The Orange County Chamber of Commerce and the Orange County Review partner to highlight a Chamber business of the month. Those recognized are Chamber members who demonstrate support for both the Chamber and the community. Each month, a different business (selected by the Chamber) will be featured with a questionnaire designed to give the community some insight into both the business and the individuals responsible for its success.
This month, the Chamber recognizes Orange Chiropractic and Family Fitness on Madison Road in Orange, honoring the business as it celebrates its 30th anniversary. For this month’s business spotlight, we talked with Dr. Eileen and Dr. Terry Whelan, who founded the business together 30 years ago.
Describe your business:
Dr. Eileen: We help people become healthier and more functional in their lifestyle by changing the quality and quantity of people’s lives. We teach The 100 Year Lifestyle principles of optimum health, longevity and wellness. We work with quality of life from womb to tomb. We help people with the five principles of neurology, nutrition, endurance, strength and structure. With those in place, a body can express its full potential for a lifetime.
How has Orange Chiropractic changed in the last 30 years?
Dr. Terry: We have a combination of things were able to do to keep the body well. Chiropractic medicine is a part of that. We’re able to integrate the exercise component and the rehab and when we did that it became a perfect fit. We’re able to provide chiropractic care and fitness.
Also, we see people wanting to take better care of themselves; they’re more active, are in better health.
Chiropractic care has come a long way. When we started, people called us “choirpractors.” A lot of chiropractors had to plant seeds along the way. We had to battle a lot of misinformation about what we do.
What do you think the next 30 years look like (or the next five or 10)?
Dr. Eileen: Our vision is to become the 100 Year Lifestyle authority in our community to help people express their full potential. The centenarian population is increasing—your 100 may be coming whether you want it to or not.
Is there an early
memory of the business that stands out?
Dr. Terry: I ran over her typewriter the first day. Just backed right over it.
Ever have a time when you wondered if this was going to work out?
Dr. Eileen: We’ve always been optimistic and passionate about our mission. The only doubt was maybe when we started, we had a business plan and took it to the bank to get a loan. We minimized our start-up costs and did most everything ourselves. When we opened the doors, we had $1,500 in our checking account and our rent was $960. It took us 10 years, but we paid off that loan and our student loans.
What’s the best thing about being in business in Orange?
Dr. Eileen: The people! They’re so honest and open.
Dr. Terry: We came here and didn’t know a soul. Just being able to carve out a small business here has been great. We came here with very little and made it work. We’re proud of that.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Dr. Eileen: You see people come in like this tree on the left (she points to a poster illustrating a tree in three stages of health—healing, regenerating, thriving). Seeing them go from healing to thriving—seeing that transformation. I had one patient come in and tell me she’s better at 82 than she was at 72.
Dr. Terry: It’s nice to get “thank yous” for the job, but when you see people improve physically, that’s great. We’re in a relief-oriented, quick-fix society, so we try to help people immediately and ultimately take better care of themselves.
If you were a vehicle, what kind would you be?
Dr. Terry: A Volkswagen. It can do anything, go anywhere, always starts.
Dr. Eileen: People tend to take better care of their cars than their bodies. I’m the reverse. If their check engine light comes on, they do something about it with their car, but not when their body’s “check engine” light comes on.
What was your first job and what did you want to be when you grew up?
Dr. Terry: I worked in a machine shop in Akron, Ohio making scissor jacks, but I wanted to play sports.
Dr. Eileen: I cleaned houses. I was a lifeguard. My oldest brother went to chiropractic school and I thought I’d go into physical therapy, but I didn’t like working in a hospital and chiropractic care seemed a much better option to me.
Dr. Eileen: “Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom.”
Dr. Terry: Historical fiction of any sort.
What’s on your playlist?
Dr. Eileen: Bluegrass, Gillian Welch.
Dr. Terry: (Eileen offers, “Eric Clapton.”) I like Van Morrison—he just writes the most beautiful, poetic songs. I like John Prine, too.
Best business advice you could offer?
Dr. Terry: Fall in love with your community. I learned that from her (he says, pointing to his wife).
Dr. Eileen: When your passion becomes your work, it’s not work.