Rainier Eye, set to open in June, may help those with trouble seeing — but, its owners’ vision for a community-owned and operated optometry clinic is clear.
The clinic, located in Chehalis, will be co-owned by Drs. Mary Ferris and Angela Loeb, who previously worked as optometrists in Olympia.
Ferris practiced optometry in Olympia for 13 years, during which time she specialized in treating the blind and those with low vision, a field where fewer than 1% of optometrists practice. Loeb has been an optometrist in Olympia for 11 years with a focus on bringing an alternative to big box stores and corporate optometry, she said.
The new clinic will feature four exam rooms and an area to try on glasses.
Ferris said they’re trying to create a “Northwest homey design” with a comfortable feel for their clinic.
“We want to make it a beautiful and relaxing space,” she said. “We’re both drawn to the area for the natural beauty and we want to incorporate that into our decor.”
Ferris added their appreciation for the area’s natural beauty was behind their selection of the name “Rainier Eye.”
According to Ferris, the two worked at a locally-owned optometry clinic that was purchased by a larger chain. By opening their new office in Chehalis, the duo hope to recreate the local connection they once had.
“We’re trying to start with the local community first,” Ferris told The Chronicle. “We know this community enjoys locally-owned and community-based (businesses) and that’s really appealing to us.”
Emphasizing the importance of wanting to be connected to the community, Ferris said they’re looking for a receptionist from the area.
“It would be wonderful to find someone who speaks Spanish,” said Ferris, who speaks Spanish herself.
Ferris and Loeb are also planning on hosting focus groups to better understand the area’s unmet needs.
As a way to show their dedication to their new community, Ferris and Loeb are donating cabinets and other materials from their ongoing renovations at their new office space to Habitat for Humanity.
The clinic will be located at 145 S. Market Blvd. in Chehalis.