Home Hampton Times SCORE helps optometrist see her way to business ownership

SCORE helps optometrist see her way to business ownership

Dr. Iana Brewer leaned on SCORE Bucks County mentors Steve Wolfson and Nick Cangiani when taking over a longtime Southampton-based business

An optometrist of two years, Dr. Iana Brewer always envisioned herself owning a practice. After working alongside Dr. Vivian Descant for a year, she and husband Greg jumped at the opportunity to own the longtime Southampton-based business.

“She’s seen families grow and children be born,” said Brewer of her predecessor and mentor. “She really wanted somebody to take care of her patients. I want to treat my patients like my family.”

As part of the transition, Descant works at the practice one day a week since the Brewers’ ownership became official in October.

As a homage to her maiden name — Volodarsky — Brewer renamed the business VoloVision. Greg, whose background is in drug safety for pharmaceutical companies, helps his wife with behind-the-scenes tasks, sharing a managerial perspective on various facets of the business, including metrics, reviewing contracts, and setting up a website and social media channels.

Evolving from eyecare professional to becoming her own boss presented challenges. In summer 2021, the Brewers began meeting every two weeks with SCORE Bucks County mentors Steve Wolfson and Nick Cangiani. Wolfson, who has 40 years’ experience in wholesale distribution and has expertise starting multiple business locations, and Cangiani, an expert in technology, strategy, management and finance, assisted with negotiating the purchase of the optometry business.

“They’ve been a godsend,” said Brewer. “They really broke down what it’s like to own a business.”

Wolfson and Cangiani guided them through the financial options for buying the practice, helped incorporate their business and find an accountant. The mentors provided regular “homework” and “asked very leading questions which made us think a lot,” according to Brewer.

Originally, the couple hoped to finalize the acquisition by the beginning of 2022. Brewer and Descant had everything settled. However, legal and financial issues presented challenges and delays.

“I could do optometry pretty much with my eyes closed,” said Brewer. “Buying the practice was tumultuous. Steve helped us a lot going through what the township needs and what we should be prepared for.”

Wolfson said he’s confident that VoloVision will continue to run successfully.

“Iana’s onsite training over the past several years and her previous industry experience makes for a bright future,” he said. “The new and old customers can see a clearer picture.”

Looking ahead, Brewer, who graduated in 2020 from Salus University, plans to focus the practice on treating medical aspects of optometry, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

As the practice grows to serve more families throughout the Bucks and eastern Montgomery County area, Brewer at times leans on her SCORE mentors.

“We still contact Steve from SCORE all the time,” she said. “He’s always happy to answer our questions.”

SCORE mentors provide no-cost business-related guidance throughout the life of a business. For more information or to find a mentor, visit score.org/buckscounty/local-mentors.

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