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by Robin Gee
Fort Thomas dentist, Dr. Troy "TJ" Kramer, DMD, is excited. He will be become one of the first tenants in the new One Highland development, joining Fort Thomas Coffee and Bisbe Capital as announced commercial tenants in the space. He will own the space, two suites (C and D) on the first floor of the building, and is working with a dental consultant specializing in the design, construction and outfitting of dental offices.
A Fort Thomas native, Kramer became a dentist in 2012. He worked as an associate in another practice in Edgewood for six years before starting his own practice in January 2018. His current office is located at 14 North Fort Thomas Avenue – right across the street from the One Highland project.
Looking for a place to grow
With patient base that has grown steadily over the past three years, Kramer had been watching the project since it began.
"I’d been looking around for a space because I needed more room for patients and staff. Across the street was just a perfect opportunity," he said. He noted that he loves his current location and the patients seem to love it, too, "so to have a new building right across the street was just too good to be true."
He explained, "I’ve been here for three years and every year we’ve grown as an office, adding new patients monthly, and we were really just outgrowing our space here. When I started to learn about the building across the street, I inquired about it and found out I could go over there and have a bigger space right across the street, basically the same location," he said.
It was not a no-brainer, however. He said he thought about it a long time before taking the plunge.
"I honestly had been going back and forth about it, going across the street, talking to my wife about it. And then, one day, I just woke and thought, you know what, let’s just do it. I’m really excited about it and now cannot wait to get in there."
More space very close
If all goes according to plan, the One Highland developers will complete their construction by January 2022. They will have plumbing, electric, lights, walls and other basics in place. Then, Kramer’s construction crew will go in and complete the interior space to his architect’s design and specifications. He has already met with the One Highland developers, and his plans have been approved.
Right now, Kramer’s practice is bursting at the seams. He occupies the first floor of his current building and has 1,200 square feet. The new building offers more than double that, 2,600 square feet, all on one floor. With a base of about 2,500 patients that is rapidly growing, the new space will offer many opportunities to accommodate this growth.
The One Highland location will have six operatories or "chairs," and a waiting room/reception area with a coffee bar and welcome desk. In the clinical area will be the six operatories, along with a room for Xrays, panoramics and digital bitewing, lab and sterilization spaces. He will also have a consult room, an office and a breakroom for staff.
Right now, he has five employees – two dental hygienists, one dental assistant and two front office staff, including his wife who is the office manager. The new space may allow him to add staff, perhaps another dental hygienist, he said.
"This would allow for more openings for cleanings and to get patients in quicker, sometimes on the same day or the next week. I’ll have more chairs so I’ll be able to do more emergencies...I could do more than one filling or one crown. I could jump over and do something else with another chair."
If a patient came in with a toothache and needed immediate attention, the new set up will make that much easier to do, he added.
Bouncing back and planning ahead
After a year like 2020, Kramer is ready for the new space and new opportunities for his practice. Like all dentists and other health care providers, the COVID 19 pandemic presented major challenges.
"Unfortunately, we were closed down for six weeks starting in March last year, then we were only open for half days due to OSHA protocols, but also because it was very difficult to get PPE at that time. Everyone was giving to the hospitals, which we understand, but we didn’t have the supplies and neither did our suppliers, so we worked half days for four weeks," he said.
Even after that period, many people were hesitant to come into the office. Yet, now that things are starting to relax and open up, Kramer is very busy, he said. Everyone who stayed home, missed their cleanings and other appointments, and those who just suffered through with a toothache, are now calling to book appointments.
The move will come at a great time for the growing practice. "I’m really excited about it, and now I just can’t wait to get in there. Now that we have the contract signed, I’m thinking, 'oh shoot, we have to wait 'til next year.' The good thing is I am right across the street so if they don’t keep working on it I can go over there and tell them to get to work."
Seriously, he is happy for his patients and staff. "The patients are going to really like being across the street in a nice new building and with the same great dental care they have had in the past three years – in a new facility not too far from the previous office," he said.
For more about Dr. Kramer's practice, see his website at Kramer Family Dentistry.