Marianna SmileLABS opened their doors at 4437 Franklin Street for appointments on March 13. Owner Heather Hamlin is excited about the opportunity to return to the area and give back to the community.
Originally from Cypress, Heather graduated from Grand Ridge High School in 1995, and soon after obtained employment with the Florida Department of Corrections. Several years ago, she moved to Tallahassee and was promoted through the ranks of the Department. After 23 years in 2008, Heather retired as a Colonel with the Florida Department of Corrections. Having retired at a young age and a desire to work in health administration, Heather immediately returned to college where she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree from Keiser University in Health Science and Interdisciplinary Studies. She then accepted a position and continues to work full-time at Tallahassee Community College as a program manager for the Ghazvini Center, a simulation center used for training healthcare professionals. In her current position, Heather supervises about sixteen staff and manages the department.
“I love health and wellness, and the beauty industry,” she explained. This passion led to her latest business venture. Heather described how she had reached out to her dentist about a year ago for teeth whitening, and found it to be unaffordable. “So, I found SmileLABS in Tallahassee,” she continued. After becoming a regular client, she became friends with the owners and began to research the company as a business venture.
According to Heather the corporation is located in all fifty states and nine countries. The SmileLABS teeth whitening system was developed by Dr. Zachary Higers, DDS more than twenty years ago. The system uses whitening gels with accelerator lighting for rapid cosmetic teeth whitening. Heather explained how she could only find positive reviews on the Internet.
Heather had retired, gone back to school and taken a second career, but was missing Jackson County. “I lived in Jackson County on Old Spanish Trail my entire life,” she clarified. “From the time my parents brought me home from the hospital until thirteen years ago, I lived on the same property.” She liked Tallahassee, but believed Jackson County to be a better place to raise her younger children: Ashlyn and Bailey. Plus, she wanted to go into business with her older daughter, Lauren. Thinking she would experience the best of all worlds, Heather decided to take on the venture with Lauren, a Sneads High and Florida State University graduate with a degree in entrepreneurship and communications.
Soon after Heather contacted the SmileLABS’ corporate office, she started her business. Then, Heather, Lauren, and their staff went through training and became certified. “It’s our business, we just use their products” she enlightened.
According to Heather, the business is a chair-side service, not a dental/medical office. The gel is brushed on the client’s teeth by the technician, and the client is put under a LED cooling light that oxidizes the gel. “It takes you about 2-8 shades lighter in one session,” she added. After the first three sessions the client can get on a maintenance schedule. Frequency depends on diet and other factors. “If you are not a coffee drinker, soda drinker, and blueberry eater, then you can probably get away with once every six months or once a year” she continued.
“People, like me, who have worked for government and live pay check to pay check, can’t afford to pay $1000 twice a year just to get their teeth whitened,” Heather added. “I believe this service will accommodate every-day working people with affordable prices.”
Heather hopes to be in Marianna for many years to come and possibly go into surrounding communities in the future. “Sometimes I like to go get my hair and nails done, and teeth taken care of for a special occasion,” Heather continued. “With prom season, weddings, homecomings, beauty pageants, who doesn’t want to have their teeth whitened?”
Heather is thankful to the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and Cheri Gilmore at CareerSource Chipola for assisting her with finding the perfect staff to meet the company’s needs. Lauren is a managing member. “She has been a lot of the brains behind the operation of the smileLABS,” Heather explained. Heather also has three other technicians with training and certifications: Ashtin McMullian, a nursing student at Chipola College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science; Marissa Oliver, a student at Chipola College working on her Associate’s degree and dental hygienist license; and Brayden Harrell, a Sneads High Senior and Chipola College student studying political science to one day become an attorney.
For now, Heather’s focus is on moving back to the area and giving back to the community. “I believe in giving back and I have been so blessed,” she shared about being a single mother struggling to raise a family on one income. “I tell you the good Lord has just blessed me. I haven’t missed a meal, and I haven’t missed a bill.” Heather added, “anytime I give back and help other people, it satisfies me at the end of the day.”
What a great business to have in Marianna! Marianna SmileLABS is open Wednesdays through Saturdays typically from noon to 6 pm at 4437 Franklin Street. Call 850-372-4435 for an appointment or visit marianna.mysmilelabs.com. For more information, contact Heather and her staff at email@example.com. Visit the City of Marianna’s website at http://www.mariannafl.city/335/New-Businesses-and-Other-Community-News to learn more about businesses in Marianna.
Kay Dennis, MBA, MPA, A.I.C.P., is the director of Municipal Development for the City of Marianna.