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Continued: Multigenerational businesses in Lakeville provide a sense of continuity

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  • Last update: November 10, 2013 - 9:48 PM

“I love Lakeville and I love the ability to work with my dad and learn from him,” she said. “It was always the plan” to eventually come back to her dad’s practice, which has been at its current location for 25 years.

The McDonalds

Dr. Tony McDonald has been practicing optometry in Lakeville since 1983, with his wife, Patti, serving as office administrator.

Their older daughter, Dr. Molly McDonald, has wanted to be an eye doctor since first grade. She’s been practicing for about a year alongside her dad, and her younger sister, Meg, just started optometry school and will likely join them in 2017.

While Molly’s passion for optometry and desire to return to Lakeville were “always in my mind-set,” the family was surprised when Meg, too, showed an interest.

“I called my dad and said, ‘Oh my gosh, Meg just started asking me questions about optometry school!’” Molly said.

Coming back

The fact that two of their three children — their son, Matt, lives in Minneapolis — have returned or are planning to return to Lakeville doesn’t surprise the McDonalds, Tony McDonald said.

“We’ve seen many generations of people leave for college, leave for jobs … and come back because it’s a good place to live,” he said.

Jennifer Harrison, who is married with a 2-year-old, said she came back for many reasons. Lakeville is the perfect size, with a “quaint downtown and amazing schools,” she said. Plus, it’s a growing community, so it’s a good place to be a dentist.

She anticipates expanding her business in the future, she said, possibly adding on to accommodate growth.

Meg White Heintze, who lived in Chicago for years and has five children, said it’s convenient to have the family living nearby, though they are spread out across Farmington, Prior Lake and Eagan.

“It’s nice to be together, because we all have children who are friends, too,” she said.

‘Working toward the same goal’

For any family business, the lines between home and work can be blurred. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, said Molly Isham.

“I almost think it’s easier to work as a family,” Isham said. She and her sister “can get pedicures together and talk about the office Christmas party.”

Rose Harrison said she’s often asked by friends how she can work with her husband all day, but there are days she barely sees him.

In terms of working together, “We’re lucky that we’ve never had any issues,” she said. “Everybody’s sort of working toward the same goal.”

  • related content

  • Dr. John Harrison with his family and dental team: daughter Molly Isham, left, head office manager; his wife Rose, center, the receptionist; and daughter Jennifer, a dentist. Lakeville Dental is among three businesses on County Road 50 that have been family-owned and operated for generations.

  • Dr. Tony McDonald stood with his assistants, his wife Patti, the business manager, left, and his daughter Molly McDonald, who is also an eye doctor at McDonald Eye Care. McDonald Eye Care is one of three Lakeville businesses on County Road 50 that are all family-owned.

  • From left:  Mike White, John White, Jim White Jr., Meg White Heintze and Jim White of White Funeral Home in Lakeville.

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