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Chiropractic practice evolves into a family operation

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Chiropractic practice evolves into a family operation

'I realized I had a unique opportunity and how foolish I would be to pass it up'
Chiropractic practice evolves into a family operation
Dr. Matt Smith (from left), daughter Dr. Kevy Smith and wife Joanie Smith outside their chiropractic office in Saratoga Springs.
Photographer: Erica Miller

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Patients walking into Smith Chiropractic in Saratoga Springs are often greeted by Dr. Kevy Smith's Goldendoodle, Woody. 

Smith joined her father Dr. Matt Smith's practice last year after graduating from his alma mater, Palmer College of Chiropractic West in San Jose, California. 

The more than 30-year-old practice has turned into a family business as mother Joanie also works as the office manager. 

Q: Why decide to launch your business in Saratoga Springs?

Matt: I grew up in Glens Falls and didn't want to start it in my hometown. Saratoga Springs was just starting to pick up, so we rode through to take a look. As soon as we came by this building, there was a sign out front that said "Office for Rent." We stopped in and within 10 minutes we rented it. One year later, we bought the building and we've been here ever since.

Q: Joanie and Kevy, why decide to join the practice?

Kevy: It was a tough, long decision when I first decided to pursue the same career. At first, I said I wouldn't join the practice, but after hearing how difficult it was to start your own practice, I realized I had a unique opportunity and how foolish I would be to pass it up.

Joanie: When it first opened, I thought I'd help him until things got going, but I love it. We see people from all walks of life that I wouldn't otherwise have the chance to meet. Also, it's fun to view Kevy as a professional instead of just my daughter.

Q: What's it like working together as a family?

Matt: It's rewarding and we all have our own jobs.

Joanie: It's gone extremely smoothly. They have similar practices, but different techniques and personalities. We work together and manage our own things. They each have separate clients and I have separate duties.

KS: It was definitely a learning experience at first to get past the urge to fight the natural rebellious-daughter response when one of them asked me to do something. I had to navigate the father-daughter relationship and co-worker relationship. We leave work stuff at work and don't take it home with us. Once we figured out how to draw the line, it helped a lot to separate the relationships.

Q: How has your practice evolved since you first started?

Matt: Health care in general has gotten more complicated, especially with the opioid epidemic. Within the last year, medical doctors are looking for alternative options. I had a patient tell me that their doctor told them they didn't care how much pain they were in, that they wouldn't prescribe them pain medicine. We're a natural alternative to pain medication, so I think our practice will continue to do better and better in the future. 

Q: What are your plans for the practice moving forward?

Matt: I'd like to think I have another 10 years in me. I love what I do and I love coming to work every day. Interacting with patients and seeing them get better is the best part. When we see patients, oftentimes we're their last resort and they've exhausted the medical route, so it's rewarding to offer them answers.

Kevy: As I've gotten into it, the more I see myself being here for the long-term. I was reluctant to give in at the beginning, but now that I'm here, it's a good fit. 

Q: What kind of legacy do you hope to leave with your business?

Matt: That we helped as many people as we were able to in the time that we were here with honesty and integrity. I hope Kevy continues to have fun every day and wants to keep going to work every day like I do. 

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