By Laurie Stone, L.Ac.
Happy Birthday, Three Wells!
I’ve been enjoying celebrating my clinic’s 8th birthday this week.
I always get a little nostalgic thinking back to the beginning and so very grateful for the support of family, friends, and of course my patients over the years.
If you’ve never heard the story, let me pull the curtain back and share the behind-the-scenes…
My now husband and I moved back to Morris (my hometown) in May of 2010 and I opened in the clinic in August ‘on a wing and prayer,’ as they say.
It was certainly one of the scariest but most exciting things I’ve ever done – leaving the safety net of gainful employment and going it alone opening my own clinic. Bless my husband’s heart for being willing to continue commuting to his job in Chicago!
My first patient on my first day was a little family member – she sweetly asked me to give her a foot massage, so I charged her a dollar and she paid it with her own money out of her allowance. The clinic’s first dollar! And it grew from there….
Talk about a roller coaster. When you hear the statistics of how many businesses fail the first year, then the first three years, then the first five years, it could be intimidating. So, celebrating my 8th year means a lot to me.
The Early Years:
The first four years, I wore every hat in the clinic which at the time had just two treatment rooms (with thanks to my family who helped me clean & decorate – and assemble IKEA furniture!). I was treating patients AND doing reception, insurance, marketing, cleaning, making the website, social media, etc etc etc. Busy bee.
Then my suite neighbor in the Baum Building was moving to another suite and that let me expand the clinic – I added a third treatment room and an office which meant there would be enough space to hire a receptionist without us sitting on top of each other!
I’ve enjoyed being in the Baum Building. It’s right downtown, close to the bank and the post office. Lots of parking for my patients (except at Corn Fest!). Great office neighbors in the building and a great landlord. Lots of shops around and some nice lunch places nearby (hello Letty Mae’s!).
The following year after the expansion, I was able to hire my first part-time receptionist – her name is Mom! I still to this day cannot convey how awesome it is to have great help at the front desk. My mom helped me get everything organized up front and both my mom and dad helped me convert over to electronic record keeping (two more items to add to the long list of things I’m grateful for about my parents).
So many solo practitioners have resisted converting to electronic charting but I loved it – my handwriting is sloppy and I am a fast typer so it was a huge time-saver to start typing my notes.
The Recent Years:
Anyway, I certainly wasn’t able to talk my mom out of going to Florida for the winter, so then it was time to hire from “outside.” Talk about the importance of a gut feeling – when I was sifting through the first round of resumes and application emails, I saw the one from Judy and “just knew.” She has been my right hand ever since.
We were able to create a job share and I hired a second receptionist who has changed each year, but I’ve been blessed that each one has been a joy to work with. And we have a lovely team right now with me, Judy, and Mireya. I get regular compliments from my patients that they feel relaxed and well cared for from the moment they walk in the door.
My services have evolved over the years. I first started with acupuncture in both private treatments and community-style (sharing the room with other patients). After a few years I dropped the community style option because it was difficult to dive into important conversations in a shared room, so now I do all private appointments.
In addition to acupuncture, I offer herbal consultations (which include herbal remedies and food-based supplements). My services have expanded to offering a mineral hair analysis and essential oils. Then adding classes for essential oils and most recently this year, Zentangle classes.
I love teaching about essential oils and Zentangle because of how very useful these are for self-care. In acupuncture, you have to come in for me to do a treatment for you (and please do!). But with oils, you can extend the benefits of treatment on your own at home. And Zentangle is a lovely form of stress relief – who doesn’t need that!?
Although I specialize in anxiety, pain, and digestive health, the clinic is truly a general practice. I think that’s almost a necessity being in a smaller town and having a lot of patients travel in from rural areas. It helps to have a practitioner who can cover a lot of bases.
To give you an example, yesterday alone I treated people for: ankle pain, knee pain, cosmetic facial, headaches, fatigue, IBS, upper back pain, immune support, insomnia, post-chemo support, depression, and back pain.
It might interest you to know that my youngest patient was a baby and my oldest patient was 94. My group of patients is almost, but not quite, an even split between men and women, slightly more women.
And to all, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart!
I’m grateful to every one of my patients and every person who has helped spread the word about the clinic – personal referrals are so powerful. I so enjoy working with my patients and appreciate being a part of their health journey.
Here’s looking forward to the next 8 years!!