Back in 2003 Kate Blundell and Fadi Jared were strangers, meeting for the first time at a dental school event in Liverpool.
The smoker (or review) event used to take place at the end of the year of study where each year group of undergraduate students review their first 12 months. The event was usually an opportunity to impersonate the lecturers and was always great fun. Third year Dental student Kate turned up with her guitar in hand after having just sung live on the Dave Monks Show on Radio Merseyside. Fadi was there as a lecturer, after having just started working in the Dental School the year before .
Several years after their first meeting, Kate returned to the Dental Hospital as House Officer where Fadi was still working and this is where her interest in endodontics really began, with Fadi taking up the position of a senior colleague and mentor .
Despite many people telling Kate not to follow a path into further training in endodontics, Fadi was a big supporter of moving away from general practice and the career path that she had originally embarked on.
Kate herself says she’s never regretted the decision and having Fadi as a friend as well as a colleague is a blessing
“We thoroughly enjoyed working together and always had a lot of fun delivering teaching in a subject which is quite complex, in a lighthearted way and I think that’s where our successful partnership started really”
The pair struck up a friendship during their time at the Dental Hospital and went on to work together on and off for a number of years thereafter, often joking about opening up their own practice in the future.
Then, in 2014, Fadi started to seriously consider buying his own practice and fell in love with Sandstone Dental in Heswall as walked past it on his way home from an evening out in the town. He remembers thinking that it would be a lovely practice to own and run.
Sadly it wasn’t on the market and Fadi set his sights on another practice a year later but the deal fell through. While it came as a blow, it could have been fate as the agents he was dealing with then informed him that his dream practice was on the market…Sandstone Dental.
So, along with his wife Sondos (a paediatric dentist) he went to view the practice and knew straight away it was right for him. As soon as they left, he called Kate to see if she was still interested in the dreams they had talked about so often and was delighted when she said yes and they arranged a joint viewing on the 26th April 2015.
It took a further two years for the sale to complete, their tenacity and passion seeing them through a stressful process that would have seen many others pull out and give up.
Once the sale completed and Kate and Fadi were officially the owners and partners of Sandstone Dental, their next job was to staff the practice with people they knew they could trust to deliver excellent standards of care and patient service.
Fadi contacted Jen and Suzanne who he had previously worked with and who were both working outside of dentistry at the time. Jen started as Practice Manager and Suzanne as Dental Nurse doing just one day a week to begin with. As their reputation grew, Jen and Suzanne increased their days and are still at Sandstone Dental now.
It wasn’t long before Emma joined the practice as Dental Hygienist. Both Kate and Fadi had known Emma at the Dental Hospital and, again, she is still with the practice today…a testament to the care and professionalism shown by the whole team to both staff and patients.
Back when they opened in 2017, the practice consisted of just 1 surgery, but they created a second upstairs just a couple of years later, allowing them to take on even more amazing team members.
In any business, having a partner that shares your vision is essential and Kate and Fadi were both in agreement that creating a specialist referral practice would be beneficial for themselves and the surrounding areas.
A specialist referral practice allows other dentists to partner with them and refer patients to the practice when they’re in need of specific, specialised treatment plans. Given their expertise in the field of endodontics, offering this service was a “no brainer” and in 2017 they held their first referral evening which was hailed a great success and set them up as the go-to practice in the area.
Ask any business owner and they’ll tell you nothing is ever perfect and straight forward, and dentistry is no different.
In 2020, along with the rest of the world, Kate and Fadi were forced to close their doors and stop treatments with very little notice and next to no support or guidance from Government and Local Authorities.
Patients and staff alike were scared, worried and left needing answers, answers that Kate and Fadi simply did not have and their biggest concern was whether every decision they were making was the right one. All they could do was go with their instincts, so they spent days on end contacting every one of their patients to personally explain that they were having to close for the foreseeable future.
They even hand delivered antibiotics to all those patients that were suffering and would be without essential dental care for some time.
Of course, it’s not been all bad and the team have 2 main highlights…the first being told they could reopen their practice during the pandemic and the second came this year – celebrating 5 years in business.
Kate and Fadi know they couldn’t have made it through the last few years without their amazing team and support of all of their patients and referring dentists and credit much of the practice’s success on their colleagues who fully appreciate and understand the importance of taking great care of their patients, as Kate says;
“having the right team behind you is so important, it’s them that make the practice a success, not our management“
Right back at the start of their adventure, Kate and Fadi’s vision was to build a “mini dental hospital” under one roof and they held that vision close, even in the toughest of times.
For the first 3 years, they didn’t even look at their bottom line and didn’t consider taking a wage for that period, instead ploughing all the revenue generated back into the practice which is probably why they feel like Sandstone is their home from home.
As you might expect, the pair aren’t ready to sit back and relax just yet. Having hit capacity at Sandstone, they have just bought another practice as they don’t have the space to expand Sandstone.
Their new venture will ensure they can continue to provide first class, specialist dental care, backed up by the outstanding patient service that they have become known for whilst retaining the premises in Heswall that everyone finds so cosy and welcoming.
They can’t wait to share more news of the next chapter for Sandstone !