Wausau Pilot & Review
Editor’s note: Business of the Week is a sponsored feature that shares the stories of locally-owned and operated businesses in the Wausau area, highlighting the products and services they offer and the ways they contribute to the metro area’s unique flavor. Learn how to feature your business by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week’s featured Wausau-area business is Pearle Vision, a family owned and operated optometry practice with six locations throughout the state – including two in the Wausau area. Dr. Jeremy Goetsch and Kati Goetsch, owners of Midline Vision, have worked together since 2009 alongside a team of more than 25 members who are enthusiastic about their work and passionate about their communities. Both Wausau natives, the couple returned to the area from Madison in 2015 to raise their children – and in the process built a nationally-recognized optometry business where clients are treated like extended members of the family. As Midline’s founder, president and CEO, Dr. Jeremy Goetsch equally enjoys providing great eye care and the business aspects of practice management. Kati Goetsch joined the group full-time as COO in early 2018, managing all back-end operations including human resources, marketing, and business development. Dr. Jessica Bloom Braunel, who is originally from the Wausau area, recently joined the group and, along with Dr. Jeremy now sees patients at both the Mosinee and Antigo Pearle Vision locations. The team prides itself on bringing together state-of-the-art technology, leading doctors and a fantastic staff to ensure you receive the best vision care available – all in a comfortable, friendly environment. Read on!
Q: When was your business established, and what prompted you to start?
A: Dr. Jeremy wore glasses as a kid, and loved to play sports, so naturally he made a lot of visits to his eye doctor growing up – he sometimes played harder than his glasses would allow! This sparked his interest in eye care, and watching his grandparents and parents grow their own business was a big inspiration toward business ownership.
Kati has always been equal parts creative and analytical, which led to a career in marketing and business development at health care and financial services companies. Studying entrepreneurial management in business school accelerated her interest in running a small company, with full knowledge of the variety and responsibility that comes along with that path.
Together, we’ve been providing comprehensive eye care services and a great selection of frames and contact lenses since 2009, when we lived in the Madison area. We’re both Wausau-area natives and we are having a wonderful experience with raising our three kids here. They’re all in elementary school, and still love coming into work with mom and dad! The kids even have their own pint-sized Pearle Vision uniform shirts to wear when they visit.
We opened two Pearle Vision locations in Northcentral Wisconsin in 2019 when we acquired Dr. Kathi Leach’s practice in Mosinee, and grew again in 2020 when we acquired Dr. Rick Kjome’s practice in Antigo. We are excited to continue providing excellent eye care to patients in this part of the state, and have enjoyed bringing in new technology to help manage patients’ eye health in the most advanced way possible.
Q: What makes your business unique? What sets you apart?
A: Our practice group has a really unique personality. At our heart, we are a locally-owned, family-run company, and we truly care about providing a wonderful work environment for our team members and a high-touch, personalized eye care experience for our patients. We also are proud to operate under the Pearle Vision name at our locations around Wausau. Having them as a national partner allows us to offer a large selection of high-quality frames at all price points, and offer a strong support network to enable our team members to excel at their jobs.
Q: What do you love most about your job? What drew you to this work?
A: Our patients consistently describe us as helpful, professional, and great at explaining things during their eye exam. Dr. Jeremy, Dr. Jessica, and our team members in Mosinee and Antigo all want to make sure that each of our patients feels fully informed about their eye health. We love it when we can help a patient with a difficult prescription or eye health issue in a way that others couldn’t.
Q: What are you most proud of accomplishing?
A: We’re very proud of the strong team we’ve built, the investment we’ve made in our practice locations and technology, and growing together as a family-owned business. Last year – 2020 – should have been a year of silly jokes about glasses prescriptions and eye care, but ended up being a very intense year full of both new trials and growth opportunities.
Working together and a husband-and-wife team has been a great experience for us as individuals and for our family so far. We’re both very driven people, and we’ve gotten so much further by working together than when we worked in separate industries. It’s also been really rewarding to show our children the inner workings of business ownership, and all of the hard work and responsibility that goes into that path.
Many of our patients have been with our practice for a very long time and have referred friends and family members. We take that as a huge compliment! The relationships and friendships we’ve developed with our patients over the years are very important to us.
Q: What challenges have you had to overcome? Basically, if you had it to do all over again, would you do anything differently?
A: We’ve learned from all of our challenges over the past 12 years in business, and wouldn’t change a thing. Even the hardest challenges, like the financial strains of the early start-up days and the incredibly stressful months of COVID last year, have made us stronger and taught us valuable lessons that we’re building on as we continue to grow.
Q: What are your hopes and dreams for the future? Where do you see your business in five years? 10?
Our practice group has grown by such amazing leaps and bounds since 2019 that it’s hard to imagine where we’ll be in five or ten years! Regardless of how big or small our business may be, our goals are going to remain the same – to offer the best eye care possible to our patients and provide a great place to work.
Pearle Vision – 412 Third Street, Mosinee
Schedule an exam online at PearleVision.com/Mosinee
Pearle Vision – 714 Third Ave., Antigo
Schedule an exam online at PearleVision.com/Antigo