By JASON STARR
Four years after taking over the Malletts Bay Veterinary Hospital from his father, Dustin Page is moving the practice to a new building more than twice the size.
Gary Page founded the practice in 1974 in the strip mall near the intersection of Porters Point and Prim roads. Ten years later, Gary Page moved the practice to a 2,000-square-foot home on East Lakeshore Drive with stunning views of Malletts Bay.
Page said he’ll miss the lake, but the new location figures to be a big improvement for the hospital’s three doctors, six veterinary technicians and many human and pet clients. The hospital will be located on Blakely Road across from Colchester Middle School, about a half-mile from the current location.
“I’ve been looking basically since I came [into the practice] for land that would work well for us, and that was fairly close to our location,” he said.
The new building received Development Review Board approval in June. It will be built on roughly an acre that was subdivided last fall by landowner and state Sen. Dick Mazza. The subdivision, which abuts Colchester High School, has two other unbuilt parcels.
“It will be nice to be right in the heart of Colchester and right by the schools,” Page said.
He became aware of the parcel even before Mazza applied for the subdivision through economic development director Kathi Walker O’Reilly. Page began discussing the project with Mazza, whose son and daughter-in-law are clients of the clinic, and entered into a contract to buy the parcel contingent on DRB approval.
Page hired a veterinary-specific architectural firm out of New Mexico to design the building. It will have separate exam rooms for cats and dogs as well as boarding space. There will also be an intensive care unit and parking for up to 20. Currently, the clinic borrows land from its next-door neighbor, Hazelett Strip Casting, to accommodate customers.
Page worked in the office as a child for his father before studying and starting a career in finance. He realized quickly the field was not for him and re-entered school on a veterinarian track.
“Growing up, I took it for granted how fun it was,” he said. “I thought every job would be fun and rewarding. I found out the hard way that sometimes it’s not.”
Page co-owns the clinic with his wife, veterinarian Sara Wohlhueter. They are joined in the practice by Dr. Debbie Wolf. He expects the new building will be open by next summer.
“Everything has taken longer than I thought, but in the long run it will be worth it,” he said.
Page started as a doctor in the practice in 2011. His father retired a year later. Gary Page still owns the building and will seek buyers once the practice leaves next year.