The road to better vision will soon be much shorter for North Bryan County residents as Southeastern Eye Center, a private practice currently operating in Hinesville, will be branching out to include a second location in Pembroke.
The vision center will occupy part of a commercial building on South Railroad Street. The site was prepared for commercial development approximately 10 years ago, but has never been used. As such, there have been a few delays along the long way, but Nacondus Gamble, O.D., proprietor of SEC, hopes to start seeing patients there in July.
"The end of July is when we are looking at a grand opening of sorts and I’m super excited," Gamble said. "This has truly been a labor of love."
Gamble, who had a rural upbringing in South Carolina, wants to set up shop in a small town and chose Pembroke for that reason. She said she also felt an instant connection with the building on South Railroad and wants to see it put to use.
"I think like a lot of people — and this sounds corny — but I’ve seen that building and there’s just so much potential there and I wanted to be in a space where I could do some good," Gamble said. "I know there are a lot of kids in Pembroke and I love working with kids. So, when I saw the building I was like, ‘yes!’ I want to be there."
Gamble also hopes other professionals will follow her lead.
"Hopefully it will spark an interest in other providers to come into the area as well," she said.
SEC will be a full-service eye care center, including optometry care and an optical store. Once operational, the center will be able to provide emergency eye care, including removing things from eyes. Business hours are not finalized, but the center will likely be open Monday through Friday with some Saturdays as well.
Gamble said she realizes many area residents commute out of town for work and she hopes to offer flexible scheduling for those who could benefit from having an appointment early.
"Then you could get an exam, possibly purchase your glasses and still get to work. You haven’t lost a work day," Gamble explained. "I just know how it is to commute."
It’s been approximately a decade, but the commercial building on South Railroad is showing signs of life.