Local optometrist to work alongside new owner

Drs. Gary Jensen, O.D. and Kayla Bechthold, O.D. are pictured in the offices of Bechthold Jensen Eye Care in Chisholm.  The pair are seeing patients at offices in Chisholm and Cook, at the started by Jensen nearly 45 years ago, and was recently purchased by Bechthold.

CHISHOLM — A local optometrist practice with offices in Chisholm and Cook is now under new ownership.

Dr. Kayla Bechthold recently purchased the practice of Dr. Gary Jensen. The business is now operating as Bechthold Jensen Eye Care.

“It’s very nice to know that eye care is going to continue in the local community,” Jensen told the Tribune Press last Wednesday. He added that Bechthold’s 20-plus years of experience as an optometrist will help make the transition easier.

For nearly 45 years, Jensen has been serving patients at the office he opened at 11 Northwest First Ave. in Chisholm. Since 1987, he’s also been seeing patients at a second location in Cook.

Jensen plans to continue his practice, and will be seeing patients on a limited basis at the offices of Bechthold Jensen Eye Care at 11 Northwest First Ave. in Chisholm and at 23 East Vermillion Dr. in Cook.

Bechthold started seeing patients in a little over a week ago, and said she’s found the community to be very friendly.

“Gary has been introducing me to his patients — it’s been fun,” Bechthold said.

When she learned Jensen’s practice was for sale, Bechthold said the prospect met her criteria as she wanted to open her own office, but didn’t want to start from scratch. She looks forward to working with Jensen as she starts this new chapter in her career.

“I wanted to feel comfortable moving into it,” she said.

Bechthold, a native of Dalton, Minn. has practiced optometry in the Duluth area for the past 17 years. In 1998, Bechthold graduated with honors from Pacific University College of Optometry in Portland, Ore. She is a member of the Minnesota Optometric Association and the American Optometric Association and the Minnesota Contact Lense Society.

At Bechthold Jensen Eye Clinic, the two optometrists, Bechthold and Jensen, continue to offer a wide variety of eye care services, including complete eye exams, contact lenses, a variety of eyewear, disease management for conditions such as dry eye, glaucoma and macular degeneration and emergency eye care. Also offered is cataract surgery co-management with opthamologists from Hibbing, Virginia and Duluth.

It was the appeal of a smaller community that attracted Bechthold to Chisholm as she and her husband were both raised in small towns. She said her desire to work in the healthcare field, coupled with a natural interest in eyes led to her decision to pursue a career in optometry. To gain more insight in the field, she consulted with an optometrist with a practice in Fergus Falls, Minn.

Since getting familiar with the town, Bechthold said she really likes Chisholm, adding that it’s the “perfect size.” An added attraction is the daily hustle and bustle experienced in Chisholm, which she says sets it aside from other small towns.

“There are always events on weekends, and it’s really nice that people like their town,” she said.

As she becomes more familiar with her new practice, Bechthold said she eventually would like to grow the business.

Appointments at Bechthold Jensen Eye Care are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday and from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday in Chisholm. Schedules for the Cook location vary and may be confirmed by calling the office.

More information is available at www.bechtholdeye.com.

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