SIDNEY — Valentine Vision in Sidney has changed ownership and changed its name.
Dr. Philip Valentine has sold his long-time optometry practice to Dr. Josh Werling, of St. Henry, and Dr. Chad Otte, of Celina. Its new name is Sidney Family Eye Care.
The Sidney office is the fourth one Werling and Otte have opened in the last year and a half. They purchased Dr. Frank Tangeman’s practice in Celina, purchased Dr. Dennis Miller’s practice in Van Wert and opened their own office in Anna, in addition to acquiring the Sidney office at 739 Spruce Ave.
“If you would have told me in school that in January of 2016 that we’d have four locations, I would have said you were crazy,” Werling said.
While opening four offices right at the beginning of his career might not have been anticipated, he had known since he was an eighth-grader that he would be an optometrist.
“I realized I couldn’t see anything anymore,” Werling said of that time. “I went to Frank’s office. He gave me contact lenses. I thought it was the coolest thing that a little piece of plastic could allow me to see leaves on trees. I knew that’s what I wanted to do. Now it’s pretty cool to see that face on kids when they can see. I hope to have the positive effect on others that Frank had on me.”
Werling played football for Ohio Dominican University and graduated from the Ohio State University College of Optometry in 2014. Otte earned a Bachelor of Science in biology from Wilmington College, where he, too, was on the football team, and graduated from the same optometry school in 2011. The two had met when they both interned during summers in Tangeman’s office. Otte became an associate of Tangeman’s, and he and Werling planned to purchase the practice together when Werling had graduated.
“I think Frank always wanted us to work together,” Werling said.
The growth of their new partnership seemed to happen naturally. The doctors decided right away that they wanted a second office and discovered that Anna had no resident optometrists. So they expanded to Anna.
“They’ve been very welcoming,” Werling said of Anna residents.
Then last year, Valentine approached the doctors and asked if they’d be interested in buying his practice. He had opened it in 1968 and after 48 years, he wanted to shed some of the business responsiblities.
“It’s time to spend time with the grandkids,” he said. Valentine is not retiring. He will continue to see patients in the new practice.
“I still enjoy patients,” he said. But now he can “walk out without having to worry about if someone’s going to be here in the morning. I don’t have to worry about who’s going to order supplies,” he added.
He had sold his practice in Lima five years ago. The sale of the Sidney office became official on Jan. 1.
“Because Anna was so welcoming, we said, ‘Let’s keep going in Shelby County,’” Werling said. And then they availed themselves of the opportunity in Van Wert.
“Everything has worked out in the grand scheme of things,” Otte said, although he admits the business side of the enterprise has been challenging.
“I’ve really had to learn a lot. There’s a lot more involved than I anticipated. It’s been a learning experience, but I’ve had lots of help from our accountants and attorneys. It’s been a good experience,” he said.
The owners rotate through each location and Tangeman and Miller continue to see patients, as will Valentine.
Besides painting the Sidney facility, Werling and Otte have added some new technology and equipment to it, including a retinal camera that monitors diabetes and glaucoma and optical coherence tomography, which takes pictures of the optic nerve to track glaucoma and takes pictures of the macula to monitor macular degeneration.
They also sell eyeglasses and contact lenses and have available corneal refraction therapy.
“It’s a contact lens that you sleep in at night and take out during the day. It changes corneal curviture for nearsightedness, so you don’t need any correction, glasses or contact lenses, during the day. It’s like braces for your eyes,” Werling said. “We’re setting up the practice to take care of patients of all ages and all conditions.”
All therapies are available and new patients are welcome at all four offices.
“We’re excited to be here in Sidney,” Werling said. “That’s something we did not foresee. But sometimes you just have to go with your gut.”
Otte looks forward to meeting new people.
“Building relationships with patients — that’s my favorite part of my job,” he said.
For information or to schedule an appointment, call 492-1990 in Sidney, 639-2909 in Anna.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824. Follow her on Twitter @PASpeelmanSDN.