Dr. Ram K. and Aru Reddy are in the business of “helping people feel better when they need it the most.” Partners in an enterprise that adds urgently needed medical care to underserved communities in northeast Georgia, this husband and wife team is also steadily adding to the employment rolls of the small cities and towns they serve.
Reddy Urgent Medical Care Centers operate in Athens, Royston, Danielsville, Hartwell and Monroe. They started with four employees at Dr. Reddy’s first practice in Royston in 1984 and now have nearly 90.
“It is good to feel like you’re contributing to your community by offering jobs to so many families,” says Aru.
And through the years, they have frequently turned to the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center for a broad range of assistance, from learning how to do financial projections to help with site location, marketing and employee satisfaction surveys.
They opened their first urgent care center in Royston in 1996 by adding an additional wing to their practice. “We noticed that although our primary care services were doing very well, our patients asked if we could be open later hours,” says Aru.
When they were ready to open their next urgent care center, they called Laura Katz, area director of the Athens office of the UGA SBDC. “We were ready to open a new facility and had narrowed our location down to Milledgeville and Monroe,” says Aru. “She helped us do feasibility studies and, based on those recommendations, we opened in Monroe.”
“Urgent care depends on drive-by traffic,” says Katz. “After they picked a couple of addresses, we looked at the demographics, they pinned down their choices to a couple of locations, and we looked at traffic counts. Then they selected a location.” Katz also helped Aru produce their business plan.
The Monroe center added nine employees to Reddy Urgent Care Centers. And they now treat 600 patients a month, says Aru. “It takes most medical clinics three years to break even. We are profiting within our first year, and we get great comments from our patients.”
Katz believes there are two solid reasons this entrepreneurial couple will continue to succeed in bringing good medicine to more Georgians.
“Dr. Reddy is one of the most empathic, caring people I’ve met. They’re both very focused on the customer experience, and they work hard to provide their patients excellent customer service.”
“And Aru is a lifelong learner,” Katz continues. “She and her staff attend our programs, most recently our class on Medical Practice Profit Drivers. She and Ram are always looking for more information, run ideas past me and use me as a resource for their business. Her drive to learn has helped them grow and be successful.
“We give them the quantitative data they need to make sound business decisions, and they keep coming back when they need more information. They’ve learned to rely on their SBDC consultants.”