Inquiring Minds Behavioral And Developmental Services Opens Its Doors

“When one of my relatives was diagnosed on the autism spectrum, he began early intervention therapy,” said Vasuda Bangalore, Owner and Board Certified Behavior Analyst at Inquiring Minds Behavioral and Developmental Services.

“After seeing the positive difference it made in his life, I knew I wanted to dedicate my time and energy to offering the same type of support through Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy.”

Being a part of the growth and success of children on the spectrum is something that has always been near to Vasuda’s heart. When she saw a need for these types of services in Huntsville, it motivated her to open a clinic and become a resource for children who could benefit from ABA.

What Is Inquiring Minds?

Inquiring Minds is a new outpatient clinic that serves the needs of children and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and related developmental disabilities. With a goal of helping their clients thrive independently, the clinic offers a wide array of services for both children and their families/caregivers.

“Improving the life of someone on the spectrum can involve many things,” said Vasuda. “Social skills, learning how to dress, communication skills, and potty training—all these fall into our scope of therapy. We want to give our clients the tools to succeed on their own and live a confident, self-sufficient life.”

The needs of individual clients between the ages of 6 months to 21 years can vary. This requires Vasuda and her team to always be on top of their game and maintain continuing education and training.

“All therapists at Inquiring Minds are required to complete a rigorous 40-hour training program, pass an in-house competency test, and complete a competency test that’s credentialed by the Behavior Analysts Certification Board (BACB),” said Vasuda. “This applies to incoming therapists with prior certifications and experience in the field to help maintain accuracy and consistency.”

“We do monthly checks with therapists to make sure therapy is running efficiently,” she said. “I provide ongoing supervision and training weekly, as well.”

Because the team at Inquiring Minds believes therapy should be available to everyone, they offer services not only at the clinic but also in-home and in the community.

“Sometimes we travel up to 30 miles from the clinic to provide our services,” she said. “That includes Arab, Athens, Brownsboro, Decatur, Florence, Gurley, Hampton Cove, Hartselle, Harvest, Hazel Green, Madison, Meridianville, and New Market. If we believe we can make an impact, we will make it happen.”

Opening A Clinic

As a student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Vasuda was eager to pursue her dream of working in the medical field. She found her calling when she discovered ABA therapy and began working toward her bachelor’s in psychology. This led to her earning a master’s in psychometrics at the University of Louisiana at Monroe and obtaining her board certification as a behavior analyst (BCBA).

After discovering the need for additional ABA therapy in the Huntsville area, Vasuda began the process of opening her own clinic. In June, the doors at Inquiring Minds officially opened at the Crestwood Women’s Center located at 185 Chateau Drive.

“We have grown a lot faster than anyone anticipated,” said Vasuda. “Already, I have hired six additional Registered Behavior Technicians—RBTs for short—and an office manager. Our speedy growth solidified that there is a need for our services in the area, and we are more than thrilled to offer it to the best of our ability.”

As the clinic grows, Vasuda plans to add more staff to ensure additional one-on-one therapy time and attention to individual clients.

“We hire based on enrollment,” said Vasuda. “The typical case load for a consultant is anywhere from 8-15 children max. We are already growing past that. The staff I work with is incredible and everyone is a team player. The passion for what we are trying to accomplish is astounding.”

The business also attracted the attention of a local college, and a unique opportunity was presented to Inquiring Minds upon its opening.

“A partnership with the University of Alabama in Huntsville just kind of fell into my lap,” said Vasuda. “It has allowed us to be yet another option for children looking for therapy and training.”

The team currently offers after-school therapy and consulting for the PALS (Preschool Autism Language & Social Skills) program at the RISE School in addition to their day-to-day operations.

The Inquiring Minds Mission:

 “We aim to deliver exceptional, comprehensive, and culturally-sensitive, one-on-one care through education, acceptance, and evidence-based interventions to enhance the well-being and lifestyle of individuals and families living with autism and related developmental disorders.”

Becoming A Resource

More than anything else, Vasuda said that Inquiring Minds wants to be a resource for anyone looking for ABA services.

“Never be afraid to reach out and see how you can help improve the life of your child or loved one,” said Vasuda. “If we can’t provide the appropriate service, we will point you to someone in the area who can. There are many options out there, and we are here to help you find them.”

For more information on Inquiring Minds, click here. You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram for updates.

 Contact Vasuda and the team directly by email at admin@inquiringmindsbds.com.

