The Guinn Clinic, El Dorado
The Guinn Clinic Fills Need in South Arkansas
Candance “Candy” Guinn of El Dorado felt called into nursing from a young age. Now a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Guinn’s health care career is entering a new stage as she opens her own clinic.
The need for mental health services in her hometown led her to start The Guinn Clinic, an outpatient psychiatric practice.
Guinn saw her first patient on Nov. 22, 2019, while the clinic was still being renovated. The grand opening and ribbon cutting were held on Dec 4.
Following Her Passion
Guinn received her technical certificate in nursing in 1997. She went on to receive associate and bachelor’s degrees in nursing from Southern Arkansas University. Most recently, she earned her Master of Science in Nursing with psychiatric-mental health emphasis from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2019.
Many of her nursing rotations brought her into contact with patients suffering from mood disorders, depression, schizophrenia, substance abuse, and more.
Throughout her career, she developed a passion for patient advocacy. She longed to open her own clinic to help meet the psychiatric/mental health provider shortage in South Arkansas. According to Guinn, many people drive long distances to seek care or are not receiving care at all due to the limited services available.
Guinn was referred to SAU’s Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center by Carl Sivils of Southern Bancorp in El Dorado. She sought assistance with her business plan and financial projections.
‘Invaluable Service, Exceptional People’
“Invaluable service provided by exceptional people,” Guinn said of the SAU center.
“My career background and expertise are clinical, not business. Business planning, knowledge about financial goals, and understanding the reality about those goals is so important to the success of the business. ASBTDC offers this free service of helping people just like me,” she said.
Working with the center was convenient for Guinn. “Resources are available online and in-person. Communication is easy (by) email, text, face-to-face.”
Goals and Challenges
Guinn has several immediate goals for the clinic. She will seek Medication Assisted Treatment grant approval to help pay for services provided to patients who have an opioid addiction. She also plans to complete the Master Psychopharmacology Program through Neuroscience Education Institute.
As her practice grows, she expects to hire additional staff.
Owning a business involves more than she could have imagined, Guinn said. For starters, she mentions compliance with state, local and federal laws, written policies and guidelines, insurance credentialing, human resource duties, and how to effectively manage her time.
Guinn knows she is not alone and appreciates everyone who has been a part of the journey, including her husband, Andy Guinn; her CPA, Crystal Willis; Sivils; and ASBTDC.
“ASBTDC helped me through an extremely challenging and stressful time of putting together our business plan. I felt and continue to feel supported and know that I can contact Kristen (Cribb) at any time – no matter the question or concern,” she said. “I have complete faith that no matter what business challenges lie ahead, we will be able to figure it out together.”
Elite Fitness Club, Magnolia
Market Research Helps May Determine Fitness Center Location
Nick May, an avid exercise enthusiast, had a vision to build a fitness facility boasting the latest workout equipment and techniques. When he learned about the research ASBTDC had available, he reached out to Janell Morton of the Southern Arkansas University office.
With a couple of communities in mind, May needed assistance in choosing a location for his business. The ASBTDC was ready with the information that he was looking for.
May became acquainted with the center when he and his father attended a Small Business Administration outreach event at Ouachita Partners for Economic Development in Camden. The Mays are long-time entrepreneurs with many years of successful business ventures behind them.
Having attended SAU, May was at home meeting with Morton on campus.
After visiting with May about his plans, Morton compiled demographic reports, traffic counts, and marketplace and industry profiles for the locations that May was considering. Neriah Brown, ASBTDC graduate assistant, took the data and prepared a companion analysis that summarized and explained the research findings.
The research from ASBTDC showed May his market potential, such as the likelihood that consumers in the areas he was considering would exercise at a club two or more times a week. Using the information provided, May decided to pursue a location in Magnolia.
“Janell and her team helped solidify my decision with their insight and market research. The market research gave me the reassurance I needed to make my dream become a reality,” said May.
May opened Elite Fitness Club, LLC on Feb. 11, 2019.
He worked with a local lending institution to obtain the financing needed to renovate the building, located at 1517-C E. Main St. in Magnolia. New rooms were constructed, including a tanning room and a dedicated live/virtual classroom. May also introduced new technology to the market by installing a far-infrared sauna room.
Whittney’s Beauty Bar, El Dorado
El Dorado Entrepreneurs Use Success to Inspire Others
“No matter how successful you are, you have to give back. Remember what you reap is what you sow, so always plant good seeds,” say Markeith and Whittney Cook, owners of Whittney’s Beauty Bar.
The Cooks opened their thriving hair salon in 2017 in El Dorado. They started the business with goals beyond making a living.
Making the Vision a Reality
Business ownership was very important to the Cook family. “We have five daughters, and it was important for us that they see their mother owning and running her own business in hopes that it would inspire them,” said Markeith.
The Cooks were referred to the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center at Southern Arkansas University by friend and mentor Greg Modica. Modica is a local small business owner who had previously worked with the ASBTDC. A lender also recommended contacting the center.
From this word-of-mouth referral, the center guided the Cooks through the process of creating their business plan and securing funding to start the business. The couple drew on ASBTDC’s experience working with banks and other financial institutions, positioning them well to go after funding.
The Making of Success
After securing an SBA Express loan, the Cooks followed the business plan to launch the business.
