The following article was originally published in the Winter 2020 issue of IMPACT Newsmagazine, (released March 2, 2020) Dental Depot's internal quarterly magazine.
Dr. Michael Cheng reflects on 15 years as
a Dental Depot Partner.
IMPACT: How did you come to meet Dr. Glenn?
MC: My wife worked for Dr. Ashmore at the [Central OKC] office while I was still in dental school. We got to talking and I asked Dr. Glenn if he would allow me to do my externship at his office. I had a lot of fun while I was there and I think that’s what started the whole deal.
IMPACT: When was this?
MC: I graduated dental school in 2002, so it would have been that spring right after the office reopened following the fire, because my wife had to work at the [South OKC] location for a little bit before the [Central OKC] office was ready.
IMPACT: And you came on as a full-time dentist following graduation?
MC: Yeah, Dr. Glenn and I had talked about it and Dr. Cal [Nunnally] was there already, and he’d been there about a year. So it was me, and Glenn and Winn and Cal working there together.
IMPACT: How did you come to decide that you wanted to open your own Dental Depot?
MC: Well, it’s an interesting deal. Dr. [Jason] Arthurs is a really good friend of mine and we were in the same class together. When we graduated, he’d mentioned talking to Dr. Glenn about a partnership. I had asked him about opening a Dental Depot in Edmond, and at the time, he was saving that location. So, Dr. Arthurs and I decided on Austin, Texas. We went down and found land, and then Jason realized his heart was in Phoenix. So he went to Phoenix and I stayed here because my family is here. About a year later Dr. Glenn approached me to open a location in Edmond, and I so I said, “Yeah, let’s do it!”
IMPACT: What year were you able to open this location?
MC: We opened in 2004. It’s a cool deal – all of these partners I’ve known for years, we’ve all been together since the beginning.
IMPACT: What has it been like running your own Dental Depot?
MC: It’s been a lot of fun and it’s been a lot of challenges. I remember when we first opened, I only started off with five ops. Our first day we only had seven patients on the schedule for the entire day and three or four were my family members [laughs]. I didn’t know where it was going to go! But it’s been a very positive experience and here we are, expanding after 15 years and hopefully we can keep this rolling for the next 15 or 20 years.
IMPACT: What are your favorite things about the experiences you’ve had as a partner?
MC: I like the freedom that Dr. Glenn gave us to grow our practices– he was really great about making sure we had the resources we needed in order to succeed. Dr. Glenn has been a great guy, he’s got a giving heart and he’s done such wonderful things for us.
And of course, there’s the Dental Depot brand. I feel like this location is really the Taj Mahal of Dental Depot because we’re right by the train tracks and it really fits the brand. It’s fun to hear the train, although I don’t really notice it anymore. The patients love seeing it go by and we have a caboose that we restored sitting on the track beside it. We get a lot of people who come out and sit and take pictures – that was a big thing for me, building something that brings the community out to enjoy. Nick [Richardson] and his team did an awesome job renovating it. We’d love to try and find a diesel engine to go with the caboose.
IMPACT:Tell us a little bit about your office and your team.
MC: Our office is a family. My mom, Virginia, and Shelly [Orchard], and Amber [Justis] and Martina [Paris] – they’re the core of my office. They’re the ones who have been with me the longest. We try to keep people involved and treat them right because if they’re trying to make this a career, we want to keep them in it for the long haul. I want my team to know that if you work for us and you do what you’re supposed to do, then we will take care of you.
IMPACT: If you had a piece of advice for someone who’s considering becoming a Dental Depot partner, what would it be?
MC: Be ready to work. If you’re going to get into something like this, you’ve got to know what it takes it make it run. The practice can be little bit challenging for dentists when they just get out of school because they don’t know what to expect. They need to see how it’s run and they have to have a good work ethic. If they can understand that end goal of patient care – then I would say it’s a good fit. But Dental Depot is not for everybody. There’s a certain type of doctor we’re looking for here – it’s someone that’s going to keep this thing rolling. I feel like the partners we have are onboard with that. If you can understand how important it is to work hard and be successful, then you get to reap the rewards.