Christina King wasn’t looking for royal treatment when seeking physical therapy 10 years ago. Just some relief for her aching back.
“My first job was as a traveling physical therapist,” King recalled recently. “Then I had my own back problems and I couldn’t find a hands-on physical therapist. I thought, ‘Why don’t I specialize in manual therapy for back and neck pain?’ That’s how it all started.”
Today, the Philippines native who was licensed in her home country before moving to the United States in 2000, runs King Rehab Services Inc. in Toms River. The site recently doubled in size, staff and client list thanks to a renovation financed in part by a $35,000 UCEDC microloan.
“I first went to my local bank, but I didn’t qualify for a small business loan because I was in business less than two years,” King said. “Then I came across UCEDC, and they said, ‘Hmm, maybe we can find a way.’ It was very refreshing.”
Loan Outreach Coordinator Paula Star visited the Route 37 center and discussed options with King, who wound up adding 1,300 square feet of space. “She was very helpful throughout the process,” King said. “It was a five-star experience all the way!”
A Microloan leads to a major boost in business
The loan means no more turning away patients because there isn’t enough room, equipment or professionals to accommodate them.
“Many of our patients had been to other physical therapists and they saw the difference here, how we really care and really try to help them,” King said. “So they recommended us to their friends and family, and we grew quickly. It was getting very crowded so we HAD to expand.”
King had already drained her retirement savings to launch the business in June 2009, and she and her husband put in another sizable amount toward the renovation. The UCEDC microloan covered working capital, such as salaries and expenses, for the expanded facility that opened in July 2011.
“We are very happy with the expansion,” King said. “Now when a new patient comes, they are not restricted. It’s a nice open space with a lot of equipment. They feel encouraged to come. And we are proud to show it off when doctors visit.”
King manages a team of physical therapists, assistants, technicians and office staff. Her husband, an IT and web development professional, helps with the business website, technology troubleshooting and marketing materials.
King had long dreamed of being a doctor, but her parents could not afford medical school for their daughter, the third of six children. “Instead I became a physical therapist, and I don’t regret it all,” she said. “I love what I do. It’s always been my passion to help, especially to help people heal from physical conditions. It is why I am here.”