Changing of the guard at Appletree Dentistry
Scott Simpson moved across the country to purchase the Appletree Dentistry practice, and less than two months in, he is living the dream.
Having spent most of his life in Florida, and only spending one weekend in Oregon 10 years ago, he and his wife Beth fell in love with the state while visiting family in Canby in the summer of 2016, and immediately started talking about relocating here.
Simpson graduated from high school in south Florida and obtained his undergraduate and dental degrees from the University of Florida. While he was in his first year of dental school, 9/11 happened, "and I decided to do something for the country," he said.
Simpson joined the Air Force and got a scholarship to finish dental school before being transferred to Great Falls, Mont., as a captain to work in a dental clinic at Malstrom Air Force Base. Simpson met his wife, an elementary school librarian, in Great Falls, and when his tour was up in 2008, he decided to move back to Florida.
He proposed to his future wife, and she moved with him, and they got married the following year.
In Florida, Simpson worked in two different offices and ended up staying with one for nine years.
"It reminds me of Dr. Sepp's office," he said. "People were kind and friendly and long-term. The newest employee had been there nine years. I had extra time and got a couple of other opportunities, including helping to set up a dental clinic for a non-profit organization that offered different services for individuals with special needs.
"I found I had the temperament and patience to work with special-needs patients and did it for eight years," he added. "Then the organization changed direction and eliminated the dental portion. I was faced with a decision. I really liked the practice, and it was a noble cause, so I took over the practice."
Then the fateful trip to Oregon happened, and the Simpsons talked seriously about moving; at the beginning of this year, he started contacting dental practice brokers.
"I was in contact with about eight, but I was told that the deals usually close in one or two months, and I was looking too early," Simpson said. "But as we got to a couple months out before the move, nothing was happening. Finding the right dental practice, it was like Cinderella and the glass slipper – it had to be the right fit. I talked to one of the brokers again, and he said he knew of someone trying to sell his practice a few months earlier."
That of course was Tolvio Sepp, who was going to shut down his Appletree Dentistry practice at the end of August whether it had sold or not. Simpson's wife and son has already moved to Oregon while he worked towards transitioning from his Orlando dental practice, "but the date kept getting pushed back," he said.
"My wife came to Appletree with our 4-year-old son Andrew," Simpson added. "He played the piano with Dr. Sepp, and she chatted with Mary (Downer, the office manager). She called me and said, 'This is it.' I trust her instincts and talked to Dr. Sepp, who was past the point of thinking of selling. I flew out to meet him, and we shook hands and agreed to everything in principle for me to lease the office and purchase the equipment."
Simpson drove their second car to Oregon (3,000 miles in three days), arriving on 9/11, taking over the ownership of the practice.
"I put together a letter to the patients," he said. "I am delighted that Mary is still here – she is very special. I'm excited and thrilled to be here. My son can play with his cousins. I am a fan of the Florida Gators, and I haven't chosen sides yet between the Ducks and the Beavers."
There will still be music in Apple Tree Dentistry. Sepp took the piano he had played there for years, but Simpson is a guitar player and brought one in to play between patients.
"I've been really blessed," said Simpson, who plans to grow the practice by accepting new patients, continuing to provide care for children and adults, and by welcoming special-needs patients. "Everyone has been so nice and accepting. I'm a Southerner from a far-away land, and people have really accepted me. I am looking forward to doing amazing things. If you do it right and do it well, it is good for everybody."
Apple Tree Dentistry is located at 16035 S.W. Pacific Highway; for more information, visit AppleTreeDentistry.net or call 503-620-2185.
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