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SBA loan helps dentists expand access

Wausau, Wis.—Despite a tough economy, pediatric dentists Drs. Thomas Turner, Corey Brimacombe, Carl Hash and Joshua Spiegl are able to treat more underserved children in rural north central Wisconsin and to employ more people in several communities thanks to a Small Business Administration 504 loan.

Image:  Talking tooth: Character from First Impressions video.
Talking tooth: Character from First Impressions video.

The SBA honored the dentists of First Impressions Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics May 21 in Washington and they were named the 2012 Wisconsin Small Business Persons of the Year in June.

“We are honoring their achievements and spirit of entrepreneurship, innovation and determination,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “It is this spirit that continues to drive economic recovery, economic growth and job creation.”

“The SBA loan gave us the financial flexibility to expand in spite of a tough economy,” said Dr. Turner. “We believed we could expand to other rural communities where children lacked specialty dental care. The SBA 504 loan allowed us to spread the loan out.”

First Impressions celebrated the receipt of its SBA loan by entering the agency’s video contest. A two-minute video now posted on YouTube features an endearing talking tooth character that explains First Impressions’ mission to the communities it serves and how the SBA loan made it possible for the practice to expand. Log on to youtube.com and search with the key words First Impressions pediatric dentistry.

According to SBA 504 guidelines, the four owners contributed 10 percent of expansion costs, their bank loaned them another 50 percent and they received the remaining 40 percent from an SBA Certified Development Company.

“As a result we were able to build three new clinics, hire two more doctors, six hygienists, four assistants and three administrative staff,” Dr. Turner said. “Our practice has grown to serve 15 counties.”

First Impressions opened in 1992 in Wausau and has expanded to offices in Weston, Stevens Point, Rhinelander, Medford and Shawano. It currently employs 73 people, including nine dentists.

First Impressions also has a Toothmobile that travels to 15 counties offering patients dental screenings and access to care. “The Toothmobile also encourages a dental home model for preventive services with families and community leaders,” Dr. Turner said.

“From the beginning, First Impressions’ mission was dedicated to making sure low-income families receive the same level of respect and treatment as other patients,” Dr. Turner added. “Our practice is a good example of what a dental team can do when its values, heart and business sense come together.”

For more information on First Impressions, visit www.fidkids.com. For more information on SBA loans, visit www.sba.gov.