Friday, March 13, 2015

Why did we move to Alaska?

     I have been asked over and over again why we moved to Alaska. It's not a simple question to answer because I feel like I could give you a thirty minute long answer. I will try to give the short version of what led us here.
We moved to Brigham City right out of dental school with an opportunity to buy a practice there. While we were in dental school we never thought we would move back to Utah. We thought of all of the different places we could move and Utah was never on those lists. Not because we don't like Utah, because we do, but starting out as a dentist in Utah isn't easy. There are A LOT of dentists in Utah and the insurance companies payouts are weird there. I don't really understand it all, so I won't even try to explain. Basically, you don't get paid as much in Utah. That doesn't mean there aren't thriving dentists there, because there are. It's just more difficult. But then the opportunity in Brigham City happened and we decided to give it a try. Benji was going to work for the dentist for two years and then buy the practice from him. Then 20 months into everything the dentist decided not to sell Benji his practice. He didn't give a reason, but we think he wanted more money than we agreed to buy the practice for and backed out. 
Thank goodness we found a practice in Bountiful right away and were able to purchase that and get back on our feet somewhat. It was a lot of work to build up the practice, but Bountiful Dental was thriving and doing well. Benji did such a great job with that practice. It took us forever to sell our home in Brigham City, but once we did and moved to West Bountiful we thought we would be there forever. 
Benji's last day at Bountiful Dental 

Then one night Benji asked me if I could ever imagine living out of state and I told him of course I could! That one question then turned into hours of us staring at a map deciding where we should go. We thought about Reno (and almost moved there), we thought about Phoenix, we looked into Texas, we even looked at a few small towns in Wyoming. Then Benji asked about Alaska. His hygienist had lived in North Pole because her husband was stationed here with the air force and they LOVED it. She talked to the dentist she used to work for and he made some calls and found a dentist looking for an associate. Benji made a few phone calls and the next thing we knew we had FOUR dental practices available to us. Two were in Anchorage, one was in Homer, and one was in North Pole.

We decided since neither of us had even ever been to Alaska that we needed to fly here, check out the practices and then we could make a decision. We needed to give the dentist in North Pole an answer right away because he was looking for someone immediately, so we came to Alaska in December to look at all the practices so we could at least give that dentist a yes or no on whether we were going to accept his offer. We actually flew here thinking we would be telling him no. We did not think we would want to move to North Pole, but we had to at least check it out. In fact when we made our travel plans we spent the least amount of time in North Pole because we were certain we would be turning him down.

So we looked at all the practices and after looking at the numbers and projections and all that we decided we would be crazy not to at least try North Pole. The practice here is unreal. Not only is the practice doing really well, but Benji had a checklist of everything he would like in a practice and this one was the only one that he was able to check off everything. We also felt a lot more comfortable taking an opportunity here where Benji would be an associate first before buying because we feel less trapped. If we end up not loving it we do have a way out. If we end up loving it though we have the opportunity growing too. 

So, that's kind of the short version of the story, but really everything happened SO fast. Benji had the few thoughts about moving about 6 months ago and here we are! So far we're loving it. It is such an adventure and it's been fun discovering a new frozen world.

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