Small Businessperson of the Year finalist: 5 questions with Michelle Mumford, owner of Innovative Eye Care

Small Businessperson of the Year finalist: 5 questions with Michelle Mumford, owner of Innovative Eye Care
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Our inaugural Small Businessperson of the Year award is proudly presented by the Small Business Center at CPCC, assisting more than 2,500 startup entrepreneurs and small business owners annually through networking events, free seminars, no-cost counseling, a business resource library, and tuition-based and non-degree courses.

Which is more popular: Duck Donuts in Dilworth, or the optometrist next door?

To Dr. Michelle Mumford‘s patients, it’s an easy choice: Innovative Eye Care has grown from 500 patients in 2012 to more than 2,500 last year.


Along the way, the practice has brought on 6 employees and revenue has increased healthily year-over-year. Growth won’t stop there. Innovative Eye Care has plans to double in size in the coming years, bringing in two new optomotrists and a half-dozen more staff.

All that led Mumford to be named the finalist for our Small Businessperson of the Year award in the Health + Medical category.

Get to know Michelle Mumford better and learn from her success with these five questions. Responses have been edited for space and clarity.

What’s the first hour of your day look like?

I’m not a morning person so usually the first hour of my day is spent trying to pry myself out of bed, get ready, get my 2-year-old daughter up and going and then get myself out the door to the office. Once I get to work, I like to take a few minutes of quiet time to prep for the day. Usually I’ll grab a cup of coffee and then sit down to review all my charts for the day. I like to prepare for each patient so all their time in the office is spent focusing on them and the visit.

What’s the most valuable business lesson you’ve learned?

There are so many mistakes I’ve made and valuable lessons I’ve learned in the past 6 years. I think my biggest challenge and most growth has come in learning how to lead and guide my team and empower them. It takes the entire team to provide a great patient experience and to truly take care of people. I remind them of this every day. We would not have the success we’ve achieved so far without every team member caring about each person that walks through the door.

What’s a recent purchase of less than $100 that you love?

I would have to say my Kindle reader. While I love holding and reading actual books, having my Kindle makes it so easy to download new books and carry them with me whenever I have the chance to unwind and read.

What’s the best book you’ve read in the past year?

I love to read in any downtime I can find, which can be pretty tough between balancing work and family. Hard to pick my absolute favorite, but I recently read “The Queen of Hearts” by local author Kimmery Martin and loved it!

What other small businessperson do you admire?

My dad. He was a podiatrist and had his own practice. His philosophy was to always put the patient first. He passed away before I started optometry school, but he still inspires me every day.

Photos by Lauren Rosenau Photography 

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