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.
Teachers Support Teachers, Texarkana
Harris Creates Benefit Corporation to Support Arkansas Teachers
Juanita Harris from Texarkana, Ark., has taught kindergarten for 11 years. Over her career, she felt that educators were overworked, underpaid, overloaded, undervalued, overwhelmed, and underappreciated.
Harris decided to start a benefit corporation called Teachers Support Teachers in 2019 to encourage teachers. The mission of TST is “Encouraging the Hearts that Shape the Mind.”
When she started on the path to small business ownership, a benefit corporation was a foreign concept.
With only a handful of B Corps in the state of Arkansas, Harris turned to her local Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center for guidance.
Kristen Cribb of the Southern Arkansas University ASBTDC began to provide educational material for Harris, who received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SAU.
The B Corps model fit her plans.
Benefit corporations have a unique purpose that differs from traditional corporations. While traditional corporations have a single duty to maximize profit, benefit corporations have the increased purpose of considering society and the environment in addition to seeking a profit.
Harris says the assistance of the ASBTDC was an invaluable asset to her.
“I was blessed to have someone with me from conceptualization to reality. The services they provide for free are worth hundreds of dollars per hour, if not more,” she said.
Harris attended the center’s Summer Startup Series of workshops in Camden before starting her business.
“Because of the sessions in Camden, I gained valuable information about taxes and how to do business. I am a better and more informed business owner because God blessed me to connect with the ASBTDC.”
Harris’ venture is steadily gaining momentum.
Teachers Support Teachers registered with the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office on June 27, 2019. Because Texarkana sits in two states, there are two mayors and both signed a proclamation naming Dec. 8, 2019, the first official Teachers Support Teachers Day. TST launched a social media campaign on May 5, 2020, Teacher Appreciation Day, asking people to tag a teacher, thank a teacher, and pay for a teacher’s meal at the event the following month.
On June 27, 2020, a year after the business launched, the official celebration occurred. The business partnered with Southern Smoke BBQ and fed almost 100 educators at no cost to them. Texarkana got behind TST’s efforts in a major way, and the event was successful and complete with an incredible team of volunteers, balloons, music, and beautiful summer weather.
Teachers Support Teachers just hosted a gala on March 6, 2021.
Harris says the business lives out its mission by providing one opportunity per month for self-care for teachers and anyone working in a Pre-K to 12th grade setting who spends at least 85% of the instructional day with students.
One of her long-term goals is to increase teacher retention. She is also working on partnerships with local and state entities that will allow TST to reach at least 3,000 of the educators in Texarkana.
Harris also hopes to obtain a national trademark for Teachers Support Teachers.
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.”
Hicks Realizes Business Ownership Dream
A national study found that 62% of millennials have a business in mind that they would like to start.
In small-town Prescott, one millennial took what was once just a job and turned it into her own business.
Krystin “KD” Hicks owns a dog grooming service called Barks and Bubbles. Her mission is to provide excellent service and quality care in a fun, clean, enjoyable atmosphere for patrons and their pets.
The opportunity to start Barks and Bubbles came about when the pet service business where KD was working closed. Hicks decided to purchase the previous owner’s equipment and go out on her own.
Seeking help, she contacted Mary Godwin with the Prescott/Nevada County Economic and Community Development Office. Godwin connected her with the Southern Arkansas University ASBTDC.
After visiting with KD about her plans, the center’s Janell Morton compiled demographic reports, traffic counts, and marketplace and industry profiles for the locations that Hicks was considering.
Morton also worked with her to put together a business plan and financial projections for a grooming service. With this information, KD was able to assess the viability of her business idea and secure financing.
KD’s dream of owning her own business became a reality on July 6, 2020, when she opened Barks and Bubbles to the public.
“The ASBTDC gave me the small business resources and support that I needed to move forward with my new business,” said Hicks.
Barks and Bubbles offers a variety of dog grooming services to customers in the Prescott area.
Entrepreneurship Major Puts Lessons Into Practice
While learning about business at Southern Arkansas University, Jaci Tucker decided to start a business.
The Crossett native graduated from SAU in April 2021 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in entrepreneurship.
Capped by the Guided Senior Experience for Entrepreneurs course, the Rankin College of Business entrepreneurship degree provides students with the foundational knowledge they need to create, market, and fund new businesses and products.
“When we were designing the entrepreneurship major, one of the things I thought it needed was a practical applications class that would give them a chance to pull everything together into a final project or a set of guided experiences,” said Dr. Tim Wise, associate professor of management.
The Guided Senior Experience takes students through building an online business or crafting a detailed business plan for a future business. Students work under the supervision of Wise and Janell Morton, SAU’s Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center director.
“The ASBTDC has either provided cases for us or, as in Jaci’s case, led students through the same experience businesspeople in the community receive as ASBTDC clients. I’m thrilled to have them available,” said Wise.
Pouring Her Heart Into the Business
Tucker wanted to build a business around her passion for art and colorful self-expression.
She began experimenting with resin and acrylic pouring techniques, and Hippie Drip was born. The Hippie Drip online store currently offers pour paintings, home décor, coaster sets, vases, serving trays, and more.
Tucker worked with the ASBTDC to register her new business with the Arkansas Secretary of State as a limited liability company. The ASBTDC also provided her with general business guidance, business plan assistance, and help developing marketing materials. Tucker has also attended virtual ASBTDC training events.
“Working with Dr. Wise and Janell made starting my small business so much easier and more enjoyable,” she said. “I really don’t think I could have done it without them! They both guided me every step of the way and encouraged me when I was feeling doubtful. I learned so much valuable information and was so blessed to have had the opportunity to work with them.”
In the future, Tucker wants to offer art classes that will provide a therapeutic outlet for people to explore emotions, develop self-awareness, cope with stress, boost self-esteem, and build social skills.
“Art is therapy, and I strive to share my experience in hopes of inspiring others to let their creativity flow,” says Tucker.