Since the first day, the clinic has been busy. In fact, Dr. Collard decided to postpone planning a grand opening reception until spring of 2016 so she can focus on the business and serve her patients.
On August 1, 2015, Dr. Melissa Collard opened the Upper Peninsula Audiology clinic in Houghton. She created the business to provide a broad range of hearing services for children and adults, and to personally give back to the community in which she lives and works.
Dr. Collard completed her Clinical Doctorate of Audiology at Western Michigan University in 2008. After that she took a full time position at Munson Hospital in Traverse City, MI. She returned home to Houghton to accept a position as an audiologist in a hospital setting. During four and a half years in this environment, she interfaced with many patients, their families, and the local community. She built a network of contacts and patient success stories. Her experience grew, as did her interest in providing care through her own clinic.
It had always been in the back of her mind that someday she would open her own clinic. In the beginning of 2015, she began to develop her business and operating plan. The clinic would provide diagnostic hearing tests, hearing aid sales and services (battery and accessories, warranties, cleaning, repairs), pre-and post-operative testing and services, and FM equipment consultations with hearing impaired children in local school districts. Referrals would come through physicians, satisfied patients, and word of mouth. She approached a certified occupational hearing conservationist to perform OSHA hearing screenings for local companies in-house or onsite as well as serve as her office manager.
To finance the business, Dr. Collard provided owner funds and secured a commitment from a regional bank for a portion of the requirements. Because there was a gap in financing needs, the lender suggested she contact Northern Initiatives. This was one of many serendipitous moments in Dr. Collard’s pursuit; while Northern Initiatives has always serviced her community, a Northern Initiatives lender had just begun holding monthly office hours in her area.
When Dr. Collard met with the Northern Initiatives’ lender, her enthusiasm, experience and high level of preparedness was clear. The clinic had solid potential as a business and as a resource to the community. Dr. Collard’s loan for capital requirements was approved in July of 2015 and she moved quickly toward an August 1st opening.
Future plans include adding another full time audiologist in six months. If the current patient volume is any indication, those plans will quickly become reality. Due to a partnership between a traditional lender and Northern Initiatives, Dr. Collard’s clinic is definitely open for business.