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CENTER OF CARE: Seven Hills Veterinary Clinic, led by Sarah and Dr. Ryan Bader, expanded its footprint in Nixa with a new facility in November 2018.
SBJ photo by Jessica Rosa
CENTER OF CARE: Seven Hills Veterinary Clinic, led by Sarah and Dr. Ryan Bader, expanded its footprint in Nixa with a new facility in November 2018.

Business Spotlight: Creature Comforts

Client and revenue growth at Seven Hills Veterinary Clinic fuels move to larger home

Posted online

Much like the wide variety of pets its staff cares for, Seven Hills Veterinary Clinic LLC is growing, having nearly tripled its footprint with a renovated 4,000-square-foot facility.

The Nixa veterinary clinic, started in 2013 by Dr. Ryan Bader, relocated in November 2018 to 911 N. Kenneth St., from its original home at 819 N. Main St.

“We started from zero,” says Sarah Bader, Ryan’s wife and clinic administrator. “We didn’t buy an existing practice.”

From that humble beginning, Ryan Bader says the clinic today serves more than 20,000 animal patients among its nearly 7,300 clients.

“We quickly learned we were going to need something,” he says of a bigger facility. “Within the first two years, we knew we had to either expand or add another staff member.”

Small start
The clinic started with only four staff members, two of whom worked part time. Sarah Bader was one of those part-timers, and she and her husband thought the clinic would treat 50% large animals and 50% small animals.

“But at the end of the day, we’re going to take what comes,” she says. “It really has just been word of mouth.”

The addition of Dr. Ana Smith in 2017 precipitated the need to move, Ryan Bader says, as the clinic only had two exam rooms and waits became a regular occurrence. Current clients would sometimes have to make appointments for up to two weeks in advance.

“It was becoming problematic,” Sarah Bader says. “We would have to book out so far that it was discouraging to us and to potential new clients.”

Smith’s addition also expanded the clinic’s potential roster of animal patients, as she had previous experience working with exotic animals. In addition to canines and felines, the clinic counts birds, reptiles, miniature pigs, gerbils, ferrets and rabbits among its patients.

Another niche is in large animals. Ryan Bader says over 90% of animals treated are small animals, while 7% are large and just 1% are exotics.

Bader says he primarily handles those patients in an outdoor portion on the backside of the facility.

“They’re able to haul their animal up here and have it in a safe facility,” Sarah Bader says, noting her husband also does occasional farm calls. “That’s another accommodation we’re able to offer because we’re also saving the client money and time.”

Steady climb
Five years into business, Seven Hills Veterinary Clinic last year surpassed $1.3 million in revenue. It’s been a steady climb.

“We’ve increased probably 10%-20% every year,” Ryan Bader says.

With expanding revenues, patient roster and staff count, they began looking for a new site. The Baders found the Kenneth Street property, previously a Ziggie’s Cafe, and renovations were in order. Ryan Bader said the couple purchased the property for approximately $250,000.

“By rehabbing a building, it was more cost effective than starting from scratch on a fresh piece of land,” Sarah Bader says, declining to disclose costs.

They hired Insight Design Architects LLC and Grindstone Construction LLC to transform the former restaurant into a farmhouse-themed clinic with six exam rooms, a dedicated surgery area and office space.

“It was a complete gutting,” Ryan Bader says of the three-month project. “The only things that stayed were the walls on the outside.”

The move also provides more kennel space, and it’s got the Baders looking to hire another veterinarian or two.

Pet pharmaceuticals
While dog and cat food products, along with an in-house pharmacy, have been offered since inception, Seven Hills has added an online pharmacy in the past year.

“That’s really just for convenience,” Ryan Bader says. “We live in this Amazon world where if I can walk outside and pick it up, I’m all happy.”

Pet pharmaceutical representative Terry Langley works with Seven Hills among his 75 accounts in southwest Missouri. As a field sales development rep for Germany-based Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc., he drops by the Nixa clinic every two to three weeks.

Langley says Seven Hills primarily purchases parasiticides and vaccines. The bigger sellers include heartworm medication Heartgard, flea and tick medications Nexgard and Frontline Gold, and rabies vaccine ImRab.

The clinic typically spends $8,000-$9,000 per order, he says, a volume that’s been consistent since its move late last year. He expects the order amount will likely increase as its client total rises.

“They’ve got room to expand over there, which is the nice thing about that new location,” he says.

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