Dr. Matthew Hitchcock is preparing to begin a long-awaited expansion of his business, but he didn't really find his new location – it sort of found him.
"I got a cold call from a real-estate agent in 2020," said Hitchcock, who launched Hitchcock Family Practice in 2015. "That's how the whole, long ordeal started."
It ended last month when, according to Hamilton County records, HFP paid $1.6 million for the former Ryan's Steakhouse and Crazy Buffet location at 5104 Hixson Pike.
"I'd been wanting to do this for a while," said Hitchcock. "We were running out of square footage."
Hitchcock estimated that renovations to the nearly 11,000-square-foot building will cost another $1 million. He anticipates opening the new building next spring.
A graduate of The McCallie School, Hitchcock joined the U.S. Navy after earning his undergraduate degree in microbiology from Clemson University. He earned his MD at the University of Tennessee and spent seven years with the Navy in California before returning to Chattanooga.
He opened his first HFP location in Hixson in 2015, with the Eastgate location following four years later.
He said he was the practice's sole doctor in the early going, but that the practice now has three other doctors, a physical therapist who splits time between Hixson and Eastgate, two nurses and two pharmacists.
"The two buildings we have now are about 5,000 square feet total," he said. "Getting everyone under one roof, where we can take care of each other and support each other, will be golden."
Hitchcock said the practice will have room at the new location for another family-practice doctor. He also hopes to expand HFM's offerings by adding a dietitian and a mental-health professional, and turn the prescription service available to HFM patients into a full-on, open-to-all pharmacy.
"Our patients would still get the best deals, but any doctor would be able to send in a prescription" Hitchcock said. "Hopefully, that'll make a dent in prescription costs for patients."
Hitchcock also wants to dedicate some of his new space to what he called "cash-only," less-expensive imaging services.
"I'm excited to be able to do this," he said. "We hope to offer an easier process that will certainly be competitive, if not outright cheaper, than insurance. You'd pay a flat fee, right up front, and not have to worry about getting a bill for more six weeks later – no hassle, no headaches, lots easier."