By Sheri Duff
It seemed serendipitous. In 1986 two physical therapy students, Justine McCuen and Mike Dee, graduated from Northeastern University and State University of New York Upstate Medical University respectively, received job offers at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City, and fell in love. After two years they moved to Burlington, found work at the former Medical Center of Vermont, and married.
The couple opened Advance Physical Therapy in South Burlington in 1992. Although they sold the business five years later to Health South, the Dees kept the clients. Soon afterward they purchased their current building, also in South Burlington, and renovated it into a state-of-the-art facility with the help of architect Ted Montgomery and designer Hilary Jordan.
As luck would have it, Health South left Vermont and the Dees bought back the business and changed the name of the practice to Dee Physical Therapy (Dee PT). It wasn’t long before opportunity knocked again. Approached by the owners of the Shelburne Athletic Club, who wanted a physical therapist on site, the decision to open a second location in The Field House at Shelburne Health & Fitness was an easy one. With clients already from Charlotte, Shelburne, and Hinesburg the additional location was a smart business decision.
The practice thrived. Mike attributes, “A loyal clientele, orthopedic diagnoses, sports injuries, and an experienced staff” as reasons for its growth. Their recent expansion in Shelburne, completed in April, added 900-square feet to the existing clinic, and increased the clinical space for patient treatment. Plus there’s additional room for educational seminars and specialized rehabilitation exercise equipment.
“It’s amazing what taking down one wall can do. It just opened up the space,” Justine announced. “It’s not only beautiful, it’s functional,” noting that the splash of red was designer Jordan’s idea. “We [the clients and staff] really like it.”
Dee PT currently has 18 employees, including nine physical therapists, aides who assist the physical therapists, receptionists, a billing coordinator, and a part-time marketing and development specialist. When asked what they are most of proud of, Mike answers without hesitation, “The people we work with. We are really blessed. Business is good and the people we work with are the best in the business.”
One might say fate, skill, and business acumen has been kind. After 24 years, Dee PT is still booming.