As explained earlier, Arnold was started as necessity as I was anticipating a lawsuit to challenge a non-compete clause in my independent contractor agreement. I was approached by a patient in Kearney and asked if I would consider starting a satellite office in Arnold. Initially I thought she was crazy, we first started to explore the option when I decided to leave my position at that time.
Kristina and I drove to Arnold, population 597, on a Friday afternoon in March of 2013, to meet with the Economic Development office in Arnold. Which turns out to be an invaluable resource while trying to get things going. While she was showing us around the town, we stopped in to the beauty shop which was being renovated at the time. I had a brief conversation about possibly renting a room in the shop one day a week, and so it began.
At that point we were starting to get things lined up in Kearney and decided to take the plunge and go to Arnold on Wednesday’s. I ran a few ads in the local paper and took a leap of faith. From talking to people of Arnold, it sounded as if they had a bad experience with the last chiropractor that has been in town prior to me, so I think they were fairly hesitant to come in initially. At one point, I had a conversation with the hardware store, they indicated that I could borrow a sign to put out front of the shop in hopes of drawing in more people.
Turns out a bright green or orange sign that sits out front along Highway 92 can be priceless. I would have people stopping in after 4-6 months indicating that they didn’t know I was even in town, front page of the local paper sometimes does not register with some people. The word started to get out and things started to grow rapidly from that point.
Two years into the Arnold experiment, Kristina and I started to talk that if we were going to continue to go the small community on the Custer and Logan county line that I needed to be able to offer the same services to them as I did to the people of Kearney. The first two years, I was basically only able to offer adjustments and manual therapy as I was working off a portable table that I would take with me when I left every week.
That’s when we stated to explore the option of potentially purchasing a building in Arnold. As you may or may not know, your options when buying real estate in a small town can be limited. We came to terms on the one building that was available, main street Arnold it was. Now the building is not perfect by a long shot but we make due. After painting, a little construction we were off and running. I have said since we bought the building that we essentially bought a garage with a building attached to it.
I was now able to offer therapies, such as electric stim, ultrasound, manual therapy and of course adjusting. I moved a table from the Kearney office, the best part of this is that I didn’t have to break things down every time I left town, I could just shut the lights off and leave everything.
We soon found out that the window air conditioners don’t keep a hundred year old building cool when it’s a hundred degrees outside. That’s when updated air handlers were installed and made a world of difference. Being comfortable yourself and have patients that are comfortable when they walk in the building is a hug part of getting results.
The hardest part of Arnold is the drive, it’s kind of a haul for me from Kearney, but as soon as the patients start coming in for the day that all goes out the window. 80 miles is only long when you don’t have someone to talk to, thankfully Kristina travels with me most weeks now.
When the Minden opportunity came about, the Arnold office was a big concern for us. While Minden is only 20 minutes away and would be much more convenient, the people of Arnold have been with me from my start. I have developed some very good relationships in Arnold. Kristina and I figured we couldn’t just give it up, so we moved the working day in Arnold to Saturday mornings in order to accommodate as many patients as I could.
Quick side note: I have two “secretaries”, in Minden, I call them “secretaries” but they are more motherly figures to me as they have been working in a chiropractic office almost as long as I have been alive. They thought I was crazy when I told them that I go to Arnold to see patients, so they laughed at me a little. The girls don’t laugh at me any more when I bring the list of patients back to the office on Monday’s as they see how busy the days can actually get.
Numerous people told me that nobody will come see you in Arnold on a Saturday morning because there are too many things going on and that the town clears out. As is turns out, the people of Arnold have been nothing but remarkable. I have actually become busier on Saturday’s then I was on Wednesday’s for the first three years. I have upgraded equipment numerous times in Arnold in order to offer the best service that I can and I believe that it has paid off many times over.
It may have been a grind, but sticking with the community has been one of the best decisions I have made. Moral of the story, stick with people and build confidence that you are going to be there for them and with them. Whether it be a snow storm or heat wave, I think I have missed two days in four years in Arnold and I truly believe that just showing up has paid dividends.
A satellite office may not be for everyone but if you want to expand your reach far beyond a single town radius, this allows you to expand into those areas. I could not be more pleased and look forward to continuing my journey to the base of the sandhills for the foreseeable future.