When Kevin Schrack, PT, OCS, CMTPT was looking to open a physical therapy business more than two decades ago, he did his homework.
He selected a number of communities in Virginia—including Franklin—and traveled to each one to examine them for physician referral sources. He studied whether or not the community was growing and the competition. And he looked to see how the community felt. If it was warm. Welcoming. Inviting for new business owners.
He found that in Franklin, a banker who believed in his clinic, a welcoming community and patients who trusted him to help bring them back to their active lives after injury and surgery.
Today, Schrack is celebrating more than two decades of serving the Franklin community with physical therapy services. Schrack’s first clinic – Southside Physical Therapy – eventually grew to include locations in Chesapeake and Windsor, and then merged with Tidewater Physical Therapy in 2011.
The Franklin Tidewater Physical Therapy Clinic is located at 1580 Armory Drive but started out all over, including in people’s homes.
“I knew the biggest hurdle would be as the `unknown new guy’ not having any pre-established patients,” Schrack said. “I started by seeing just home patients in order for community members to get to know me. As luck would have it, some of my first home patients were prominent members of the community.”
They knew they were getting great care, Schrack said. What they didn’t know then was what Schrack was willing to do to make it happen. In those earliest days, Schrack, who couldn’t immediately afford to hire additional support on his clinical team, did things like take the laundry home each night and had his wife and children serve as the janitorial team on the weekends.
“But possibly the biggest hurdle was obtaining a loan to start the practice,” Schrack said. “It actually took two attempts to get started and I was approved by only two bankers. I knew I had to do whatever needed to be done to meet my financial commitments.”
Brian Hedgepeth, now the CEO of Bronco Federal Credit Union, was among the believers and became the catalyst to helping Schrack launch his business, lending him the money to open the office in 1992.
“That is a good success story,” Hedgepeth said. “The community has embraced Kevin and his business.”
Hedgepeth called Schrack’s determination to open his physical therapy clinic a key factor for approval. He did a lot of homework and due diligence to see if his venture would work in Franklin, Hedgepeth said.
Schrack has managed to find success, weathering several economic bumps and a changing health care industry, Hedgepeth said.
“He survived them all,” Hedgepeth said.
Teresa Beale, Executive Director of the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce, said she has known Schrack since he opened his practice and commended his service and responsiveness to the community’s needs.
“He has continued to grow and offer new services to meet specific patient needs,” Beale said, noting in particular the addition of the Aquatic Therapy Pool. “He’s respected for his excellent patient care and being actively involved in our community has also served his business well. Congratulations to Kevin for his many years of providing outstanding physical therapy services to the Franklin-Southampton Area.”
Today, the Franklin Clinic of Tidewater Physical Therapy offers comprehensive physical therapy and rehabilitation services for acute and chronic injury or disease. Arthritis, back pain, joint pain, osteoporosis, stroke, and fractures are just some of the many conditions treated at Tidewater Physical Therapy. The clinic’s aquatic therapy pool is designed to help seriously limited patients get the most from their physical therapy with less pain.
The clinicians in Franklin with Schrack also offer innovative therapy treatment options for patients with multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and Parkinson’s disease.
The community’s response to his business opening, and their continued support, keep Schrack going.
“Community members were warm, welcoming and willing to try working with this new guy who was showing a willingness to work hard for them,” he said. “The first day that the office was open I had seven patients scheduled, which far exceeded my expectations.”
And today they keep coming back, and referring their own family members.
Schrack and his staff continue to be recipients of many acts of generosity from current and former patients, “whether it be something homemade, something from their garden, or some really good advice.”
That bond with patients is undoubtedly what Schrack most enjoys about practicing physical therapy in Franklin.
“I’ve learned so much from them, from farming, to hunting and fishing, to making paper and, most importantly, that their values are the same as mine: the importance of hard work, family and personal relationships,” Schrack said. “I always felt that practicing in a smaller community would allow the formation of a personal bond and for me to be seen as their physical therapist for life. I have had patients come to me to ask my opinion regarding their health care and that is one of the greatest compliments and gifts I have ever received.”
The Franklin Tidewater Physical Therapy clinic is located at 1580 Armory Drive, Suite B. Patients can make their own appointments by calling 757.562.0990. Clinic hours are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Wednesday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Many of the physical therapists at Tidewater Physical Therapy Inc. hold Direct Access Certification through the Virginia Board of Physical Therapy allowing them to evaluate and treat patients without a prescription. As part of a healthcare team, a physical therapist will make an assessment of a patient’s condition and create a plan to start on the road to wellness. The Tidewater Physical Therapy team will communicate with a patient’s physician or dentist of record and obtain a referral, if necessary, for continued treatment. Tidewater Physical Therapy will also work with insurance carriers to make sure services are covered by a patient’s plan.