Meet the Couple Behind Downtown’s Cool, New Optical Boutique and Optometry Office, The Eye Station
Drs. Kyle and Katie (Hahn) Weeden are a husband and wife team with vision—literally and figuratively. As optometrists, they dedicated their professional lives to helping others see, literally. They’ve spent nearly a decade honing their skills and serving patients around the area. As a couple, they also have a different kind of vision, the type dreams are made of. Their goal to have their own practice in the community where they live and love (and where Katie grew up) recently manifested with the opening of their business downtown. It’s a significant step toward achieving their dreams for their family, their community, and for their practice.
A Business In Focus
The Eye Station is Lee’s Summit’s newest optical boutique and optometry office.
It’s unlike the usual optometrist’s visit, offering a more personal feel. “Because we’re a smaller office we’re able to give patients more attention,” says Kyle. “We’re able to take extra measurements, be more precise in selecting glasses.” They perform in-depth eye exams on patients ranging from 6 months old to 106. They offer more than just the basic glasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses, but also provide specialty contact lens fittings, monitoring of diabetes, glaucoma management, treatment of eye infections and eye injuries.
It also feels personal because of the kindness and care that emanates from the pair. Kyle’s heart is revealed in his specialty in ocular disease and low vision training, which he attained with his residency in a VA hospital. Katie has focused on primary care and Lasik/cataract co-management. Both are graduates of University of Missouri St. Louis optometry school.
The location also inspired a different approach.
“So many shops downtown offer something special and unique that you don’t find in a big box store,” says Kyle. “Being part of downtown inspired us to create the boutique feel.” They envisioned creating a shopping experience, like picking out jewelry instead of choosing boring eyewear.
Katie designed some of the artful cases herself to display some of the funky and fashionable brands they carry, many with the eco-minded consumer in mind: Modo (donates a pair of glasses for every pair sold), Eco (uses recycled kitchen appliances and plant-based, biodegradable frames), NW77th (a brand made in Missouri for those who buy local), and beautiful handmade wood frames from Colombia obtained by Katie’s brother who is sailing around the world.
All this doesn’t mean higher price tags: they’re part of a buying group that enables them access to brands and pricing to stay competitive with big optical retailers.
Opening a practice in Lee’s Summit is a homecoming of sorts for both Katie and Kyle. For Katie, who grew up at Lake Lotawana and graduated from Lee’s Summit North in 2001, it is definitely a return to her roots. In high school, Katie participated in diving, tennis and band. She is an accomplished swivel water skier, and has been waterskiing since age 6.
And though Kyle grew up in Iowa, the couple has lived in the Lee’s Summit area for nearly a decade and call it home, where they are raising their family (Sadie age 5, Beckham age 2). But they’d both been commuting to optometry practices many miles away, and felt it was time to move work closer to home.
“We always dreamed of serving our friends and family, but we worked too far away for them to come see us,” says Katie. Starting a practice here means they get to work in the community they want to be in.
A Dream Come True, A Family Affair
When they’d just graduated from optometry school, they came downtown and dreamed of working there. “We knew this was the spot we wanted to be in Lee’s Summit,” says Kyle.
When the timing was finally right, the perfect building happened to be for sale at 3rd & Main: the historic Howard building. Katie’s talented dad purchased and renovated the structure with contractor Josh Edwards. While they collaborated continually, Katie’s dad focused on the building while Katie and Kyle developed the business. The end product is a cool, family-friendly space with a neat area just for little guys to hang out.
Katie’s parents, Dennis and Dana Hahn, own a pharmacy in town, and she and Kyle say that influenced them.
“They made me believe that if you focus on taking care of people, you can make a small business successful,” Katie says. “We’re in our early 30s, it seems like a good time to go ahead and take a chance. If we don’t do it now it may never happen.”
Their ability to imagine what is possible, and then do what it takes to make it happen, for their vision and that of their patients, is a great addition to our community.