Wednesday, August 6, 2014 || By Michael Romain
Veteran chiropractor Darron Coleman, DC, couldn’t have predicted twenty years ago that he would be running his own practice. Twenty years later, however, he probably can’t imagine that not being the case. For Dr. Coleman, the owner of Coleman Chiropractic Sports Care, at 110 S. 5th Avenue in Maywood, the road to self-sufficiency and autonomy wasn’t easy. It took working in a rough spot for a number of years as an associate at a firm in Downers Grove before stepping out onto his own. In a recent interview, Dr. Coleman recounted his path to entrepreneurship and opened up about how his business has confronted present challenges.
How long have you been in the practice and how long have you been here in Maywood?
I’ve been in this office on 5th Avenue since 2000. Before then, I was in Melrose Park from. I was there from January 1998 until September 2000. Prior to that, I was an associate chiropractor in Downers Grove at Downers Grove Sports Medicine from 1995 to 1998. So, I’ve been practicing for 20 years. I graduated from the National College of Chiropractic in 1994.
What prompted you to start your own business?
I wasn’t happy at Downers Grove anymore and felt I wasn’t going to grow much more than just being an associate at that office. I decided to venture out. It was rough in the beginning, but I’m doing well now
What are some of the challenges you’ve confronted as a small business owner?
I didn’t know this area [Proviso Township]. I got to Melrose Park after I left Downers, because I saw an advertisement at the National University of Health Sciences. Inside their alumni center were these ads for doctors who wanted to buy or join a practice. There was an ad there asking for an associate chiropractor. The owner of the practice called me in and when I went to interview with him, he said he was looking for someone to take over his practice. We arranged how we could do it. I bought a portion of the practice–and the rest is history. I’ve since bought him out.
Who are your typical patients?
Right now, it’s mostly a split between just general and athletic patients. I actually don’t have a lot of athletes here believe it or not. Mostly my patients are people with general aches and pains–A lot of injuries associated with overuse or auto accidents.
Do you live in Maywood?
No, I live in Glendale Heights.
What exactly do chiropractors do, for those of us who may not be familiar with your profession?
Chiropractors primarily treat the musculoskeletal aspects of the body. We treat anything from sprains to fractures and dislocations, although the more complicated injuries we refer out to orthopedic physicians. We can do anything that a medical doctor can do administer minus drugs and perform surgery. We can order any test and refer out to other doctors.
Chiropractic is about structure and function, primarily of the spine. If your structure is off, that will affect other areas of your body. For instance, people who tend to have upper back curvatures–their heads jut out and stress is placed on the nerves. So we service the body’s structure and function. We can help folks get out of pain by doing an evaluation as to what’s going on. And once we evaluate, we can try getting to the root cause of the problem, as opposed to putting a band-aid on it.
What made you want to become a chiropractor?
I’ve always been interested in health and improving yourself physically, because your physical health extends over into other areas of your life. My high school football coach got the ball rolling. He showed some interest in me as a freshman in high school and that further piqued my interest in healthcare. He was a body builder. Outside of that, just having that interest in health and health sciences really got me going.
What information did you feel that you lacked as a burgeoning entrepreneur? And if you could do it over again, what kind of business information would you want at your fingertips?
Mostly investment information. For years, I didn’t know how to allocate funds and things of that sorts. For example, I didn’t know the difference between an operating budgets and working capital. I really didn’t get a good handle on that. I was on the board of an organization in Glen Ellyn and we regularly went over financial reports. It was by engaging that way that I learned the business aspects. Coming out of school, you don’t have accounting or financial training. It’s all about healthcare and taking care of the patients or whatever. You don’t get the business side of it. I have a good friend who I went to school with who has a really good business mind and he was helpful there, too. But really, it was all about learning from trial and error for me.
What does your competition in Maywood look like? I don’t know of many other chiropractors in town, or of many in the surrounding communities either for that matter.
In Maywood, I don’t believe there are any other chiropractors. There are some in Oak Park, River Forest, Melrose Park. There used to be two down the street from here, but one is out of business and the other guy retired. They were on 5th and Quincy. Actually, a lot of my patients come from Bellwood and other surrounding areas. This summer, business has been pretty busy.
It what ways will the Affordable Care Act affect your business, if it hasn’t already?
I think it will improve my business from the standpoint of people having more access to healthcare. People might be under-insured, but we can work with that. Once an individual has health insurance, they’re less likely to put off visits. That will generate more business here.
Are you a member of the Chamber of Commerce?
Not yet, but I will be. I’m planning on joining soon. VFP
Coleman Chiropractic Sports Care is located at 110 S. 5th Avenue in Maywood. For more information, click here.