Beltone recently broke ground on a new hearing aid center on Bear Valley Road between Peach and I avenues. The Hesperia Chamber Ambassadors helped celebrate the event by hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Funding for the project was secured through Citizens Bank in Victorville. Designed by Butler Design Builders and built by M & L Keith & Associates, the new facility is expected to be completed in July.

"It's going to be very, very nice," said Gary Thomas who originally purchased the local Beltone practice with his wife Vicki in 1992. "It's moving right along."

Along with daughter Sally Johnson, the Thomases operate Beltone Hearing Healthcare Centers in Victorville, Barstow, Rancho Cucamonga and Beaumont. When completed, the new building in Hesperia will become their Victor Valley office.

"We tried to stay centrally located in the Victor Valley," Thomas said. "Anybody can get to us to where we are."

The new facility will have two full test suites rather than just one, which will allow patients to receive service more promptly. The company, which has 1,400 locations nationwide, uses a sophisticated sound system to simulate various listening environments.

The Thomas' first Hesperia office was at Seventh and Main Street, "but we grew out of that and moved to Overland Plaza (on Hesperia Road near Bear Valley)," Thomas said. Later, they moved nearby to a Victorville office in the Escrow Junction center.

Still growing, and with lease property hard to come by in the early 2000s, the Thomases decided to take control of their own destiny.

"Why don't we build something ourselves?" they asked themselves.

Plans began in 2003. The following year they purchased the land and began tending to infrastructure needs, including digging up the outer highway and lowering the property elevation so customers would have direct access to their facility.

"It's taken a lot of time," Thomas said.

But the pre-engineered steel building, which is designed to meet code in all 50 states, "should go up very, very quickly."

Now that the project's completion is in sight, the Thomas family is excited that their new day in Hesperia is almost here.

"This is like buying your first house," he said. "You're not paying rent to somebody for a change. It's going to be really good."

Beltone's new location will be at 17973 Bear Valley Road, Hesperia.