EIPT planning to stretch their hours
by Gregory R. Norfleet · News · January 25, 2013

Eastern Iowa Physical Therapy owner Beth Dressner wanted to expand to a fourth location, and turned to Dr. Jenn Burke, one of her physical therapists. “Where are we going put another clinic for you?” she asked.

Burke said she is interested in management and business start-ups, but her employer’s question caught her off-guard.

“She was on the hunt,” Burke said. “She has a very business-oriented mind. She spends a lot of time exercising and has a lot of time to think.”

Nonetheless, Burke started using her drive from her North Liberty home to her Wilton office to think, and look.

Dressner wanted three things in the community they chose: its own school, a doctor’s office and a rural setting.

Burke passed West Branch on her drive, and one day pulled off the highway to take a look around and conduct a bit of fact-finding.

“It was kind of an unreached place that might be a good location for a clinic,” Burke said.

Dressner found the former Cats & Dogs Antique Shop location and Burke said the 1,650 square feet makes it “one of our larger clinics,” even larger than EIPT’s Wilton headquarters. EIPT also has offices in Durant and Blue Grass.

Dressner, who bought the company in 2004, said she wants EIPT to “become part of each community.”

“Small communities tend to support local businesses,” Dressner said. “West Branch does a very nice job supporting local businesses. They do not see themselves as an extension off Iowa City.”

And she likes the fact that Burke can cut down her drive time.

“Jen did a market analysis and (West Branch) seemed like a good place to go,” she said.

The opened in West Branch in April, and Burke said they set up with enough equipment to be “only slightly beyond necessity,” with the plan to purchase more as the business grows.

And it has.

“I have a wish list started,” Burke said. “We’re going to review our budget.”

So far, none of their West Branch patients needed to travel to other EIPT locations, she said, all of them found what they needed here, and Burke said she sometimes borrows equipment from other offices to keep it that way. Dressner, who specializes in women’s health, can visit West Branch to offer those services, too, though some clients may need to travel to Wilton.

Burke said there is an even spread of athletes, middle-age and senior clients using the clinic.

“Business is going good,” she said. “We’re growing well.”

That goes for her, too, as she said she likes to see a diverse variety of clients.

“It’s a challenge,” she said, which requires her to stay current on treatments.

Seniors especially seem to like the short trip to the physical therapist, she said. EIPT offers a Senior Fit and Fall-free program that allows people to work out for two weeks at no cost just to try it out. The class meets at 8:10 a.m. Mondays and Wednesdays.

The company opened for three days a week at first, and this year will offer other hours by appointment.

“We will have availability five days a week,” Burke said.

Dressner said Main Street West Branch Program Director Rod Ness helped introduce EIPT staff to the community.

“Rod was huge,” she said. “He was super-helpful. ... He helped us secure the building. He sold us on it.”

Dressner said she would like to expand their presence in West Branch, perhaps by building near the high school and adding a fitness center.

“We’re in a nice place to test the waters,” she said.

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