Optometry couple make professional and private lives work

Barbara Hootman

A local optometry couple’s profile recently appeared in “InVision” magazine describing their relationship as a professional couple working together.

In January 2016, Dr. Cory Partlow saved Carolyn Gross’ life, but that is a story for next week’s paper. Obviously the optometry profession can be exciting in Black Mountain.

Cory and Jennifer Partlow, owners of Black Mountain Family EyeCare, met in 2008 while they were optometry students. Both were busy medical students, with Jennifer working through her residency in ocular disease at the VA Medical Center in Huntington, West Virginia, while Cory was an intern at the same time. After Jennifer finished her residency and Cory graduated, they both moved to Virginia but worked at separate optometry offices. They got married in 2008.

The couple moved to Black Mountain in 2013 and opened Black Mountain Family Eyecare, starting their professional careers together. From the beginning of their business, they have had a division of duties, with Cory being the boss. Dividing responsibilities at the office and at home works for the couple.

“I am fine with Cory being the boss,” Jennifer said. “Both of us see patients, but I take care of the insurance work and fit patients with glasses. Cory takes care of the bookwork because he has a head for numbers. Our business relationship has always been good, and in our personal relationship we make time to play together. My mom, Cherie Nowalk, comes from Bakersville a couple days a week, and that frees us to have a night out if we want to go somewhere.”

Currently the Partlows’ personal life revolves around their 10-month-old son, Harrison.

“We like outdoor activities like hiking, biking and walking,” Jennifer said. “Harrison isn’t old enough to take with us yet, but my mom gets her time with him while Cory and I enjoy some outside activity.”

Both Parlows like to read and make time to do so. Cory enjoys fishing and recently enjoyed a fishing trip.

“I fished for trout during the last trip, but I enjoy bass fishing as well,” he said. “I usually plan at least one big fishing trip with Indiana friends every year that lasts about four days.”

Working together definitely has major advantages, especially being able to discuss medical issues with someone who understands the situation.

“A common professional goal that we have had since opening our business is to make it a personal experience for our patients,” Jennifer said. “We want to get to know our patients.”

“We want our patients to feel like they are part of our family,” Cory said. “We spend one-on-one time with our patients.”

Cory said the biggest disadvantage to working and living with a spouse is that it leaves little time for self.

“We respect each other’s time alone,” Jennifer said. “I’ve done yoga since 2004 and go to class on Sunday morning. Sunday morning yoga is special.”