And now, the owners of the clinic, which offers individual treatment in small groups with a sliding pay scale, are the winners of the grand prize for the Brooklyn Public Library’s “PowerUP! Your Dream Starts Here” business plan competition and proud recipients of $15,000.
“It was surprising to us to win,” said co-owner Parker.
The Crown Heights resident discovered acupuncture after a bike accident in Philadelphia.
“One of my co-workers sent me to acupuncture when I got into the accident," Parker said. "I thought it was great, simple medicine for people who use their bodies hard and encounter different effects of stress.”
She decided to attend the Tri-State College of Acupuncture in New York City. It was there she met Bishop. The two were classmates and after graduation worked in different community clinics, but they always harbored the idea to create their own business.
Three years later they teamed up.
I'm consistently amazed at how powerful acupuncture is," Bishop said.
Bishop became an acupuncturist after years of community organizing, education and activist work.
"Through my work as an activist and teacher I witnessed the impact trauma, pain and sickness had people's capacity to participate in and create sustainable social and political movements," she said.
Her motivation is to integrate acupuncture into the work of building sustainable, self-determining communities.
“The prevailing model was that acupuncturists give a private treatment of an hour in an individual setting while charging a high price,” Parker said, but they both wanted accessibility for many people with varying incomes.
The frequency of the therapy affects the efficacy. And Parker says that at the prevailing rates it is difficult for people to get enough treatment for people to follow through and get results.
“We’re excited to bring this to people of all walks,” she said, noting that acupuncture is good for the effects of stress, digestive problems, hormonal issues, anxiety, even insomnia. Brooklyn Open Acupuncture sees about 20 patients a day.
The duo credits the Brooklyn Public Library with their business workshops, including one-on-one business counseling. In 2010, they won a merit award of $750 from the competition and were encouraged to enter again for 2011.
“It was through PowerUP that we were connected to these resources, we feel like even if we didn’t win first prize, we'd still be winners,” Parker said.
With the $15,000, the duo wants to hire more acupuncturists, market their business so that more people in the community know it exists, form a herbal pharmacy and make improvements to the current space.
“Our business isn't just to make money, but to make this accessible to as many people as possible," Parker said. "It’s great that a social entrepreneurial model could win first. We’re excited for what it means for accessible health care and for the people and care they'll get.”
For more information, visit brooklynopenacupuncture.com.