There were plenty of reasons why Sydney Swindell, Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), wanted to open her new practice, Fyzical Therapy & Balance Center, in Vermont. For starters, Vermont’s aging population, famously among the nation’s oldest, would provide a ready and growing market for her services. She also understood that our state’s extremely active population, regardless of age, would need her; as Sydney observes, while an active lifestyle boosts personal fitness and health, it can also increase risk of injury.

“And,” she notes, “we’ve also learned that self-care has fallen off for a lot of us during the pandemic, which is leading to lower fitness levels throughout the population.” Then, she adds with a smile: “Also, I fell in love with Vermont.”

Sydney and her team provide orthopedic rehabilitation, physiotherapy, sports rehab, therapy for clients with mobility and balance issues, or other limitations stemming from traumatic brain injury, stroke, neurodegenerative diseases, and, yes, aging.

Growing up in Georgia, Sydney enlisted in the U.S. Navy after high school, advancing in a career in the aerospace defense industry that took her to San Diego, Oklahoma and Spain. While in the military, she happened to shadow a physical therapist who was working with a new stroke patient. “When he first came in, he couldn’t stand up or talk. Six weeks later, he was walking with a cane,” she recalls. The experience was transformative for her, too. “I was hooked. I wanted to experience that kind of satisfaction from my work.”

So, after a decade in the Navy, Sydney and her family headed to Vermont in 2016, where she enrolled in UVM’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program. With her family happily settled into their new home, she began to envision her dream job – her own PT clinic – in her dream location in the Green Mountains. The clinic would be state-of-the-art, with cutting edge equipment and resources for her clients.

Before COVID-19, Sydney looked into financing her start-up clinic via traditional lenders. “You’d think, given that I’m female, and a veteran, and that I had good credit, I’d be an ideal candidate for a loan.” But she describes the repeated disappointment of being encouraged by banks throughout the application process, only to be denied a loan after several months of waiting and hoping, “because I couldn’t come up with the required 45% participation. I kept hitting that wall.”

The wait for banks’ responses gave Sydney time to explore different paths to owning her own practice. She found stand-alone clinics for sale, but eventually became intrigued by the Fyzical Therapy & Balance franchise. “Fyzical Therapy & Balance franchises are all independently owned,” she discovered, “and they also provide business support services like accounting, bookkeeping, electronic medical record keeping, discounts on equipment, even an operating manual.”

She identified a potential clinic site in high-traffic Williston, and began making plans. Then she brought her ideas to VCLF’s Director of Business and Early Care & Learning Programs Dan Winslow.
“Dan was very thorough and careful in reviewing my application,” Sydney says. His scrutiny of the details, she feels, led her to further refine her plans and vision for the clinic. “It made me an even better candidate for the loan, ultimately,” she says. When the Loan Fund’s ‘yes’ came through, Sydney and her team wasted no time. “We took possession of the property on January 1st, 2022, and I saw my first patient on February 1st.”

Via a recent Zoom visit, Sydney picks up her laptop and heads down the hall to provide a virtual tour of the new clinic. “So this is some of the equipment that our VCLF loan helped us buy,” she announces. “That’s a rebounder. It can work as a trampoline, too. Over there is some strength equipment, the exam table, and there,” she points, “is where the balance training system will go,” she says, referring to a computerized trolley with an 80-foot-long track system and safety harness, purchased with help from the Loan Fund.

Sydney’s ongoing plans include adding therapists, mental health services, plenty of classes, locavore meals on site, and much more. “I want to provide services that bridge the gap between what patients experience in the hospital to home health care”, focusing intensively on fall prevention, balance, regular motions like “squatting, walking, lifting, all the activities required in daily living,” she states. Also, she’d love to see the clinic as a nonprofit providing affordable care for all.

