Industrial Hearing Consultation Fills Wisconsin Niche
When Cynthia Chow purchased a hearing practice in Oak Park, Illinois, she never imagined expanding to Wisconsin. But her future husband was in Janesville, and with a growing number of industrial clients in the Badger State, a second location made sense. The Janesville Innovation Center (JIC) was a perfect fit.
“We needed a brick and mortar location to establish legitimacy,” Cynthia says. “The Janesville Innovation Center was perfect.”
OSHA Compliance for Wisconsin Workers
While The Hearing Place’s Chicagoland office sells hearing aids and performs clinical testing, the focus in Janesville is on OSHA compliance. Many of the Oak Park clients live close to the practice and visit in person, but in Wisconsin, Cynthia and her husband travel around the state, acting as consultants. They visit factories and manufacturing facilities from Beloit to Green Bay to ensure employee hearing is intact.
These onsite visits are industry-mandated. OSHA requires all employees who are exposed to loud noise to have their hearing tested every year.
“Our company goes out and we do the hearing testing,” Cynthia explains. “We have software to generate reports and catch shifts in hearing. When we send the report, we might say, ‘hey — out of your 200 employees, these four had shifts in hearing. Let’s follow up with them to make sure they’re not having noise-induced hearing loss. If they are, let’s make sure they’re wearing proper hearing protection.’”
In addition to industrial consulting, The Hearing Place offers clinical hearing aids and evaluations, and has a government contract to perform evaluations for veterans. Cynthia enjoys the variety.
“It’s nice to float around between the three,” she says.
Competitive Rent, Support Let JIC Tenants Focus on Growth
Cynthia believes the decision to rent space at JIC was a smart business move for several reasons.
“Janesville Innovation Center has been great because we don’t need a lot of space, but we do want to have an actual physical location,” she says. “They have helped us look a lot more legitimate, which gives clients confidence that we aren’t going anywhere.”
There are other benefits to being a JIC tenant.
“The rent is super competitive,” Cynthia continues. “It allows you to build that clientele base. If you go to a place with high rent, your overhead is way higher and you’re more likely to fold. It gave us a nice stepping stone to grow our Wisconsin consulting business.”
Cynthia and her husband plan to stay at the JIC for as long as they are welcome there. Once they leave, she envisions adding clinical audiology and related services, but is in no hurry for that to happen.
“The Janesville Innovation Center is a great place, especially if you’re just looking to expand or start up,” she summarizes. “You have a lot of support, it’s a great facility, and you have everything you need for your business to operate.”