A desire to put down roots and become a part of a community was key to dentist Dr Michael Lakkis buying a well-established practice.
Dr Michael Lakkis attributes being drawn to dentistry from a young age to the fact that he was always exposed to healthcare as a rewarding vocation. “My mum is a dentist and my father is an optometrist, so the life of a dentist or healthcare professional was always something that I wanted for myself,” he says.
Being personable as well as creative, dentistry was a particular drawcard. “Dentistry is great because you’re working with people, you get to talk to them and you get that face-to-face interaction that a stock-standard office job may not have. You also get to work with your hands and there’s an art to it as well,” he expands.
An early bloomer, Dr Lakkis started his dentistry studies straight out of high school at the age of 17, graduated from the University of Queensland by the time he was 21 and at 25 now owns Clarendon Street Dental Practice in Maryborough, Victoria. This is testament to what can be achieved when you put your nose to the grindstone.
It’s also the realisation of a long-held goal. “Even before I came here, I’d wanted to buy my own practice,” he says. “I’m the kind of person who wanted to put roots down in the community and I always wanted to work somewhere rural. I was after that sense of stability and connection so I could see my patients and their kids grow up.”
Dr Lakkis describes the start of his relationship with the Clarendon Street Dental Practice as “good luck and happy fortune. I don’t normally believe in luck, but there was an element of it in this,” he says. Having worked in Ballarat for a period, Dr Lakkis scanned the job-listing classifieds and noticed a position going in Maryborough. “I had a moment of hesitation about whether I should apply, but I went ahead. I loved the practice and all of its people from day one.”
Deciding to buy
Starting part-time initially at the beginning of 2018, two days morphed into three and then four before Dr Simon Sheed, the previous owner, approached him about purchasing the practice. “He took me aside after a staff meeting and raised it,” Dr Lakkis recalls. “I said ‘thank you for thinking about me—it’s a big honour to be asked and I’ll definitely think about it’, and it only took me 24 hours before I said yes.”
Having already used BOQ Specialist for his home and investment loans, Dr Lakkis had no hesitation in approaching Ursula Coetzee at BOQ Specialist to finance the goodwill and equipment for the practice. “I’ve been with them since 2016 and they’ve always treated me well,” he observes. “The main thing is that they’re very easy to deal with. Everything is sorted out quickly and easily, their client service is always really, really good, and the communication is always great. There’s no jumping through horrible, frustrating bureaucratic hoops.”
If it ain’t broke
Having owned the practice since 1 July this year, Dr Lakkis was especially mindful of taking on a practice with such a significant history behind it. “Simon took over the practice in 1975 from someone who had been practising even longer in Maryborough, but at a different location,” Dr Lakkis explains. “He took over at a similar age to what I am now and has built the practice ever since, including buying the building where it’s currently located.
“There’s no sense in which I wanted to change a lot of things here. I was confident that patients were accustomed to a level of care that I was able to provide.”
These days, the practice boasts not only its own premises, but three chairs, four dentists and nine other staff, and it’s pretty much perfect from Dr Lakkis’ perspective.
“I don’t have grand plans for expansion. My vision for the practice is to keep on keeping on, hopefully for another 45 years.”
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