Greg and Jeannett Penner followed a dream of working together in a business enterprise. Each had experience in both business and the medical field. Jeannett holds a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree (DPT). After looking at several options in which to team up, they founded Capstone Physical Therapy in Lynden three years ago.
“The idea of growing a business together where we could both use our individual talents and passions was appealing,” Greg Penner said. And already they’ve grown sixfold in locations and lived the dream. Their other four facilities are in Ferndale, Lynden, and Blaine.
Capstone, offering across-the-board therapeutic services, evolved dramatically from that single Lynden-based clinic offering physical therapy into five Whatcom County locations providing a variety of therapeutic services. Greg Penner, the CEO, reported that the company grossed close to $2 million in 2015, and now employs 29 full-time employees, 8 part-time employees, and 3 contract workers.
Their customer base has risen remarkably from 2,305 patient visits in their startup year to 27,085 last year. Greg Penner said they project a 20 percent continued increase this year. The growth continues with Capstone’s newest location coming soon – a 10,000-square-foot facility on Sequoia Drive in Bellingham.
“Our mission is to provide the best patient care and customer service available, with a commitment to both culture and community,” Greg Penner said.
Therapists and administration staff created the Capstone Physical Therapy culture in which the team is valued jointly, and team members value each other. Commitment to community service comes from staff who live in Whatcom County and from giving back through local events, projects, and organizations.
A privately- and locally-owned business starting up on the owners’ seed funding, the Penners planned to develop an effective working model and expand around the county to offer patients easier access to services. Capstone has fulfilled that model.
Services range widely: treatment of sports injuries, post-surgical rehab, orthopedics, hand therapy, custom splints, custom orthotics, womens’ health, a balance program, work conditioning, and work hardening. All of the therapists commit to obtaining a board-certified specialty and to ongoing continued education and training. “We believe our patients must receive not only the best medical care, but also the best customer service,” Greg Penner said.
Last year Capstone Physical Therapy opened its fifth location at Barkley Village in Bellingham. The company is warming up its muscles for the next challenges. This month the Capstone Return to Work and the Capstone Kids (pediatric nonprofit) clinics open at the new Sequoia Drive location.
Greg Penner said the Return to Work clinic is the first of its kind in Whatcom County with a mission of helping injured workers through work conditioning, work hardening, functional capacity evaluations, and pre-employment assessments. He said that model offers a dual advantage of helping injured workers get back to work quicker and lowering employers’ labor and industries (L&I) compensation costs.
Penner seeks out community partners to help sponsor youths with disabilities and impairments. “We’re really hoping the pediatric clinic will be supported by the community,” he said. “The need is bigger than one company can do.”
On the horizon the Penners foresee expanding with Capstone Physical Therapy clinics in other counties in Washington, and eventually to other states.
Story by Mary Louise Van Dyke