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Meet Dr. Michelle Sandler and Dr. Wanda Kauffman of Solana Family Dental in Solana Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Michelle Sandler and Dr. Wanda Kauffman.

Dr. Sandler and Dr. Kauffman, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
We have been a mother-daughter dental practice for many years. We decided to relocate from Boston to be close to family. We always felt a strong connection to San Diego.

Once the decision to move was made, we sold our Massachusetts practice in 2008. Mom (Dr. Kauffman) and I moved to Encinitas along with my two young sons and we left my husband and dad to sell our homes so they could join us on the West Coast.

The recession was starting to hit hard and all the potential practices we were looking to purchase were falling through, mainly because dentists could no longer retire with their shrinking retirement funds. As our prospects for buying into an existing practice dwindled, we decided to wait and see if any office space became available so we could hang our shingle and start from scratch.

As luck would have it, space we currently occupy became available and we jumped at the opportunity. We renovated the facility extensively, bought all new furniture, fixtures and the latest technology of dental equipment available, hoping our practice would grow to allow us to pay for it.
We opened our doors in December of 2009 and had an Open House where friends and family gathered.

The Solana Beach Chamber of Commerce participated in our ribbon cutting ceremony, and, by the end of the event, we had already managed to have several patients in our appointment book.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We were truly looking for a practice to buy in order to avoid starting from scratch. A cold start is expensive, frustrating and slow. It takes a lot of patience to wait for patients to trickle in, and there are no guarantees of success.

We started building our practice the same way we had expanded our East Coast practice: word of mouth and one on one contact, either by chance meetings at local establishments or by personally introducing ourselves to the various businesses and community organizations in and around Solana Beach. We were very fortunate because, even though business was slow at the beginning, it did start to slowly build up.

We decided to increase our patient base by focusing our presence online and have enjoyed excellent results in attracting new patients that way. Because our patient retention is very high, we have managed to expand our total patient base considerably.

Solana Family Dental – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We are a family dental care practice, based on a philosophy of providing patients multiple options so they can make informed and educated decisions regarding their dental treatment. We fill the full needs of each family for all general, as well as cosmetic dentistry.

We are lucky to have an array of outstandingly competent and caring specialists to refer our patients for work that we do not do ourselves in order to provide our patients with an integrated network for each and every conceivable aspect of dental care.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
We are very fortunate in having built up a practice as large as ours in such a relatively short period of time. We are very proud of the excellent reviews that we get online from our patients and we feel very fortunate to have been embraced by this community and we are privileged to now be a part of it as well.

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