Keeping the team together through crisis

How an Arizona dentist protected her all-woman practice in the wake of the coronavirus

Dr. Nikki Trombetta moved nine times in 16 years with her husband, an active-duty Air Force pilot, before their young family settled in Marana, AZ. This fast-growing community between Tucson and Phoenix has become a hub for the aerospace, aviation services and defense industries—and it seemed like exactly the right place for Dr. Trombetta to open the dental practice she’d always hoped to lead.

marana dental

For about a year, Marana Dental Care and its staff thrived—until late March, when Arizona’s stay-at-home order went into effect. With no way to see patients, her office was forced to temporarily close its doors. In the wake of the coronavirus, many dentists’ offices across the nation have found themselves in similar straits. In March and April of 2020, half of all U.S. dental workers were laid off—accounting for 35% of all health care jobs lost during that time.footnote1 Dr. Trombetta recalls that the toughest day in the last several months was when she walked into a staff meeting, “looked everyone in the eye and acknowledged the uncertainty of what lay ahead for our practice, our patients and our jobs.”

She knew immediately that she’d need to adapt her business in line with new realities—to plan for seeing patients virtually when possible at the beginning, then eventually opening with modified hours and services as the stay-at-home rule was relaxed. Throughout the process, she was determined to keep her work family intact. And that meant funding. “It was pretty clear we were going to need outside financial support if we wanted to remain operational,” Dr. Trombetta says. Working with Bank of America banker Carlos Nieto, she applied for and received a loan through the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that has helped her adjust her practices to new social distancing policies—and keep her team employed.

In addition to the funding, Dr. Trombetta has received an outpouring of community support, which has done just as much to strengthen her confidence in Marana Dental Care’s long-term viability. This episode has also given her invaluable insights about how to run a business, especially one that’s owned and operated by women. Her advice to other women entrepreneurs? “Surround yourself with the right people. Business will always be there, but the people and the customers are crucial. No one knows everything, and when you do things for the first time, you’ll make mistakes – that’s OK. Reach out to people who will take a genuine interest in helping you succeed.”

As of May 2021, we’ve provided more than $34 billion in support by funding small business client loans through the Paycheck Protection Program. Learn more about how the Bank is supporting clients and communities and their small businesses during this unprecedented time.

Originally published 09/22/2021