Lori Garabedian, to the right, teamed up with her former co-workers Shannon Yorke and Judy LeBlanc to open their own practice after North Adams Regional Hospital closed the office they worked.
ADAMS, Mass. — Cash-strapped North Adams Regional Hospital closed its satellite physical therapy office in Adams in January but the employees and patients won't have to go far to keep their appointments. Three employees who used to work in the office at The Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter School have now opened Adams Physical Therapy right down the road at the Berkshire Mill.
After 17 years in the county, physical therapist and new business owner Lori Garabedian wasn't about to leave the place she has lived, worked and is raising her three children because her position was eliminated with the closing. Instead she opened the new practice and recruited her co-workers Shannon Yorke and Judy LeBlanc.
"I interviewed around and decided to stay in the Adams, Cheshire area," Garabedian said on Tuesday when she held a ribbon-cutting ceremony. "People are excited; they're happy that we're staying."
Owning a business is a new experience for Garabedian, who has worked the last 14 years with the hospital, but working with the state Small Business Authority, she was able to secure a business loan for the upstart costs. With that she shopped around and found deals on chairs from a Springfield car dealership that was going out of business, furniture from the Holiday Inn that is remodeling and updated equipment from a Pittsfield physical therapist that is retiring. She worked with business and medical consultants to to acquire the right licenses and finally on July 20 the new business took care of their first customers.
"It all came together at once," Garabedian said. "It's exciting, scary. You're taking a chance but I think it's going to be worth it."
Luckily, the office space needed only minimal upgrades before Garabedian moved in and now that the doors are open, Garabedian expects business to operate smoothly because the workers have already spend years working together and the patients are all nearby.
Keeping the business in town has earned Garabedian support from local officials. Board of Selectmen Chairman Arthur "Skip" Harrington and Christine Hoyt, representing the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, both attended the ribbon-cutting to show support.
"It's great to see businesses sighting here in Adams. It's a great community," Harrington said. "Thank you for choosing Adams."
The office is 2,100 square-feet inside of the historic mill that hosts retail and office space on the bottom floor and 60 apartments in the upper floors. The new business treats individuals of all ages for any type of physical therapy. The office is currently open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays will be for appointments only but Garabedian said those hours may change based on need.
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