After 32 years, Dr. James steps down from family dentistry

Dr. Brian James
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     After 32 years in the dental business, Dr. Brian James of Monticello is stepping down.

     As of March 1, Monticello Family Dentistry (and its sister location Stone Creek Dental in Dyersville) will be sold to AppleWhite Dental Partners in Dubuque, with CEO Dr. Tom McCoy. Dr. Lindsey Meyer of Monticello will take over servicing James’ dental offices.

     “I’ll aid in the transition on a limited basis,” offered James.

     When James started his practice from scratch in Monticello in 1987, there were five other dentists in town.

     “I was just a young buck then fresh out of dental school,” he said.

     While operating an office in Monticello, James also saw the need for rural dental care, and started a satellite office in Wyoming. He credited banker Dave Butterworth at Citizens State Bank with helping to get that project up and running.

     “He took a chance on me and it paid off,” said James.

     Then, in 1999, James opened another dental office in Dyersville.

     He wasn’t satisfied with that, and in 2006, he built a practice in Tipton and sold it shortly after.

     “I always enjoyed having multiple practices and building them from the ground up,” he said.

     In his practices, James was the sole dentist doing it all. He took on a wide array of procedures, seeing numerous patients on a daily basis, between Monticello and Dyersville.

     “You establish a following,” he said. “That’s how I built my practice.”

     He said through advertising and word of mouth, his patient count remained strong and steady throughout his years in practice.

     “I loved practicing in rural Iowa,” James said. “I’m a small-town country boy myself, and practicing in a small community is so rewarding.”

     Of course, any business comes with its set of challenges over the years. James said the government regulations changed from time to time, but that is the nature of his line of business. However, he said it is also one of the contributing factors of losing one’s dedication.

     “You lose your passion for the day to day management. It takes the fun out of it,” he said. “I’ve always loved dentistry.”

     Monticello Family Dentistry also had to remain vibrant, and digitalization and computerization are on way in which they stayed current with the times.

     Retiring isn’t something that James just started contemplating. He said he started having the conversation with AppleWhite several years ago.

     “You have to start a process like this early,” he shared.

     James said he always knew he wanted to retire at a younger age so he could still enjoy life and remain active.

     “It’s a good time to go out,” he said. “My clinical skills are in tact, and I can still do what I want to do.”

     James plans to take some time off and away over the summer and spend quality time with his family.

     While he’s been approached to use his dental expertise in some fashion, James said it’s too early, though, to make definite plans.

     “I do want to help the next generation of dentists, whether it’s consulting or lecturing,” he said of the higher education world.

     James leaves his long-time patients at ease saying they will be left in capable hands, having full confidence in AppleWhite and Meyer, who is part of the AppleWhite family of dentists.

     “We have great staff here with a long tenure,” praised James. He said his staff whom his patients have grown comfortable with will all remain following the transition.

     “Dr. Meyer has great people and clinical skills,” complimented James.

     Aside from his dedication to his patients, James has also been dedicated to the City of Monticello over the years. He’s given back to the community in multiple ways, saying this is what business owners do in small-town communities.

     “It’s about creating that partnership in a small community,” he said.

     That partnership also extended to James’ wife, Jodi, who worked alongside the business from a management standpoint. She handled the billing and receivables over the years, a task James said he could not have done without.

     “I would not be where I am today in my success without her,” he said. “She freed me up to focus on my dentistry. We made a really good team.”

     With Dr. Meyer coming in, James said some changes are expected in terms of additional hours and staff.

     “I am excited for Dr. Meyer to carry on the tradition here,” he said.

     James not only thanks his dedicated staff for their hard work over the years, but the generations of patients he’s seen over the years.

     “It’s all much appreciated,” he said. “My patients trusted me with their care, and it’s been a privilege and a pleasure to serve as their dentist. I am very grateful for their support.”

     James said he’s always wanted to make a small difference in people’s lives, and in his line of work in a small community, you get to see the impact you make.

     “You get attached to people, and they’re like family,” he said.

     Monticello Family Dentistry is located at 630 S. Main St., Monticello.



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