By KEVIN CHIRI
Slidell news bureau
LACOMBE – John Paul Guidry isn’t worrying about needing a high-visibility location to build a successful physical therapy business.
Now approaching his fifth year with Guidry Physical Therapy Services, located on Hwy. 434 in Lacombe, he has proven there is a much more effective way to bring in the patients.
“We do something you probably don’t get anywhere else when you go for physical therapy,” he said. “We provide personal, one-on-one physical therapy with a doctor that stays with you throughout the entire session.
“Most of the people who come to us and get that kind of treatment have told us they didn’t know such a thing existed,” he said with a smile.
Guidry grew up in a small town in Sulphur, La., in west Louisiana. The woman he met at college and would eventually marry just happened to have family in St. Tammany Parish, which introduced him to the North Shore communities.
From the time Guidry earned his physical therapy degree from LSU and then from St. Augustine, Fla., like most professionals he dreamed of a day he would open his own clinic. And he always knew it would be in a small town.
“Growing up in a small town I liked that kind of pace and the way you know everyone,” he said. “Lacombe seemed like the perfect place when I was contemplating my own clinic.”
But ultimately, Guidry has proven in nearly five years that his success would come from his new patients experiencing the one-on-one service, and then telling others. Thanks to referrals he has seen the business grow to the point of recently hiring his first full-time therapist to work alongside him at the Lacombe clinic.
“Physical therapy patients usually come from other doctors who refer them, although the law has now changed where you don’t need a doctors’ referral to come to see me,” he said. “Now you can just call us and make an appointment.”
“But ultimately a business like mine is going to grow because people recommend you to others, and that’s what we have seen in a steady way for almost five years since we have been here,” he added.
Guidry was an excellent athlete during his high school days in Sulphur, playing basketball and baseball. When he had an elbow injury and needed physical therapy to rehab it provided an opportunity to see the profession up close.
“I liked the connection of physical therapy to sports and athletes,” he said. “I always liked the idea of doing something professionally that connected to athletes, and then when I started with this, I found there was much more than that.
“I have always enjoyed dealing with people and our clinic really feels like a family environment,” he said. “Being in a rural area it’s easy to get to know everyone, especially since I work with my patients one-on-one from the time they come until the time they go.”
Guidry graduated from LSU in 2007 before attending physical therapy school in Florida, then worked for several other clinics for five years before looking throughout St. Tammany for the best location to open his own clinic.
“I was working at a clinic in Covington, but the Mandeville and Covington areas were flooded with private physical therapy practices,” he said. “And I had a good relationship with the doctor I worked with in Covington, so I didn’t want to compete with him.”
With his wife’s family connection already on the North Shore, he found the perfect place in Lacombe and has steadily grown the business since opening in March, 2012.
Guidry said the small clinic allows him to work with patients with many different injuries and situations. “I mainly help people recover from orthopedic injuries and post-surgical situations,” he said. “But I actually get to do a little of everything. It’s very rare I have to recommend someone to a specialist since we are very confident in handling almost any kind of recovery here.”
Allen Julian is his first staff member as a second physical therapist at the clinic, while Office Manager Tina Dubreuil is another key component of the local team who lives in Lacombe.
“Tina is from Lacombe and is such a caring individual with our patients,” he said. “With Tina and Allen, we have the kind of team we want to build here—always putting our patients first with one-on-one care and service.”
Guidry and his wife have been married for seven years and have a 3-year-old daughter, with their second child, a son, on the way.
For more information on the clinic or to book an appointment, call 985-882-8427. The clinic is located at 61700 Hwy. 434 in Lacombe, between the I-12 exit and Hwy. 190.