When I was in high school, and for a few years after college, I worked for my mom in her photography studio. (Dori G., y’all.) I remember two families that regularly brought their children in for photographs: the Cox kids and the McGuire kids. It turns out that both families were great friends. So much so, that the dads, Sean and Bret, went into business together. This led to business sessions at Dori G.’s featuring matching denim shirts. Keep in mind, it was the 90s.
Sean Cox and Bret McGuire met in physical therapy school. Bret’s wife, Anissa, attended school with them. They all wanted to stay in Rogers County. At the time, Claremore Regional Hospital was the only facility in town that offered physical therapy. Solution? Open their own clinic.
SUMMIT Physical Therapy originally opened in the old movie theater at NeMar Center. By 2006, they had outgrown the space, and decided to renovate the building that used to house Mega Movies. (Denim shirts, video stores…it was definitely a few years ago!) In the meantime, they opened a pediatric clinic near Claremore High School, where Anissa McGuire was heavily involved in the daily operations. A friend mentioned to Anissa that there was not a clinic nearby that offered aquatic therapy. Solution? Open a clinic that offered a bigger in-ground pool that both the adult and pediatric clinic could utilize.
In 2010, SUMMIT built a state-of-the-art 10,500 square feet facility on Blue Starr. I went to the clinic recently for the first time and met with administrator Herb McSpadden and marketing whiz Delayna Trease. We met at 8:45a on a Wednesday. This place was rockin’! Due to the size of the building, it didn’t seem crowded, just bustling. And even though patients were there for treatment, everyone looked happy. SUMMIT is obviously doing plenty of things right.
I have been fortunate in that I have never required any kind of physical therapy, so I asked what exactly SUMMIT does. The answer I got was basically this: If one wanted to find another clinic that offers all of the types of therapy that SUMMIT does, it would require a road trip of several hours. In all likelihood, Dallas is the closest city that would have a comparable clinic. All kinds of therapy are offered, including women’s health, physical therapy, occupational and speech. (SUMMIT speech therapists currently operate in 13 school districts in northeast Oklahoma.) Custom foot orthotics are offered. A certified hand specialist is on staff, who also performs wound care. SUMMIT’s therapists work with elderly patients who are dealing with arthritis, athletes who are returning to the playing field after injury, and employees who have been hurt on the job. Remember the aquatic therapy? SUMMIT has an 8 – 10 person warm water pool that allows patients who are battling arthritis or cannot bear weight on land to regain strength and mobility quicker.
What began as a humble clinic in an old movie theater is now three locations: Claremore, Pryor and Catoosa. Catoosa is preparing to renovate the former Jiffy Jon’s on Route 66, allowing that location to double its current space. Pryor also offers aquatic therapy. Claremore, of course, is the largest facility, and now houses the pediatric clinic in the same building. It’s a one-stop shop, really.
Bret and Sean love Claremore, and it shows. They are both active in our community, and have been involved in numerous leadership positions. One or the other can usually be found at high school sporting events, volunteering hours to make sure none of the athletes get injured. Both are active in church, and recently took a group of students to Uganda on a mission trip. (Except Sean. He had to stay home. Bret, Anissa and Kim went instead. I hope they took lots of photos for him.)
The passion is felt among the employees, as many of the staff has been part of the SUMMIT team for years; several have been with them since the beginning. Recently, the pediatric clinic receptionist, Twyla, and therapy assistant Steve Wilkinson were honored as the “Best in Rogers County.” The original goal of Bret McGuire and Sean Cox was to own a clinic that allows for big-city care in our small town. Mission accomplished, gentlemen.
Keep it local, Claremore!