Wellness is a big part of our community. When we feel better, we live better. A great source to serve the wellness our community is Stumptown Chiropractic.
I was able to sit down recently with Dr. Melissa Bartoszewski, affectionately known as Dr. B, for a chat about her business. Here’s an excerpt of our conversation.
Q: Tell me a little bit about your business.
A: I opened this practice in 2013 and love being in the St. Johns neighborhood. I moved here from Texas where I previously had a practice. I also practiced in North Carolina for a year before that. I have a general wellness practice, and specialize in NeuroKinetic Therapy. I also work with athletes at some local gyms in the area. I’m really here for St. Johns residents so they can walk into to my office and get the care that they need here in the neighborhood, without having to travel.
Q: Why did you become a chiropractor?
A: I knew since 2nd grade that I wanted to be a doctor but, just wasn’t sure what type of doctor. I was always fascinated with science and anatomy. In undergraduate school I was exploring different avenues like dental school, med school and PA school. I really liked the idea of chiropractic helping people without the use of drugs or surgery. I never liked taking medications growing up and decided to learn more about it. I talked to some current student that were in chiropractic school and decided that it was the right place for me.
Q: What kind of help do you give people with their backs?
A: The main thing with chiropractic is that your back gets adjusted. When you hear a pop sound, it is gas being released from the joints. It’s not cracking bones like some people think. That adjustment helps put motion back into the spine. Old injuries, poor posture, desk jobs and repetitive motions can cause your spine to stop moving properly and get out of alignment. The adjustment puts that motion back into the spine. The nerves, muscles and joints all work together, so if the joints are not moving properly they can irritate the nerves in the area and cause muscle spasms. The goal is to put motion back into those joints and get people moving well again. Chiropractic also helps with disc injuries (bulges, herniations), numbness/tingling, headaches, knee/elbow/ankle pain. Chiropractors don’t just work on backs.
Q: What is NeuroKinetic Therapy?
A: The brain will create dysfunctional movement patterns from old injuries. Maybe it’s something you might have done as a kid or from past surgeries and scars. NeuroKinetic Therapy helps find what muscles or movements aren’t working properly. It finds the muscle or movement pattern that’s over working in your body. You might think your back is always hurt, but maybe the problem is from something in your hip or due to sitting all day, and certain muscles getting turned “off”, so to speak. Sometimes your glutes aren’t working so something else will pick up the slack and eventually you’ll have pain somewhere else. The NeuroKinetic therapy technique helps to “reset” these patterns and actually correct them instead of just working on the area that hurts. It helps to correct the dysfunction, allows your body to move properly and not have these issues come up time and time again.
Q: What made you open your own business?
A: I worked for a practice, as an associate, right out of school and just saw many, many patients daily. I got burnt out quickly. I like the freedom of being able to practice how I want, set my own hours and do my own thing. I moved to Texas for a few years and opened my own practice and then decided to come to Portland. It’s the best of all the places I’ve lived in and to practice in. Portland feels the most at home for me. I feel welcome and comfortable here. Oregon is a great state for chiropractors to practice in and the people here are familiar with chiropractic care. They’ve usually been exposed to it at some point in their life, so they’re not skeptical of it. I like being my own boss, which does have some challenges. I don’t have any employees, and like that I can offer one-on-one care from scheduling to check out.
Q: What makes your practice unique?
A: I don’t have any staff at my office so I do all the billing, the treatment, the scheduling and I think you get a really nice one-on-one interaction experience being at my office. I’m the one that greets you, treats you and checks up on you! I don’t think you get that at a lot of chiropractic offices or clinics that have multiple providers and multiple staff members. I like to have that intimate one-on-one experience. My sessions are usually 30 to 60 minutes, so it’s a great educational experience for patients. My patients can ask me as many questions as they want and not feel like they’re rushed or not getting the full experience that they were looking for. I really get to know my patients and understand their health goals.
Q: What is the most gratifying part of your job?
A: Being able to have patients walk in with pain, crouched over or with a severe headache and then walking out feeling like a totally different person! They were struggling when they walked in and afterwards can easily get up off the table without prescribing any drugs and they didn’t have surgery. An adjustment to their spine can provide so much relief. Some people have had pain for years; they’ve tried different medications, gone to numerous doctors and had no relief. When they get adjusted and have instant relief, it’s just amazing to know I did that with my hands.
Q: What advice would you give to someone wanting to open their own business?
A: It would be to ask everyone and anyone for advice and suggestions. Everyone has their own personal experience and you can only learn from that. Don’t afraid to go out on your own. A lot of people are afraid to start their own thing because of money and some are concerned with lack of business experience. You just have to remember you have the training to do it and that’s what you went to school for. Have a business plan and marketing plan prepared. Don’t be afraid to take the risk. Know that you can be successful and it’s just up to you how much blood, sweat and tears you want to put into the production. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it in the end. It will take persistence and a lot of dedication, but it can be done.
