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Luke Laga, owner of Structural Elements in Shorewood and Jonathan Ferris, an acupuncturist at Structural Elements. Photo courtesy of Luke Laga[/caption]
Structural Elements, a Hagerstown, Md.-based orthopedic wellness clinic, opened Wednesday in Shorewood as the company's first Midwest franchise location.
Located at 4529 N. Oakland Ave., the clinic offers acupuncture, run analysis and coaching, chiropractic treatment, and rehabilitation exercise. It also sells a variety of health-centered products, athletic apparel and Structural Elements' custom orthotics.
Owner Luke Laga opened the clinic after locally practicing acupuncture for eight years. His Shorewood clinic is Structural Elements' only independently-owned franchise location and its third operation nationwide-- the other two clinics are located in Maryland and Virginia.
"Shorewood is a forward thinking, healthy community," Laga said. "We are exciting to grow within it because I think we can grow together."
The space housed children's clothing store Sydney B. until it closed in early summer. After two-months of renovations in September and October, the clinic now holds four treatment rooms, a "fitness lab," and retail space. It currently employs four-- soon to be five-- practitioners.
Laga has also partnered with Milwaukee-based juicing company, The Juice Kitchen to sell its freshly pressed fruit and vegetable-based juices, cleanse programs, and four-ounce energy and recovery drinks.
Juice orders will be made at The Juice Kitchen and delivered to Structural Elements to be stored in a cooler, ready for pick-up the same or next day.
"It's about expansion but it's more about expansion into people's homes, refrigerators and bodies, and making sure they have fresh juice all the time," Maanaan Sabir, co-owner of The Juice Kitchen said. "This partnership with Luke is just one example of us heading into that market and into the North Shore area."
The Juice Kitchen, located at 1617 W. North Ave., was founded about eight years ago by Sabir and his wife, JoAnne Johnson-Sabir. Johnson-Sabir is co-developing the Sherman Phoenix project
-- a Sherman Park development that will house 12 small black-owned businesses
when it opens in the spring. The Juice Kitchen will be one the Phoenix's 12 tenants.
Sabir said The Juice Kitchen attracts many customers from Milwaukee's North Shore area but he wanted to have a closer connection with the market. He said this partnership will accomplish that.
Since 2012, Laga has owned and operated Laga Wellness LLC, an acupuncture and athletic performance consulting business. His dream of operating a Structural Elements franchise first developed when he studied acupuncture under Doug Bertram, Structural Elements founder and Milwaukee-native. Bertram opened the first clinic in August 2013 in Hagerstown, Maryland.
Laga's clinic will be the training site for owners and practitioners of new franchise locations in the Midwest. Laga said Brookfield, Madison and Chicago are potential cities for franchise growth, but any growth will be slow to allow time for Structural Elements' required training process.