Optometrist Shannon M. Zingle wears many hats: girl boss, blogger, buyer and physician. A Franklin transplant from Michigan, Zingle opened Shannon Eye Care in Downtown Franklin in August of 2015. However, her practice isn’t just any old doctor’s office. Like Zingle, it’s young, hip and fun.
Zingle knew from an early age she wanted to pursue a career in the healthcare field in order to help others. She even drew out blueprints for her own private practice at age eight. However, it wasn’t until college that she was exposed to optometry.
“I was really drawn to being a part of people’s quality of life,” said Zingle. “Eye care- for the most part- is a happy environment.”
Zingle was also attracted to the business aspect of owning her own practice. After graduating optometry school, she began to look for an area that could support a new business. After learning about Franklin from her parents, who were also looking for a place to relocate, Zingle decided that it was a great fit for her too.
“Franklin’s economy was booming, and the market wasn’t completely saturated. It’s a place that people can come and build their dream.”
By following her own lifelong dream, Zingle was able to open her own practice, becoming an entrepreneur at just 28 years old. She started a blog, “Lady and Her Lens,” to document her journey.
“I wanted to give others a closer look at starting a business and what it’s like to be a young female business owner and physician.”
As soon as she arrived in Franklin, Zingle says she “fell in love with everything” – the people, the area, the culture and the amount of young professionals in the area.
“Franklin appreciates the fine arts, and so do I.” Zingle said. “All the frames I choose are high end in fashion and craftsmanship, so I needed to be in a community that could appreciate that.”
Zingle hand selects the frames available in her practice from different collections all over the world. Her goal in choosing the frames is to ensure that people feel special when wearing them. She hosts several trunk shows throughout the year, showcasing her statement-making frames.
“I don’t want people to be able to find someone walking down the street with the same pair; I want my frames to be unique.”
Zingle’s personal style and interests are reflected in her entire business- from the frames she chooses to the logo and the bright and youthful interior. One particular eyewear collection donates profits to the rescue of animals, which is very fitting for Zingle, whose Calico cat is a rescue.
Zingle values the unique style and feel that Franklin has to offer as well.
“People here go out to support small businesses,” she said. “It’s such a tightknit community, where patients want to get to know me and I want to get to know them.”
Getting to know her patients on a personal level is something that Zingle strives to uphold in her practice. She does not work with technicians. Instead, she opts to do it all herself from start to finish. It’s this mode of practice and Zingle’s approachable bedside manner that set her apart.
“The environment here is warm and feels more like a home. It allows me to really be able to connect with my patients.”
In addition to her patients, Zingle has made it a priority to get to know her new community as well. She is involved in the Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Franklin Association and has participated in the Franklin Art Crawl. She makes an effort to go out and support her neighbors.
“I love to eat and shop here,” she said. “I love walking through the historic areas, attending festivals and having a glass of wine at Puckett’s.”
With more and more women becoming business owners, Zingle feels now is an exciting time to be a young woman taking risks and pursuing dreams. She hopes she can inspire others to do the same.
“I would tell other aspiring entrepreneurs to take a chance on yourself and hold tight to your vision,” she said. “Just go for it- the sooner the better. I wouldn’t want to put a dream on hold because this is always what I wanted to do.”