Yuma Vision Center

Dr. Tom Determan and Dr. Steve Spencer saw a clear need for optometry and ophthalmology services in their area, so they joined forces to form Yuma Vision Center.

At the suggestion of a Phoenix-based surgical group that they belonged to, Determan and Spencer opened a joint practice in Yuma in 1993 that included space for a part-time surgery center. For 15 years, their surgical partners travelled to Yuma to conduct cataract surgeries in a neighboring suite. Determan and Spencer knew that they needed a larger facility with a full-time ophthalmologist on site.

“In 2008, we designed and built a new facility and helped recruit a full-time independent ophthalmologist to work in our building,” Determan said. “We went from 3,400 to 8,000 square feet and now have a surgeon full-time, as opposed to having one come in two to three times a month.”
According to Determan, the Arizona Western College SBDC and Center Director Randy Nelson were critical to the successful expansion of Yuma Vision Center.

“We started working with the SBDC in 2005 to learn how to understand profit and loss better,” he explained. “We were trained to be optometrists, not business owners, and they helped us understand our business better.”

“Randy showed us that, financially, we could handle a bigger space,” Determan said. “He helped us get the information that we needed for our first business plan and helped with our presentation to a local bank. It was a successful presentation.”

“Now the SBDC is working with us on our web and social media presence,” he added.

Determan and his partner get the most satisfaction from helping patients and from being part of the community. “We have 16 employees on staff and half of them have been with us for 10 years or longer” he said. “We’re proud to be a local ‘mom and pop’ business, instead of a chain.”

Determan encourages new business owners to utilize all of the resources that are available to them. “I didn’t realize that the SBDC had all of the tools that they do,” he explained. “There’s a big difference between knowing eye care and knowing the eye business. Experts like the SBDC can help you make the transition as smooth as possible.”

Fast Facts about Yuma Vision Center
Type of Business:Optometry Center
Owners: Dr. Tom Determan, & Dr. Stephen Spencer

275 W. 28th Street,
Yuma, AZ
(928) 782-7557

Business Began: 1993
Employees at Startup: 5
Employees in 2010: 18
First Year Revenue: $650,000
Revenue in 2010: $1.6 million
Startup Capital: $100,000
Source of Initial Capital: $95,000 Bank Loan, $5,000 Owner Equity