Dynamite Dispensary Design Revisited

KoersWhat makes a dispensary great? It all depends on the needs of the dispensary and the creativity of the designer.

by Amy MacMillan and Susan Provonost

Presentation is everything, as the saying goes. Therefore, the presentation of your dispensary is as important as the merchandise and professional service offered within.

That's why an entire industry is devoted to the successful design of optical'™s interiors, '”its shapes, colors, and contents. Clients walking through a dispensary's doors are struck first and foremost by the layout of its showroom. Are its frames offered up on tables and standing displays throughout the dispensary, or are they congregated on wall-mounted frame boards? Does the dispensary embrace a comfortable, homey feel, or is it a stark example of shining modernism. And how does the practitioner make use of the space he or she has to work with?

Those are all challenges faced by each and every dispensary owner. The answers are found in the personality of the practitioner, or the demographic of the client base. The answer is different for everyone, and the path taken to decide on the type of dispensary as varied as the types of dispensers.

The office of Dale M. Koers, OD in Carmel Valley, CA.

Dale M. Koers, O.D., knew he wanted to convey a warm, boutique atmosphere when he opened his first solo practice in early 1997 in Carmel Valley, an upscale neighborhood in San Diego, Calif.

Koers also wasn't afraid of a "commercial" dispensary appearance, however, he wanted it to be upscale. He enlisted Barbara Wright of Barbara Wright Design to achieve this look.

Initially, Koers had some color ideas in mind. He wanted to nail down the contemporary look with a black, brown, and light wood color scheme, but he left most of the design up to Wright.

"It was my personal preference to have something warm,'" Koers says. "That's why we chose browns with wood, and the black was just used for accent."

"He was very specific in giving me those directions," Wright remembers. "Once I had those parameters, he let me do what I thought was best."

Wright first had to combat the "boxy" look of the location. She chose asymmetrical angled walls'”which seem to "zig zag" out'”to disguise the long shape of the space, which is approximately 60 feet deep. These angled walls, made of drywall, are painted dark brown, and stop just short of the 10-foot ceiling. Fluorescent fixtures are hidden behind the wall to create a dramatic lighting effect.

The frame showcases themselves are niches, built out of the drywall and offset by a maple trim. The halogen lighting is hidden behind the trim surrounding each shelf, which is a white Formica. Wright said she decided against glass shelves, because glass is a "magnet for dust" and because the white surface combined with the halogen lighting actually highlights the individual frames.

Several full-length, maple-trimmed mirrors divide the shelves. Two oval-shaped, imported European laminate dispensing tables offset the angles in the space, and give an illusion of more space. Black leather chairs accent the tables.

The two exam rooms are located in the back of the office, and can be entered through a pointed archway, which subtly separates the dispensary from the "professional" area of the practice.

"I like to keep people's attention in the dispensing area where the merchandise is," Wright says.

In front of the receptionist's counter, and leading all they way down to the office, is a polished black granite floor. Not only is the floor elegant, but it serves a practical purpose as well. It ensures that the floor area in front of the reception desk will not get worn out, Wright explains.

Koers also discovered that the black granite serves as a terrific polarized lens demonstrator. When the sun gleams in through the front window and bounces off the granite, it causes a glare that Koers uses to his advantage when selling patients on the benefits of polarized lenses.

Koers is pleased with the design, and says after two-and-a-half years in his location, he wouldn't change a thing if he had to do it all over again.

AUGUST 2009 UPDATE
After 12 years this office is still looking good, still very successful and still owned by Dale Koers, OD.

Check out his website here:
http://www.visionboutique.com/

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