By Rhonda Buckhold

Just off Clocktower Drive between Durkin and Monroe stands 901 Studio Salons, a pink brick building with tall fluted columns and grand stairs. 901 is the face of a unique concept enabling small business ownership through a combination of shared resources, partnership and mentoring.

Lisa LaRue, a color specialist who also offers permanent makeup and other services,  is the owner and operator of Salon LaRue, located in 901’s suite A. LaRue has made a success of what she calls “a true legalized booth rental.” She explains that this system “allows experienced salon professionals to own a business without having a huge out-of-pocket startup cost, or the costs of owning a building and maintaining it, or having no choice but to work for someone else.” The process was not without challenges. “I almost went bankrupt in the first year. I had to convince people of the benefits,” she says.

There are currently 24 salons renting individual suites at 901. The suites vary in size and can be personalized according to the needs of each proprietor. Electric and water utilities are included in the price of rental. There are two suites currently unoccupied, with two more debuting new businesses soon. Potential tenants are vetted by the current tenants as the desire is to offer the space to experienced, career-minded professionals.

Visitors who continue past the store front at 901 into the larger parking area will find another immaculate entrance at 907 Clocktower, home to the Heartland Healing Arts Center in suite B.

The HHAC has a very tranquil quality and is home to four impressively credentialed and extensively trained professional women who operate individual practices while pooling their resources. Dr. Ann Bova, owner and operator of Heartland Naprapathic Center, Ltd, demonstrates great success in treating patients. “Naprapathy heals people, we treat them so that they don’t have to rely on pain medicines. Usually just a few visits, and we never see them again. We are in the business of healing, not just treating symptoms.” Conditions often helped by Naprapathic treatment include back, neck and joint pain, stiffness and spasms, range-of-motion restriction, headaches, migraines, fibromyalgia, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, planter fasciitis, tingling, numbness and radiating pain.

Two licensed psychotherapists partner with Bova at 907. Carley Mattimore, MS, LCPC, is a healing touch practitioner. She describes healing touch as “complementary care for traditional medicine and talk therapy.” She also provides wellness, recovery and spiritual retreats.

Kristal Perry-Gutierrez, MA, LCPC, has 20 years of experience and additional certifications in eye movement desensitization and yoga teaching as well as having completed two years of training in somatic experiencing. “SE is a well-established treatment for trauma, PTSD, and anxiety.” She practices Theraplay™, which she describes as “a very specialized treatment for children. While many therapies are geared toward behavioral health, few therapists in the Springfield area are experienced and trained to treat complex trauma and attachment disorders in children. I offer comprehensive treatment based on current research.” Perry-Gutierrez is a provider for Blue Cross/Blue Shield and will assist with reimbursable insurance carriers.

Jenn Sorrell-Wikoff is a licensed massage therapist, and as the newest partner in the Heartland Healing Arts Center, is very enthusiastic. “We have weekly meetings amongst the partners to discuss our future plans or any concerns we can help each other with. A regular topic is how to overcome the perception that these types of services are only for the wealthy,” she says. “Often, this is like preventative maintenance. It is more cost-effective when considering the amount of money spent on pain medication, co-payments for surgeries and other traditional treatments, which also tend to have follow-up side effects.”

Rounding out the Heartland Healing partnership are two women with very specific skill sets. Cherry Miller is an interior design artist credited with some of the decorative elements of the Heartland Healing Arts Center. She specializes in redecorating and designing creative spaces that function well, including the process of de-cluttering. “I like doing this for my clients without bankrupting their pocketbooks,” she says. Keeping pace with all these very busy businesswomen is Donna Steinberg, who acts as greeter, receptionist, office manager and marketing creator, among other duties. She has been working with Dr. Bova for over four years and her excitement about the Heartland Healing Arts Center is contagious.

Across the hall at 907 is Girls On The Run, which operates with a very small staff and most activities taking place out in the community, rather than in the office. GOTR is a nationwide nonprofit after-school program for girls from third to fifth grades which focuses on life skills tied into and reinforced by physical fitness  (every session ends with a 5k run). The program partners with local schools and organizations which provide space, teachers and volunteers. Jennifer Sublett, the executive director of the central Illinois chapter, graduated from Springfield High School and later Illinois College. “Springfield is my hometown,” she says with a large smile. “Having depth of relationship with the community helps with a nonprofit’s success – knowing who to partner with.Finding volunteers and fundraising are easier when you’ve been here and know the people and places.” Memorial Health System is the presenting sponsor of the spring 5k, which is scheduled for May 14 at Lincoln Land Community College. The most important thing happening right now in the office, according to Sublett, is that “we need volunteers and spectators to come on the day of the run. It is a huge event.”

To inquire about available suites, call Lisa at 217-638-3800.

Rhonda Buckhold is a freelance writer and researcher. She can be reached at