Had it not been for VCLF financing, she and her family probably would have left Vermont to practice elsewhere. “As much as my family loves it here, it wouldn’t have been feasible to stay if I hadn’t been able to open my own practice,” she tells. “VCLF took a chance on me, and I’m so grateful for that.” fyzical.com/williston

There were plenty of reasons why Sydney Swindell, Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), wanted to open her new practice, Fyzical Therapy & Balance Center, in Vermont. For starters, Vermont’s aging population, famously among the nation’s oldest, would provide a ready and growing market for her services. She also understood that our state’s extremely active population, regardless of age, would need her; as Sydney observes, while an active lifestyle boosts personal fitness and health, it can also increase risk of injury.

“And,” she notes, “we’ve also learned that self-care has fallen off for a lot of us during the pandemic, which is leading to lower fitness levels throughout the population.” Then, she adds with a smile: “Also, I fell in love with Vermont.”

Sydney and her team provide orthopedic rehabilitation, physiotherapy, sports rehab, therapy for clients with mobility and balance issues, or other limitations stemming from traumatic brain injury, stroke, neurodegenerative diseases, and, yes, aging.

Growing up in Georgia, Sydney enlisted in the U.S. Navy after high school, advancing in a career in the aerospace defense industry that took her to San Diego, Oklahoma and Spain. While in the military, she happened to shadow a physical therapist who was working with a new stroke patient. “When he first came in, he couldn’t stand up or talk. Six weeks later, he was walking with a cane,” she recalls. The experience was transformative for her, too. “I was hooked. I wanted to experience that kind of satisfaction from my work.”

So, after a decade in the Navy, Sydney and her family headed to Vermont in 2016, where she enrolled in UVM’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program. With her family happily settled into their new home, she began to envision her dream job – her own PT clinic – in her dream location in the Green Mountains. The clinic would be state-of-the-art, with cutting edge equipment and resources for her clients.

Before COVID-19, Sydney looked into financing her start-up clinic via traditional lenders. “You’d think, given that I’m female, and a veteran, and that I had good credit, I’d be an ideal candidate for a loan.” But she describes the repeated disappointment of being encouraged by banks throughout the application process, only to be denied a loan after several months of waiting and hoping, “because I couldn’t come up with the required 45% participation. I kept hitting that wall.”

The wait for banks’ responses gave Sydney time to explore different paths to owning her own practice. She found stand-alone clinics for sale, but eventually became intrigued by the Fyzical Therapy & Balance franchise. “Fyzical Therapy & Balance franchises are all independently owned,” she discovered, “and they also provide business support services like accounting, bookkeeping, electronic medical record keeping, discounts on equipment, even an operating manual.”

She identified a potential clinic site in high-traffic Williston, and began making plans. Then she brought her ideas to VCLF’s Director of Business and Early Care & Learning Programs Dan Winslow.
“Dan was very thorough and careful in reviewing my application,” Sydney says. His scrutiny of the details, she feels, led her to further refine her plans and vision for the clinic. “It made me an even better candidate for the loan, ultimately,” she says. When the Loan Fund’s ‘yes’ came through, Sydney and her team wasted no time. “We took possession of the property on January 1st, 2022, and I saw my first patient on February 1st.”

Via a recent Zoom visit, Sydney picks up her laptop and heads down the hall to provide a virtual tour of the new clinic. “So this is some of the equipment that our VCLF loan helped us buy,” she announces. “That’s a rebounder. It can work as a trampoline, too. Over there is some strength equipment, the exam table, and there,” she points, “is where the balance training system will go,” she says, referring to a computerized trolley with an 80-foot-long track system and safety harness, purchased with help from the Loan Fund.

Sydney’s ongoing plans include adding therapists, mental health services, plenty of classes, locavore meals on site, and much more. “I want to provide services that bridge the gap between what patients experience in the hospital to home health care”, focusing intensively on fall prevention, balance, regular motions like “squatting, walking, lifting, all the activities required in daily living,” she states. Also, she’d love to see the clinic as a nonprofit providing affordable care for all.

Had it not been for VCLF financing, she and her family probably would have left Vermont to practice elsewhere. “As much as my family loves it here, it wouldn’t have been feasible to stay if I hadn’t been able to open my own practice,” she tells. “VCLF took a chance on me, and I’m so grateful for that.” fyzical.com/williston

Back to News