A new business in New Hope is offering holistic, inexpensive health care to people who might not be able to afford it. The company wouldn't be possible without the help of a nonprofit serving minority business owners.
Empower Community Acupuncture opened its doors in December. Owner William Huynh grew up in Brooklyn Park and wanted to stay in the northwest metro.
"You can say it's a dream come true to be having my own practice," said Huynh.
His start was unconventional. Huynh was a freelance writer before he got into the traditional Chinese medicine of acupuncture.
"I actually got into acupuncture because I had problems with my jaw and I went and saw an acupuncturist and it actually helped. That persuaded me that I could help other people do the same thing, so I went to school for it," said Huynh.
Acupuncture puts tiny, sterile needles into the skin and muscles to jumpstart healing.
"There are nerve endings at the surface of the skin so by putting the needles into the skin it helps the body to create its own painkillers," Huynh explained.
Huynh says acupuncture can be used to treat all kinds of aliments, from low back pain and tennis elbow to other chronic conditions. He says he's able to charge about half of what it normally costs for acupuncture due to assistance from the Metropolitan Economic Development Association, a nonprofit that helps minority businesses.
"MEDA believes in equal economic participation and economic development through entrepreneurship is one of the main ways we can reduce some of the racial disparities that exist in Minnesota," said La Juana Whitmore, director of consulting and solutions at MEDA, who helped Huynh tweek his business plan.
So far business is going well, but Huynh says the big payoff is seeing his clients healthy.
"I enjoy helping people and helping them feel better. "
Empower Community Acupuncture doesn't take insurance. The first session is $35 and returning visits are $25. Huynh said he's willing to work with clients if they can't afford the services.
Sonya Goins, firstname.lastname@example.org