A physical therapy clinic that specializes in one-on-one treatment with patients and natural solutions and treatment for pain was honored as the 2018 Hagerty Small Business of the Year by the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce.
Superior Physical Therapy, owned by Dr. Andrew Gorecki with clinics on West Front Street and Munson Avenue in Traverse City, was honored Tuesday afternoon at the Small Business Celebration Awards Ceremony held at Northwestern Michigan College’s Hagerty Center attended by almost 200 people.
In addition to the Hagerty Small Business of the Year Award, the Chamber also presented two new awards at this year’s SBC Awards Ceremony. Chronic Care Management owned by Julie Hartl received the Chamber’s inaugural Summit Award, while Big Dipper Cookie Dough founded by Austin Groesser was honored with the SBC Emerging Business Award.
“I think the company culture and patient focus is what made Superior Physical Therapy stand out,” said Leslie Winkle, an SBC judge and owner of Studio 415 Salon. “They really work one-on-one with their patients and all of their employees have really bought into that philosophy.”
Winkle said the SBC judges also noted very little turnover in the business’ 20-plus member staff, and extensive professional development and leadership training. The business also offers numerous free clinics, videos and e-books available to the public on a wide range of topics, ranging from healthy eating to pain free workshops.
Gorecki founded Superior Physical Therapy in 2011. He earned a bachelors degree in exercise science from Northern Michigan University, and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy degree from Central Michigan University. He specializes in Applied Functional Science that analyzes biomechanical functions to identify sources of body pain.
Chronic Care Management was selected for the Small Business Celebration Summit Award because of its impact in helping its clients receive professional medical care through home-based diagnosis and treatment in a number of fields including chronic illness management, podiatry, palliative care, various counseling services, diet and others.
“Their story really spoke to the judges in terms of keeping people healthier and stronger in their homes,” Winkle said. “Not only are their services needed, but there’s a tremendous value in helping their patients stay in their homes.”
Big Dipper Cookie Dough was awarded the inaugural SBC Emerging Business Award. Co-founded by Austin Groesser, the company was among five Emerging Business Award finalists in a separate pool of SBC applicants. The finalists were interviewed in a “Shark Tank” style setting copied from the popular NBC television show. Winkle said Big Dipper, while still a small company employee-wise, boasted triple digit growth both in sales and distribution outlets. The product is currently available in more than 800 stores across a dozen Midwest states.
“(Groesser) has so much passion, and has become so educated about every phase of his business,” Winkle said.
Superior Physical Therapy joins a long list of successful local companies honored as the Chamber’s Hagerty Small Business of the Year, a program launched by the Chamber to highlight the enormous economic and social impact of the small business sector in Northwest Michigan.
Past Chamber Small Business of the Year recipients include:
2017 – Image 360
2016 – Studio 415 Salon
2015 – Pine Hill Nursery & Landscaping
2014 – Oryana Community Co-op
2013 – Kalkaska Screw Products
2012 – Plascon
2011 – Integrity Home Health & Skilled Care
2010 – Great Lakes Stainless
2009 – FAST Physical Therapy & FAST Fitness
2008 – Springfield Roofing
2007 – Grand Traverse Ophthalmology Clinic
2006 – Traverse City State Bank
2005 – Distribution Solutions International
Winkle said the judges agreed that all the Top 10 finalists were strong representatives of the region’s small business sector. The other Top 10 finalists included Dave’s Garage, CooLED, Exit Realty Paramount, Fustini’s Oils & Vinegars, Preferred Roofing Services, Press On Juice, Traverse Area Vacation Rentals and Bayside Docs Urgent Care.
“The judges were really inspired by all the Top 10,” she said. “They’re all outstanding businesses in their own way and each of them brought great qualities to the Small Business Celebration.”
This is the 14th year of the Chamber’s Small Business Celebration, created in 2005 to highlight the significant role that small business plays in anchoring Northern Michigan’s economy. The award is named for Hagerty insurance, the world-wide classic car and boat insurance company based in downtown Traverse City.
As the 2018 Hagerty Small Business of the Year, Superior Physical Therapy will receive a prize package worth more than $39,000 that includes a 6-month advertising package from the Traverse City Record-Eagle worth more than $33,000, $1,000 in advertising from both 9&10 News and WTCM radio, $1,800 worth of employee training from Northwestern Michigan College, $500 in IT Security Awareness Training from Safety Net, $500 in logo wear from Alfie Logo Gear and more than $1,000 in programming and services from the Traverse City Area Chamber.
As the Summit Award recipient, Chronic Care Management will receive nearly $22,000 in prizes including advertising from the Record-Eagle and WTCM, $250 from Alfie Logo Gear, along with the NMC and Safety Net training and the Chamber package. The prize package for the Emerging Business Award recipient Big Dipper Cookie Dough totals more than $21,000 which includes Record-Eagle and WTCM advertising, $1,000 in signage and graphic displays from Image360, Chamber prizes and more.
The Chamber’s 2018 Small Business Celebration is made possible through the generous support of Hagerty, Priority Health, and Northwestern Michigan College. Media sponsors include 9&10 News, the Traverse City Record-Eagle and WTCM/NewsTalk 580.