Smiles To You
Kathie Fitchett Reynolds
Newport News, VA
Barbara Drohan-Ballard, Sal Sotis, Al Cioppa
Founded by registered dental hygienist Kathie Reynolds, Smiles to You (STY) fills a dental care gap for elderly patients who are homebound or in assisted living facilities. The service visits medical day care facilities, health clinics and assisted living facilities to provide dental care and educate health care providers, potential patients and their families on dental health.
Reynolds was working full-time and raising four children while planning her startup. The legal issues involved in getting a license to run a “mobile” dental facility—a first in Virginia—were daunting, and with no prior entrepreneurial experience, Reynolds initially felt the project was overwhelming. “I got consumed with the [startup] process and had a problem finding balance,” she explains.
SCORE mentors Barbara Drohan-Ballard, Sal Sotis, and Al Cioppa helped Reynolds develop a strategic plan and focus on her short-term goals so she wouldn’t get overwhelmed. “SCORE kept the project in perspective while encouraging planning and completion,” says Reynolds. “They still keep me on track, and stop me from filling my plate up to the point where it’s exhausting.”
Reynolds works as a dental hygienist with her mobile team, but uses assistants to help her and the dentists, reducing her workload. With Drohan-Ballard’s encouragement, she now stops working at 5 p.m. most days. “I became a mother and a wife again,” she says happily.
Launched in May 2013, STY had nearly $100,000 in revenues last year and is already on track to double that in 2014. While still wearing the hats of an administrator, marketing director, contract negotiator and dental hygienist at STY, Reynolds can now make her own schedule thanks to four part-time employees.
Ultimately, Reynolds hopes to franchise STY; if so, she will work with a SCORE mentor specializing in franchising. “SCORE is a free resource and they’re such a diverse group,” she says. “It’s nice to know there’s someone who can help you work through any problems. Every company could benefit from these wonderful mentors.”
Mass Mutual is not associated with, and does not endorse, the business featured.