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Business Profile

The Johnsons

Maize and Blue. The colors that represent pride in the University of Michigan Wolverines and the chosen names of Bret and Erin Johnson’s family dogs (golden retriever and vizsla, respectively). A conversation with the INB customer, the Johnsons reveals further symmetry in the life they’re carving out in Spokane. They have two beautiful young daughters. Charlotte is three and Lyla is nine months. Bret and Erin are both practicing dentists and business owners. And they both attended University of Michigan’s School of Dentistry, where they met in 2006.

On the topic of managing their schedules, Erin is candid. “Owning our own businesses has been very challenging. We have flexible schedules, which is great, but we consistently work long hours. Our staffs are so important because they help us so much with the juggling act.”

Dr. Erin and Dr. Becky Coombs met in Spokane while Becky was interviewing for residency positions in pediatric dentistry. They reconnected in Spokane when Erin finished her residency at the University of Michigan and, while working together at the same dental office, discovered a shared approach to treating patients and interacting with parents. They started South Hill Pediatric Dentistry in the Fall of 2011 and their business has grown tremendously in four years. According to Erin, business strategies come and go, but face-time with patients and parents will never be sacrificed.

“We have been so blessed by the success of the business,” Erin admits. “Becky and I both believe that the practice does not belong to Becky and I exclusively. It also belongs to the staff and most importantly, it belongs to the families we’re fortunate to serve.”

Bret was an associate orthodontist for nearly five years when an opportunity to purchase a practice from a retiring dentist surfaced. He loved the work he was doing but was eager to own his own business. Bret Johnson Orthodontics opened its doors with Dr. Bret at the helm in November of 2014 and immediately made its mark in the Spokane through community involvement. Starting in the fall of 2015, Dr. Bret’s team will offer the “Braces Bus” - a service that picks up and drops off patients at school before and after their appointments. Parents in Spokane: rejoice!

Whether it’s the recent purchase of a new home or having the flexibility to grow their respective businesses, Erin and Bret describe their relationship with INB as critical to their continued successes.

“INB has been amazing to work with for both of us,” Erin says. “In a time when asking for a loan was tough, INB really got to know us and believe in us. We are so thankful they took a chance on us.”

Brett laughs, then continues, “Because of that, it was a no-brainer when I was looking to finance my office. We both talk to our Business Banker, Mike Wilson.”

They pause and look at one another, smiling.

“Yeah, we talk to him a lot!"