Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to johnc@cfra.org.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Military Injury Leads to Business Ownership for Veteran

- from the desk of Glennis McClure, reapwbc@diodecom.net, co-director of the Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP, a Center for Rural Affairs program) and director of the REAP Women's Business Center, the first and only SBA Women's Business Center in Nebraska.

Military Injury Leads to a New Career and Business Ownership for this Veteran

Due to a back injury while serving in the military, Keri York finds CranioSacral massage therapy works for her. From her experience with chronic pain, she became interested in learning the skills of a therapist and going into business for herself in the town of Fairbury, Nebraska.

After massage therapy school, Keri rented space for a salon from a chiropractor, and then tried working from home when her husband Shane was called into military duty to Bosnia. Operating this business from her home just didn’t pan out, and Keri took a job 80 miles away.

After about a year driving back and forth to work and trying to take care of her family and household, she was drawn back to the idea of having her own shop for massage therapy. It became a reality when she found an old building in town with a reasonable purchase price.

So in the fall of 2004, the York’s gutted the old building and started making it into a new massage therapy office. Shane and Keri thought they would do most of the renovations themselves. After they got into the work, they learned that Shane would have to go to Iraq in early 2005.

With the help of his military company and friends, they completed the work on the shop with just a week to spare before Shane would leave again for at least a year. Since Therapeutic Dimensions opened the new doors for business, Keri has rarely had a day off.

REAP Women’s Business Center Director Glennis McClure assisted Keri with her business plan, and REAP made a loan to help fix up the building. In April, Keri received one of nine Women and Company Microenterprise Boost Program $1,000 cash equity awards from REAP.

Keri is using part of the equity award to pay for continuing education hours in learning the next level of CranioSacral Therapy. She also purchased Massage Office Pro software to help stay organized with client information, appointments, and inventory.

Keri believes her business location is more visible and has helped draw in customers. There aren’t many therapists around the area that focus on CranioSacral Therapy, so Keri gets referrals for new customers from her satisfied customers.

Keri hopes to continue to educate her customers to stick with the therapy treatments more regularly. She says her greatest reward is the help and pain relief that customers experience.

Taking care of their little four-year old Haley and running the business keeps Keri York busy most days. And when Shane isn’t serving our country overseas, he’s a deputy sheriff.

Keri was recently asked by Fairbury's Mayor to sit on the LB840 Citizen’s Advisory Committee. She volunteers as a massage therapy trainer during the Lincoln Marathon and presents programs for the local hospital wellness program.

for more information post a question or comment here or contact
John Crabtree, johnc@cfra.org

Center for Rural Affairs
Values. Worth. Action.

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