Dr. Rachel Penney has always had an interest in optometry. Nearsighted as a child, she would visit her optometrist frequently, developing a mentorship that guided her on a career path. She wanted to provide the same care she received to her patients, establishing a relationship through the years, while helping them see. She knew the best opportunity to provide care to patients of all ages was to open her own practice - Penney Eye Care.
Dr. Letham operated an optometry practice in McKeesport for 30+ years, and was looking to enjoy a well-deserved retirement. Dr. Letham entrusted his patients to Dr. Penney, and sold her the practice. To make the transition as smooth as possible, Dr. Penney and staff worked alongside Dr. Letham for a period of time. In January, the take-over was official, but Dr. Letham stayed on to provide guidance in the first few pivotal months.
Dr. Penney looked for guidance in purchasing the practice. She approached the University of Pittsburgh Small Business Development Center for assistance in writing her business plan and obtaining and SBA loan at the suggestion of Community Bank. Dr. Penney worked tirelessly to complete her business plan, and submitted it to the SBDC for review. When she was ready to apply for a loan, the SBDC worked with her again on developing financial projections.
Dr. Penney now works with children as young as six months. She loves fitting children with glasses for the first time, as she remembers how her first pair of glasses significantly impacted her life. Dr. Penney states “I can recall vividly the first time I got my glasses, and realized people can actually see the leaves on trees.” She loves being able to change young lives by fitting youngsters with glasses. She has brought her expertise in contact lenses to the practice, and enjoys helping transition adults into contacts that allow them to see at distance and near. Dr. Penney also does medical optometry, which allows more patients to receive eye care. McKeesport is a little bit brighter with the new vision.