Phoenix Physical Therapy: Rising from the Ashes.

In 2017, veteran physical therapist SueB Earl found herself looking for a new place to call her professional home.

After working for the Mercy system for more than fifteen years, she unexpectedly lost her position. She pursued the private sector but couldn’t seem to find a good fit.

So, she finally decided to open her own practice.

In 2012, she had launched Footworks—a custom foot orthotics business—as a side gig. At the time, she had no idea how to run a business, and she relied heavily on the SBDC for guidance. Through the years, she continued to be an active part of the SBDC community; she attended the annual women’s conferences and a number of workshops.

But, when she decided to launch a physical therapy practice, which was going to be a full-time venture, she found that she needed quite a bit more help with the business side of things.

“I consulted with Mary, and she gave me some reference materials. She was very encouraging, which really helped! I got access to some different tools that helped me start putting the business together.”

Then came the business plan. Not having a background in finance, SueB felt helpless when it came to crunching the numbers.

Mary connected SueB with Laurie Keck, who proved to be a lifesaver. “She spent at least 10 or 15 hours with me and held my hand through the entire process. I got the information, and she organized the numbers in the business plan, which ultimately allowed me to acquire the loan I needed from Region 9. Her expertise was invaluable.”

Once the loan was secured, SueB needed a name for her practice. Her daughter suggested that she use a name that represented herself, and a friend immediately told her, “Well, that’s easy. Phoenix.”

SueB has been no stranger to challenges in her life, from battling cancer to dealing with professional setbacks and personal calamities, and she immediately knew that the image of a Phoenix rising from the ashes beautifully represented her new life and career.

Since opening her doors in November, the business has been a “soaring” success. The schedule is already full, and she has recently hired a new therapist. “I’m going to need to get back with Laurie to create a working business plan, not just one to get a loan. I’m looking forward to having her help me crunch numbers.”

“I would tell any new business owner that the SBDC is an amazing resource. They are there to guide you, support you, and provide resources, so you are making informed decisions and not just shooting in the dark. Also, Region 9 is great for helping small businesses get loans.”

SueB is also grateful to both the Durango and physical therapy communities who have been incredibly supportive. “Knowing that I’m beholden to Durango and appreciated—that feels pretty good.”

Phoenix Physical Therapy
Spire Physical Therapy & Wellness

“I want my clients to own their health, empower them to take charge, help them learn, take ownership of their bodies and do what they love.” That is a quote from Jacki Gilpin. She is the owner of Spire Physical Therapy and Wellness, located in Cortez, CO. She chose to leave her previous job as a staff therapist as the clinic’s primary focus was on the bottom line. The structure emphasized billing more each visit

Read More »
WildEdge Brewing

Tucker Robinson once worked as an archaeologist who brewed his own beer at home in his spare time. His affinity for making quality microbrews eventually led Tucker to pursue craft brewing as a profession. In 2013, he wrote an initial business plan with the goal of opening his own microbrewery in Cortez, CO. Several years later as his business plan seemed close to completion, Tucker interned at his friend’s brew pub in Rochester, NY. He

Read More »
Finn’s Wurst Sausage

            Greg and Finn Hopkins are a father and son team that created Finn’s Wurst Sausage.  Finn came up with the idea to sell authentic German bratwurst from a New York City styled hot dog cart during a brainstorming session with his dad.  The purpose of the business is to advance Finn from employee to owner.  Finn is autistic.  His experience in the food service industry has been as a dishwasher, prep cook and busser. 

Read More »
Aspen Wall Wood

David Sitton and Sean Stafford are the owners of Aspen Wall Wood. I interviewed David for this article, who shared his story of purchasing a timber mill in 2016 and later purchased two other companies. The major factor in the acquisition process was the ability to obtain a loan. That was done with the assistance of Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Durango. David was well established as a Vice President for Skanska, a large

Read More »
Impact Fenders: Bracing for Impact

There’s nothing better than spending a day water skiing on the lake. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to fasten cylindrical fenders to the side of your boat before arriving back at the dock. As California natives, Brian Slaughter and Courtney Gates love boats. One day in 2017, they had just finished water skiing and were trying to attach their boat fenders when Brian had an epiphany: why hasn’t anyone created an easier system? As

Read More »
Native Roots Garden Center

By Malia Durbano John Wickman, owner of the independent garden center, Native Roots, has a degree in Horticulture, but not one in Business. That is why he approached Joe Keck of the SW Colorado SBDC for some advice on expanding his business. The Garden Center does Landscape Design and Installation with a large retail section for do-it-yourselfers. They grow all their own trees, shrubs, annuals and perennials through their subsidiary, Pine River Plants. Wickman, “Learned

Read More »