr. Denton aims to give her practice a small town vibe. Image courtesy of Salisbury Eyecare and Eyewear. The “small town vibe” also means that Dr. Denton is involved with her whole community, not just her patients. She is a member of the Historic Salisbury Foundation, the Rowan Chamber of Commerce and the Salisbury Rotary, as well as offering her time as a volunteer clinical examiner for the North Carolina Board of Optometry. Dr. Denton and her team work closely with their local town and city employees, too, ensuring that they take the vision plan that city and county employees use. Inside the office, that also means that Dr. Denton’s personal touch is everywhere. Black explained, “She picks out literally everything in the practice: the frame lines, the progressives. She hand picks selections with the designers.” Every frame line Salisbury Eyecare and Eyewear carries is independent, too, Black said. “You’re a small business, we’re a small business—let’s help each other.”Dr. Denton also updates a YouTube channel. Kristin Temple Black said, “It’s been really fun to be able to connect with people in a more personal way even if they can’t come into the office.” Creating a small town vibe doesn’t mean Dr. Denton isn’t looking at the bigger picture, though. Like many independent practices, she and her team use social media to keep in contact with their patients, the larger optical community, and anyone else who might come across their pages. Alongside Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts, Dr. Denton also works hard on maintaining an active YouTube channel. Updated every Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. EST, Dr. Denton’s YouTube channel features vlogs, tips and tricks for eyecare and makeup around the eyes, educational content, unboxings, comparison videos and more. The channel offers a perfect balance between health and fashion content, and Black, who appears in many of the videos said, “It’s been really fun to be able to connect with people in a more personal way even if they can’t come into the office.” At her practice and online, Dr. Denton, Black, and the rest of the team are able to create a small town atmosphere with worldwide reach—and being independent is what gives them the time, freedom and ability to do that. Kristin Temple Black is Dr. Denton’s medical assistant and right-hand woman. Image via Salisbury Eyecare and Eyewear on Instagram. Dr. Denton and her team are closely involved with their local community. Image via Salisbury Eyecare and Eyewear on Instagram.