New Northside dental practice spends $600K for modern office design and renovations

Chelsea Tolbert is the dentist at the helm of Northside Dental Co., a new dental office in Northside. (Photos courtesy Northside Dental Co.)

A new dental practice plans to fill a gap in Richmond’s Northside, and it has invested a chunk of change in designing its office to entice patients.

Northside Dental Co. opened to patients in July at 3404 Hermitage Road. Business partners Chelsea Tolbert and Katelin Heim said they opened the dental practice because they felt there were limited dental offerings in that part of town.

Northside Dental Co. recently opened in the same building as Bates Orthodontics’ Northside office.

“I think we have a big desire to invest in Northside and bring a small business to the area,” said Heim, who lives in Northside with her husband. Tolbert is a dentist, while Heim is the office manager.

The practice offers general dentistry, as well as cosmetic, emergency and restorative services.

But what stands out about the new venture is the look of its office. The modern design makes a break from the traditional dental office look for something intended to make patients more at ease. The 3,400-square-foot office features a hidden door that connects the lobby to an open concept patient room.

It was designed by Taylor Bates Creative, which is owned by Heim’s sister.

“The vision was to not make it feel like a dentist office but a high-end coffee place, somewhere you want to hang out,” Heim said. “We wanted to make the experience something exciting.”

One of the secret door-to-exam rooms at Northside Dental Co.

Design and renovations cost $600,000. Commonwealth Construction Management was the contractor. The office also features a coffee bar and Netflix-enabled TVs for patients.

The dental office took over and redesigned part of the building already occupied by Bates Orthodontics, which had space to spare for a general dentistry operation. Bates Orthodontics is owned by Heim’s brother-in-law Sheldon Bates, an orthodontist, who subleases to Northside Dental Co. Heim’s sister is managing director of the orthodontics firm.

Tolbert attended VCU and completed her residency at Wellspan Health in York, Pennsylvania. Heim is the former marketing director for Unboxed Training and Technology, a training and sales software firm in Richmond. Northside Dental Co. has nine employees and plans to hire two more staffers in the near term.

Heim said business has been brisk since opening. As a result of its launch during the coronavirus pandemic, the practice has followed a health safety playbook since day one, including limits on patient volume, additional protective gear for staff, a mask requirement for adults, regular sanitization and other measures.

Other recent medical offices to open in the region include Dominion Imaging and Virginia Interventional & Vascular Associates as well as AllyAlign’s primary care clinic at Lakewood Retirement Community.

The office also features a coffee bar and Netflix-enabled TVs for patients.

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