From the Ground Up: Building Dental Depot

In the midst of everything 2020 has thrown at us, Dental Depot is still on track to open its 25th location this summer. The Oklahoma family-owned practice has seen unprecedented growth since its initial expansions in 2001, opening an average of two new offices each year in both the Oklahoma City and Tulsa Metro Areas. In 2007 the first partner office outside Oklahoma opened in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and in 2008 Dental Depot partner Dr. Jason Arthurs launched the brand in the Phoenix Metro. Now, twelve years later, Dental Depot is opening the doors on a brand-new office in Surprise, AZ.

What Dental Depot Means for You

Since the beginning, Dr. Glenn has been dedicated to a common-sense approach to dentistry that gives patients quality, affordable care. Our doctors aren’t focused on the bottom line – they’re focused on making a positive impact on the lives of their patients and the communities around them.

We’re looking forward to introducing you to the dentist who will be leading the Surprise office, Dr. Rajan Pradhan, in the coming weeks. Our new Surprise office is ready to meet all of your family’s dental needs including twice-yearly exams and cleanings, restorative and cosmetic dentistry.

The Surprise office is nearly 5000 square feet and features ten operatories. It is located at 13828 W. Greenway Rd., at the intersection of W. Greenway Rd. and N. Litchfield Rd.. We’re proud to offer appointments Tuesday through Saturday with flexible appointment times to meet your needs.

Our Roots

Established in 1978 by Dr. Glenn Ashmore, a lifetime resident of Oklahoma City and a graduate of the Baylor College of Dentistry, Dental Depot was a private practice for more than 20 years. The first office was in a renovated duplex in Oklahoma’s historic Linwood neighborhood.

Dr. Glenn and wife Arlene made a fateful trip to New York City and while there, visited the FAO Schwarz toy store and were enchanted by the electric model trains circling the building. Arlene, a dental hygienist, and avid antique store shopper, began to collect train memorabilia to fill the office with. This early fascination with turn of the century Americana would spark the beginning of one of the country’s largest collections of railway artifacts.

In 2001 both of Dr. Glenn and Arlene’s children had left for college and Dr. Glenn found himself with too much time on his hands. So, expansion began. Arlene had befriended Les Henderson, owner of an antique mall she favored and set him to the task of designing the second office in South OKC. Les has done the interior design of our buildings ever since.

During construction of the South OKC office, modeled after a Santa Fe train station, a late-night fire tore through the original duplex in Central OKC. Much was lost in the fire, but from the ashes, Dental Depot was truly reborn.

Dr. Glenn Ashmore and wife Arlene Ashmore, RDH, sit on the steps of the original Dental Depot prior to the 2001 fire.

Our Buildings

Once everything that could be salvaged (luckily that included 90% of the patient charts), the charred remains were scraped from the foundation, and construction began on the new Central OKC. This office was the first to feature the iconic Dental Depot look – a golden shiplap and red-brick exterior trimmed in green, modeled after a train station with an exterior to include a clock tower, railway signage, a water tower, and most importantly – a train.

The interiors from 2001 to 2018 featured wood-paneled interiors with oversized prints of railway art and artifacts on matted backgrounds. Much of the interior, including furniture, was and is crafted by a dedicated facilities team. This team oversees creating and installing hundreds of feet of track in each office for the model trains to chug along from room to room. And because the team includes talented welders, everything from the epic bridges spanning large windows down to the brackets that hold the tracks in place is meticulously crafted.

Every bridge and bracket is made by our facilities team and every office has unique features and details that make it special.

Beginning in 2018 with the Central Tulsa office, Les and Arlene decided it was time for an interior refresh – a look that honored our roots while staying connected to the present. Wood-paneled walls were replaced with an exclusive line of Benjamin Moore paints and the matted artwork was updated with brighter, bolder prints.

The result is a bright, airy feeling that still makes patients feel comfortable – after all, how many dentists do you know that have model trains running from room to room to help distract you from any dental anxiety?

Our interiors are thoughtfully designed to be open and inviting for patients.

Our Trains

Outside every Dental Depot is a train. The first outdoor train was made by the Ashmore’s family friend, David Piette, in the 1980s. He’d built it in his backyard and it was so large by the time he was finished, that it had to be crane-lifted out of the backyard in order to transport it to the Central OKC office. In 2000 he crafted another for the South OKC office, featuring a larger locomotive engine than the first, as well as a caboose. It was quickly becoming apparent that if we were going to continue to build trains, it couldn’t be a one-man job.

John Argo, welder and a ten year veteran of Dental Depot, was set to the task of building a train. The trouble was, he’d never done it before and there wasn’t much of a blueprint to go from.

The facilities team did figure it out though, and today, they build trains for every single Dental Depot and install them before the office ever opens. It takes roughly 700 hours to assemble the trains and they often include reused and recycled materials such as smoker lids, trailer hitches, and pressure tanks.

“Every train has been handcrafted. None of them are the same,” Richardson said. “They all have their own story, like the offices themselves.”

And the train that’s coming to Surprise is going to be special, too. It’s the first of its kind, a redesign that includes both engine and accompanying coal car joined together. This new design will take the facilities team much less time to build and still offers all of the same charms as its larger Oklahoma counterparts.

Ready to schedule your family’s appointments? You can call us at 623-323-1555, request an appointment online or schedule through text by using the red chat button in the lower right corner of the screen or directly at 480-666-5638.

Each Dental Depot train is unique and numbered, Surprise will sport the coveted 25th spot.

Jeff is an organizer of visual communication and systems. Jeff uses art, design, programming, and observation to create clear communications and tell interesting stories.

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