Q: Why is it important to support local businesses?
A: Supporting local businesses helps the community on many levels; everybody benefits from it. Small businesses are people that are just trying to make a living by doing what they’re passionate about. Another reason to support local businesses is to get a better experience. You get that one-on-one experience with people; they recognize you and know you by name; you see them at different establishments, sometimes at their own businesses and bump into them on the weekends around the neighborhood. You don’t get that experience at big box stores. You feel like you’re a part of a close-knit family. When you support local, most of that revenue stays in the actual neighborhood. People support my business, and in turn, I am supporting the local coffee shops, restaurants, massage therapists, artists, etc. We can all help one another.
Q: What do you like most about living and working in St Johns?
A: I love being able to walk to work and home for lunch. I like to run into patients I know around the neighborhood. I’m a board member for the St. Johns Neighborhood Association and enjoy seeing my patients at the meetings. I can see that they are passionate about improving and preserving the feel of St. Johns, just like I am. I’m happy that they see that I’m involved in St. Johns. Volunteering is an important aspect of my life and I took over organizing the annual leaf cleanup. It’s awesome to help out the community with fellow neighbors! There are so many things I love about just being in this neighborhood. Everyone’s so friendly and it just feels like a big family. Also, being able to take my dog to work with me is a huge bonus.
“Better together,” could be the unofficial slogan for Salty Teacup. What started as two stores on separate side streets has evolved, with the combined strengths of owners Emily Stanfield and Karen Urban, into a St. Johns’ favorite.
On May 14th at the St. Johns Bizarre, the Boosters conducted a survey to find what the public believes are the favorite shops, restaurants and service professionals in our business district. Salty Teacup came away with the most votes and the win in the Shop category.
Salty Teacup’s official slogan, “Provisions for the modern life.”, is a curated mix of clothing, jewelry, gifts, cards, and art.
Karen and Emily, in their own words
Our shop is designed to create a fun laid back, treasure-filled experience, like falling down the rabbit hole in Alice’s Wonderland. We are a bit of an escape from the everyday where modern meets eclectic and things are continually changing.
Our success is due to the loyal support of our amazing customers. We continually work to evolve our space and our product mix to meet our customer’s needs, and be responsive to changing trends and what customers are not finding at other boutiques.
This includes clothing in size ranges that are typically not well served by boutiques as well as jewelry, accessories and other objects created in house.
We love to include local artists and designers, even some that live in St Johns. Michael Barley, Francesca Bernini of Unusual Cards, The Portland Tarot, Wynn Gunter, Singing Blackbird, and Rebecca Russelle all live and create in St. Johns.
Other local Portland and Oregon based designers include:
Forge + Fire
New Refined Basics
Bridge Nine Candle Co.
Trixie & Milo
House of Six Cats
Canvas mounted prints by Deanna Cantrell, also the official photographer for the St. Johns Boosters, grace the shop walls.
Still, product is not enough. No shop can be a “favorite” without excellent customer service. Meet, Tracy Weber, Sales Associate Extraordinaire.
Tracy’s kind and bubbly attitude is part of Salty Teacup’s success. She knows how to direct a customer to that perfect piece to complete an outfit or the “just right” gift for a friend. With so many products in this delightful shop, having a sales associate who knows where everything is and how to make a customer feel special is important.
We would be no where near as successful without Tracy. We definitely miss her when she is off.
Salty Teacup owner
The best idea
When asked what generated the idea of joining forces into one shop, Karen and Emily mentioned that being located on side streets made it harder for customers to find them. The opportunity to team up in one bigger space was too good to pass up.
Salty Teacup, at 8416 North Lombard, is easy to find.
One more reason Emily and Karen are better together:
We each have different strengths that together form a strong team dynamic. That, along with our amazing staff, keeps us relevant in an ever changing retail economy.
Salty Teacup owner
Stop by Salty Teacup and see all it has to offer. This shop, along with the many other retailers, restaurants, coffee shops, and service professionals in our business district, is part of what makes St. Johns a thriving community.
The Oregonian has spoken … well posted, actually, their 10 Favorite Shops in St. Johns. Leading all the rest is The Olive & Vine, our very own gourmet specialty store.
If you haven’t visited, you should. Owner Kim Shaw is delightful and knowledgable. She sources organic olive oils, aged vinegars, sea salts, herbs, spices and fine teas for the shop as well as for her home kitchen. She is brimming with ideas that will liven your table with deliciousness.
The Olive & Vine is more than a job for us. Food has always meant family, friends and love in our home. The shop is really an extension of our home. It’s a look into our pantry and our lives. We use these products and enjoy sourcing new items and sharing them with our customers.