Markeith supported Whittney, the creative genius, in the development of the business. For the first five months, Whittney was a one-woman show. Today, the business has five additional stylists and is at capacity.
The first addition to the team was a braider. A barber comes from Little Rock and works in the shop on weekends. The salon also has a makeup artist who assists with weekends and special events.
Whittney’s Beauty Bar did not hesitate to join the El Dorado-Union County Chamber of Commerce, and Markeith is currently serving on the chamber board of directors.
But the Cooks did not stop there. They “pay it forward” with community service. Last month, for example, Whittney hosted a group of girls from the Boys and Girls Club of El Dorado at the salon.
“We are very involved in our community,” says Markeith, who recently organized a non-profit called the Coalition of Black Professionals. “We volunteer our time to worthy causes, and we also create business friendly events that we feel can be beneficial to small businesses.”
The group recently hosted a Small Business Summit in El Dorado and invited David Moody of the Small Business Administration district office and Janell Morton, center director for the Southern Arkansas University ASBTDC, to speak.
Markeith believes in the value of the SAU ASBTDC and shares information about the center every chance that he gets, often in the same way that he first heard about it – by word of mouth.
“This is a free resource that can help you develop your business from A-Z. They are very professional and helpful to their clients,” he said.
Photo courtesy of Whittney and Markeith Cook
Mr. Long worked with Southern Arkansas University ASBTDC Center Director Megan Whitehead on his business plan, projections, and overall planning of the business. Whitehead was able to point out areas that management should focus on and helped them with putting together a complete proposal. The ASBTDC was also able to provide market research that supported the idea that there was a demand for another aluminum boat manufacturer. Capitalizing on the popularity of duck hunting and the demand for a high performance duck boat, Havoc Boats was born. The initial boats were designed specifically for today’s avid duck hunter.
With over 28 full-time employees, the business has grown quickly over the past few years and now has additional boats available for other outdoors-men. The fleet now includes several duck boat models, a bass boat, crappie boat, and a versatile adventure series boat. Mr. Long has continued to work with Whitehead as the business has grown. Mr. Long’s son, Jim Long, has recently taken over as CEO of Bill’s Marine and Havoc Boats.
Long said, “Without Megan’s help the company would have been a lot slower getting up and running. She was a great help and I would recommend her to anyone starting a new business.”
Woody and Brenda Gatewood, owners of Genesis Childcare Center in El Dorado, first began working with the Southern Arkansas University ASBTDC in July of 2015. They were referred by their local lender, as they were interested in obtaining financing to purchase the building they had been leasing for five years. Genesis opened in April of 2011, and normally averages between 55-60 children at the facility.
SAU ASBTDC Center Director Megan Whitehead worked with them on analyzing their historical financials and gave recommendations on areas where they could potentially improve the bottom line. The Gatewoods worked with Whitehead to formulate three year projections and assumptions for the business, and it made sense for them to continue to pursue financing for the building purchase. Some of the things they were able to plan for included: increasing tuition to help cover the increases in minimum wage for 2016 and 2017 and tightening oversight of employees to ensure they were only paying for the help that they need.
Market research tools were utilized to compare their financials to others within the industry. Their findings were considered as future plans were made.
With the loan proposal prepared, the Gatewoods were able to apply for financing with the lending organization FORGE. Charlie Stockton, FORGE Executive Director, visited El Dorado to meet the Gatewoods in person and tour their facility. He was very impressed with the operation and the FORGE board of trustees approved the loan to purchase the building at 308 ½ Cordell Avenue in late 2015. “When Megan referred us to FORGE we really had no hope that it would work out, but they were such a blessing to us,” said Woody.
“We had completely given up until our local banker referred us to the ASBTDC,” said the Gatewoods.
Watson Opens Spa on Magnolia Square
No stranger to Magnolia, Christy Watson recently made a home on the Magnolia Square for her new salon and spa.
Bella Magnolia opened on October 28, 2017, and offers a wide variety of services, including hair styling, massage, skin care, and yoga classes.
Watson, a massage therapist, has been a resident of Magnolia for several years and loves the feel of the town. She had never owned her own business, instead working from the MRMC LifeSmart Center for several years. She knew she wanted her salon on the Square not only because it is a thriving area, but also because it is an integral part of the city.
Watson started working with her local Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center at Southern Arkansas University in May of 2017. She had a goal to be open by the end of the year.
The center was able to guide Watson through her business plan, assist in financial projections, and help with budgeting for the business.
“The ASBTDC made a huge difference in assisting me to focus on the business plan. I had ideas, but I wasn’t sure how to focus, and the ASBTDC was able to guide me in the right direction. Anything is possible when you align yourself with the right people, and if you dream it, you can make it happen. With the right people behind you and guiding you, you can make anything happen,” said Watson.
Along with a relaxing space for Watson to give massages, Bella Magnolia has booths for four hairstylists, a studio for a yoga instructor, and an office for a licensed esthetician.
She wants Bella Magnolia to be a place for people in and around the community to relax without worrying about the daily stresses of life.
Watson also partnered with another ASBTDC client, Artesana Soaps, to offer locally made quality bath and beauty products.
Bella Magnolia is located at 104 South Washington in Magnolia and can be reached at (870) 904-7128 or through its Facebook page, Bella Magnolia Salon & Spa.