Busy Mom Says Being a Pearle Vision Licensed Owner Brings Balance
Dr. Sarah Krietlow is managing quite the balancing act.
As the licensed owner of Pearle Vision in Chaska, Minnesota, an optometrist who sees patients four days per week, mother of two teenagers and wife to her husband of just 2 1/2 years, she deeply appreciates the flexibility that comes with being a franchise owner.
“I think all parents who are business owners are hard on themselves. I learned that I can’t do everything – see all my patients, run the business and be there for my children – without a lot of juggling and help,” Krietlow says.
Krietlow has built her work schedule around her children’s schedules. She drops off her son at school and then heads to work about 9:30 most mornings. She sees patients three weekdays and Saturdays, working till 7 p.m. on the nights her kids are at their dad’s. She catches up on paperwork two days per week at home.
Her teenagers have grown up in doctor’s offices. She and their dad were both optometrists, so her son and daughter were always pressed into service cleaning demo frames or other odd jobs. Her 16-year-old daughter recently got her first part-time job at her mom’s store, working at the front desk on weekends. “She has almost stopped calling me ‘mom’ in front of patients,” Krietlow says, laughing. “Almost.”
After work, however, Krietlow’s focus is on her family. “I don’t pull out work at home, and I try to make it to every one of the kids’ activities that I can.”
She recently hired an associate optometrist who sees patients on her days off, and they both work Saturdays because it’s so busy. “I love having the flexibility to run the medical side like I want. It was hard to know when to hire somebody else, because I didn’t want to let go of patient care,” she says. “But I also don’t want to rush to see four to five patients per hour. I pride myself on having patients say that they felt like they had received a very thorough eye exam and that they appreciated the time I spent with them.”
Even when she was the only optometrist in her store, however, Krietlow says she never felt alone in dealing with the business side of things.
“Because it’s a franchise, you have your fellow licensed owners to offer advice while you get things up and running,” she says. “You always have a sounding board. And we all say we are not competitors; we are here to help each other out.”
She says the flexibility of owning a franchise makes the delicate balance that is her life doable. “There are perks to being a franchise owner,” Krietlow says. “I would never go back to working for somebody else.”