Jackson County Times

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Marianna Physical Therapy Is Open At New Location

By Bo McMullian

The business maxim “location is everything” was behind Marianna Physical Therapy’s move from Fourth Street near Jackson Hospital to the Wal-Mart Supercenter plaza last month, says co-owner Ruben Laurel. A similar move at his Chipley branch tripled the number of customers there, he told the TIMES on Tuesday.

Most entrepreneurs open a business at one location, stay there and work towards growth. Not so with Ruben, a native of Corpus Christi, Texas, and his partner, wife Lorrie, a native of the Prosperity community in Holmes County. They opened Chipley Physical Therapy in December 2002 and six months later, a second office in Bonifay. Soon after that came an office in Graceville and last summer, they opened Marianna Physical Therapy in a former doctor’s office.

Lorrie holds the degree in physical therapy; she’s the operations director. But Ruben, a former Army soldier out of Ft. Rucker, has the business acumen. He spotted an opportunity at the I-10 interchange (the new Marianna thanks to Wal-Mart) after Tyndall Credit Union moved out, next to Firehouse Subs. It’s not next to a hospital like in Chipley, Ruben said, but it is next to Wal-Mart Pharmacy and has extra “visibility.”

“We expect the same increase in customers we received in Chipley,” Ruben said. The first location there was on Railroad Avenue a block off U.S. 90. The current site is on Main Street, in the Washington Square Shopping Center.

The Laurels now employ 18 persons at their four clinics. And Ruben isn’t stopping there. “Our plans are to build our own facility here in a few years,” he said. “We believe Marianna will support it.”

Here are some of the reasons why the owners believe their business is thriving: The clinics are all independent, not-affiliated with any hospital or medical group. “We are therapist owned and operated,” Ruben said. “As an independent clinic we get paid less than hospitals. So, our patient’s co-pays are a lot less. Using insurance and going straight to a hospital for therapy treatment can cost three or four times what we charge. People should shop around. We provide a choice. The right choice.”

Also, Ruben says, “We do a good job. We are hands-on; we touch our patients here and spend quality time with them.” He is confident about getting results--the relief of pain for the customer. “We have a new comprehensive back pain program that is guaranteed to get our patients results,” Ruben said, “and you don’t have to keep coming back and coming back.”

The company will work out terms for those without insurance, he added. “We’re here to help people in the community.”

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