Chiropractor, massage clinics combine to better serve patients
Owner of Richland practice says move could mean future expansion
Owner Matt Lucas was running out of room for his massage therapists at Chiropractic Care of Tri-Cities in Richland.
His business’ neighbor, Mark Whitten, also was struggling with a problem. He ran Riverside Therapeutic Massage, but wanted to spend more time helping his wife, Leticia, with her restaurant, Miss Tamale, in the Richland Parkway.
The two businesses shared a lobby in the same building at 604 Williams Blvd.
The two business owners found solutions to their problems in one another. Whitten sold his massage clinic to Lucas, which meant Lucas would have more room to expand.
“It worked out perfectly. We were able to just exchange keys,” Lucas said. “Mark was happy that we would be keeping all of his employees. His biggest concern was that his therapists would not lose their jobs.”
“We’ve hired two more massage therapists, kept their three massage therapists, and we already had three massage therapists of our own,” said Lucas, who was born and raised in Richland.
Lucas said before closing the Nov. 1 deal, Chiropractic Care of Tri-Cities was only able to cover a third of the demand for massage therapists.
“So we sent a lot of business their way,” Lucas said. “We had a symbiotic relationship with them.”
Lucas earned a biology degree from Washington State University in 2006, then earned his doctor of chiropractic degree in 2009 from the University of Western States in Portland.
He then worked side by side at Chiropractic Care with then-owner Dr. Gregory Oberg.
In 2016, he bought Chiropractic Care from Oberg.
The longtime chiropractor retired January 2019 after practicing for 45 years.
“When (Oberg) retired, almost all of his patients came on with us,” Lucas said. “We really do no advertising. Almost exclusively, it’s all word of mouth. There has been very little attrition with patients.”
Lucas said Chiropractic Care “accepts every patient that we possibly can.” That includes many of the state’s public school employees, who transitioned to a new statewide health insurance program in 2020.
Being able to offer more patients massage therapy was a critical piece to growing the business, Lucas said.
“The whole point of having massage here is to help people recover from car accidents, sports injury rehabilitation and other things,” he said. “A lot of our business is trauma massage and some sports rehab massage. So it’s kind of a combination of those two.”
Before the business expanded, it didn’t have enough room to see all the patients who needed care and the wait was too long before the next available appointment.
Lucas said in addition to the eight massage therapists on staff—they’re actually looking for one or two more—he hired a clinic manager, full-time chiropractor and a second chiropractor who works as an independent contractor.
Someday, Lucas may have to expand the clinic to another building, or have a new one built.
“Our focus this past year was trying to modernize the building bit by bit, and making sure my massage therapists have what they needed,” he said. “In 2020, our agenda is to improve our online presence.” And also to maintain the quality of care to their clientele, he said.
Chiropractic Care of Tri-Cities: 604 Williams Blvd., Richland. Contact: 509-946-0631; chirocaretc.com.