Founders : Move to Cincinnati

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Mary Beth Knight, Get Your Back on Track

How did you come up the idea for your business?
For the last two years, I have worked with many people suffering from back pain, some for a short time, others for years, even decades. Over time, I realized that many of these clients’ pain was coming from, or made worse by, some of the same tight, weak and aggravated muscles. Once the proper muscle length and strength were restored in the body, the pain ceased altogether.

I was so thrilled that the steps to recovery worked that I couldn’t wait to share the program with everyone in pain. Because there are only so many hours in a day, I decided to create a program that could be done at home to alleviate back pain and prevent recurrence. The Get Your Back on Track program began in February 2012 and launched in April 2012.  

What resources here did you take advantage of and how did they help?
I am very lucky that Dr. John Tew of the Mayfield Clinic trusted me with his patients for whom surgery wasn’t an option. He knows the importance of flexibility, mobility and core strength, and sent me a number of his clients whose lives were defined by back pain.

Dr. Tew encouraged me to study, learn and implement a program for low backs. Without his trust and encouragement, I never would’ve taken this professional leap. He also encouraged me to create an at-home program because he had more patients to send, but my schedule was full.  

I have some amazing success stories, such as a client who couldn’t play golf for a decade due to back pain who now plays 18 holes, no problem. I have a lovely 83-year-old client whose back hurt so badly that she hadn’t slept through the night in 5 years; and now she does! The smiles I see -- and the tears of joy and gratitude from my clients who now can live life without restriction and the weight of pain -- are phenomenal! I’m thankful to have worked with them.

What inspires you?    
My clients inspire me. I cannot stand it when someone is in pain or is unable to travel, play sports, exercise or play with their kids or grandkids because of pain or other physical problems. When they come to me unable to live the life they intended, I feel it’s my duty to return them to a place of strength, balance and happiness.

I had back problems years ago, including sciatica and a back injury from a car accident I was in.  I was in a body that worked against me, but someone taught me how to make it work for me, and now that is my job, which I love! This is the gift that I was given, it’s my mission to pass it on.  I am inspired by people’s willingness, trust, hope and success!

What’s next for you and your company?
The Get Your Back on Track program needs exposure. That is our next step. I am thrilled with the opportunity to be in SkyMall magazine October through December, and I am thinking through and researching avenues such as the Home Shopping Network and perhaps even an infomercial.

Interview by Robin Donovan

Questions with Mary Beth Knight, Get Your Back on Track

Company:

James Fisher of Roadtrippers

How did you start your business?
We worked on some mockups of our product, a tablet-friendly website, and found a technical co-founder to create a prototype, then searched for accelerator programs around the country to give us a boost to start-up. Eventually, The Brandery pulled us here and Over-the-Rhine made us stay. 

How did you come up the idea for your business?
My co-founder (and fiancée) Tatiana and I spent a lot of time road-tripping around America over the past few years, but were frustrated with the fragmented tools for discovering interesting and independent places to visit. We noticed a huge gap in the market for a platform that sits the center of road travel planning.

What resources here did you take advantage of and how did they help?
No doubt The Brandery has been the single biggest resource for us. We also have a great relationship with the folks at Cincytech, Taft Law and many other, great forward-thinking firms here in town. We have benefited from funding, legal help, introductions and a great workspace.

What does a typical day in your business look like?
Every day we meet The Brandery in Over-the-Rhine, and work primarily on product development and building relationships with partners, curators and users. We tend to work late, so 4 p.m. is beer o’clock, then we work right into the evening.

What’s next for you and your company?
Roadtrippers is live at the moment, but we don’t bring too many users in at once; we’re still testing betas on batches of users. We plan to close our seed round, increase partnerships with state tourism departments nationwide and create some buzz around our upcoming launch.

Interview by Robin Donovan

Questions with James Fisher of Roadtrippers

Company:
Roadtrippers

Megan Gourlie of Dogtown Cincinnati

How did you start your business?
I started Dogtown Cincinnati with an idea and hard work. After writing a solid business plan and finding the best location possible, I worked with the city to maximize the use of our proposed site and convinced Huntington Bank to fund our startup with a loan. There was a long construction process, but in the end we opened with a strong start and are thriving.  

How did you come up the idea for your business?
Dogtown Cincinnati is a pet care business that caters to exactly what I needed before I opened it. I had struggled to find a place to take my dogs that was centrally located, had flexible hours and would actually make me feel comfortable about leaving my dog there. The concept I had was built to address the specific needs of who I was. I was sure that other people had similar needs and desires for pet care, so I did some early research to confirm that.

What resources here did you take advantage of and how did they help?
I worked with the local SCORE chapter (SCORE is the Service Corps of Retired Executives), which specializes in helping small businesses start up and succeed. In March 2012, I was named the SCORE featured client of the month. My SCORE counselor is C. Dennis Murphy.

Now that Dogtown Cincinnati has been open for a year, we are in need of expansion. I applied to be a Bad Girl Ventures finalist and am currently attending their classes which are geared toward teaching women the ins and outs of business by recruiting professionals in different fields to provide education on different topics.

In addition, Huntington Bank believed in my business plan. They decided to fund my startup company through the federal SBA loan program which supports small businesses.

What does a typical day in your business look like?
Between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m., our lobby is busy with drop offs. You’ll see on our valet camera – we have 15 webcams online -- that some of our customers pull up in front and don’t even need to get out of their cars because we come out to them and bring their dogs inside. Throughout the day, the dogs go from our inside daycare playroom to our outdoor playground at regular intervals and are pulled out of daycare for their meal times. They play with toys, on our playground equipment, and with each other.  

From 1 p.m. – 3 p.m., the dogs go to nap time in our bedroom-like boarding rooms and sleep while we clean the other areas of the facility. In the evening, starting around 5 p.m., it gets busy in the lobby again with pick-ups. Customers can resupply with dog food, toys and treats in our small shop before they go home for the night with their well-exercised dog.  

The dogs who are with us in the evening, or who are staying overnight, go to the boarding rooms to sleep and watch TV around 9 p.m. At this point, they are very tired and sleep like a charm!

What’s next for you and your company?
Dogtown Cincinnati is very successful. We have a building that is 1/3 finished, and our first goal is to expand our daycare within the building. Eventually, we also dream of turning our addition space into a 24-hour emergency veterinarian with its own entrance from the street. This part of the business will have all of the same ideals as our current business, but will offer the expanded services of pet health care. Once Dogtown Cincinnati is at full capacity, we will look at other ways to expand, such as additional locations in the suburbs and in nearby cities.  

Interview by Robin Donovan

Questions with Megan Gourlie of Dogtown Cincinnati

Company:

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