After being stationed in Meridian while serving in the United States Navy for seven years, Dr. Alvaro Moreno moved to Petal to work at Southern Eye Center in Hattiesburg. Moreno stayed at that clinic for seven years before opening his own establishment, Moreno Eye Care, in 2003 at 598 East Central Avenue in Petal.
The business offers comprehensive eye care services and in-demand lenses and frames. The eye doctors perform comprehensive vision examinations and specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide array of eye diseases, conditions and problems.
Moreno recently took the time for a phone Q&A to talk about his practice and how he has fared in The Friendly City.
Petal Chamber: What made you want to establish your business in Petal?
Moreno: I live there, and my home was there in Petal. I wanted to be more of a part of the community, instead of driving to Hattiesburg to work every day.
Q: How has being in Petal worked out so far?
A: It’s been great; people have been very supportive, and not just Petal people, but people from the surrounding communities. They’ve supported our practice and our growth, and I’m to the point now where my son is in practice with me. He joined the practice last year, so he’s in his second year of being in practice there at the office.
Q: You’ve been a member of the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce since you established the business. How has that benefited you, and what advice on joining the chamber would you give to new businesses or anyone considering joining?
A: I think (it’s great) just being part of an organization that’s banding together for the good of the community – and not just the community itself, but for the businesses in the community, to help and support each other. That helps everybody be able to make it through any kind of crisis.
Q: You mentioned that business has been great since coming to Petal. What do you attribute that to?
A: I think, for one, since there wasn’t an optometrist or an eye clinic in Petal, there was some pent-up demand. People didn’t have an option; they had to get in their car and drive to Hattiesburg. As Hattiesburg grew and traffic became more of an issue and people got older, they were looking for somebody to be able to do it in Petal. So I think that helped my growth, just being accessible and being close so people wouldn’t have to go to Hattiesburg to get their eyes taken care of.
Q: What do you see in the future for business in general, and for your business?
A: For business in general in Petal, I’ve always said that we need more business in Petal; we need larger businesses in Petal. The main thing I’ve said since the day I opened up my practice in Petal is that our most valuable resource (clients and customers) is cranking up and driving across the river every day. If you go look at some of the businesses in Hattiesburg, some of their best employees – if you really dig down and look – they’re from Petal, or went to Petal High School. They’re Petal people, and they’re in Hattiesburg. My wish is to one day have it to where everybody who didn’t want to drive to Hattiesburg could find a job and make a living wage in Petal. I’m sure that most of them, if they had a choice, would probably stay in Petal.