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HALEY CLEMONS
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CRUNKLETON COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE GROUP
HALEY@CRUNKLETONASSOCIATES.COM

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Elitaire Boutique Nominated For 2017 Emerging Small Business Of The Year

On August 15th, the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber will honor the success of small businesses and individuals that have made an impact on the community with an Awards Celebration. One of the contenders, Elitaire Boutique, was nominated for Emerging Business of the Year.

The women’s boutique opened in October 2016 at The Garage at Clinton Row and has quickly grown into a Downtown Huntsville favorite. The shop’s success is evident as it reached another milestone—a nomination for one of the Chamber’s prestigious awards.

We recently sat down with Kayla Adams, owner of the elegant boutique, to discuss the nomination, coming events at the shop, and what she thinks makes for a winning business.

How does it feel to be nominated for this award?

We are very humbled, excited, nervous—all of these feelings! But ultimately, we are grateful and honored to be nominated alongside all the other fabulous small businesses. Being a finalist is already a win for us.

Tell me a bit about the 2017 Small Business Awards.

Like I said, just being nominated is a big deal to us. Every year, the Chamber honors businesses in several categories; we were nominated for Emerging Business of the Year.

The 32nd Annual Small Business Awards Celebration will happen at the Von Braun Center on August 15th. I am really looking forward to honoring the amazing businesses that have thrived in the Huntsville area. Everyone is a winner in my book.

What do you believe makes for a successful business?

First and foremost, I believe that you have to offer excellent customer service. Without our customers’ support, we wouldn’t have made it past the first day. Providing them with our absolute best is something we continually strive for.

Secondly, you need an amazing, unique product offering. All of our brands are new to the Huntsville area. We want customers to be able to find something exquisite and exclusive without sacrificing style or quality.

And last, but not least, I truly believe in community over competition. This is the mindset in which my husband and I have built Elitaire. It’s also the second reason why our brands are new to the area. As a small business owner, I don’t want to carry a brand that is already being represented in Huntsville by another small business.

I focus on providing something different and giving our customers more shopping options in our city. By doing this, we are also able to refer our customers out to other stellar, local boutiques in Huntsville. This encourages them to keep shopping local.

What do you think customers love about your shop?

I think our customers love our store because it offers women the chance to find their own sophisticated style and feel beautiful—but with unique, high-quality clothing you can’t find anywhere else in town.

We will always be a store that is classic and sophisticated, but we love adding an unexpected, eclectic edge that makes our customers feel avant-garde. We want our customers to leave with a certain “je ne sais quoi” they can’t find anywhere else.

Speaking of customers, do you have any events lined up for them in the near future?

Yes! We are having a free pop-up yoga event coming up on the last Saturday in July. It’s a great way to unwind in a beautiful space with friends. We offered the same event earlier this year and it was a huge success.

In the Fall, we will also have jewelry trunk shows. And stay tuned for a fashion show (or two)! We have a few other surprises up our sleeves that I can’t announce quite yet, but just know it will be an experience you won’t normally find in a retail store.

You said you have several unique brands available. Are there any you’d like to highlight?

I come from a nonprofit background, so it’s very important to me that we give back in any way we can—we do that through our “Purpose Brands” that we carry in the store and online.

The Shine Project

The first is called The Shine Project. This nonprofit helps America’s inner-city youth become first-generation college graduates. These students not only make the jewelry, bags, and screen-printed tees we carry, but they also help in the design and selling process. They even answer the phone when I call customer service! These kids are learning excellent communication skills and work ethic that will help with employment in the future.

FashionABLE

Another “Purpose Brand” we carry is called FashionABLE. Their motto is, “It is widely known that if we are to end extreme poverty two things must happen. One, we must create jobs for those lacking opportunity, and two, we must do so for women.”

This is the gap that FashionABLE has been helping—women who have been victims of extreme poverty, abuse, and human trafficking in Nashville, Ethiopia, and Peru. These women hand-make beautiful pieces of jewelry, leather goods, and clothing—and they are all original.

E.S.CO

E.S.CO is owned by Emma Steelman who is a local, self-taught silversmith and artist. She hand-makes each piece of jewelry out of silver or gold and also uses hand-selected real stones in her design. You will never find two pieces that are alike.

We feel it’s important to support local artists and businesses, and we are always looking to showcase that talent in our store.

What do you love about your job?

Honestly, I love everything about it. But I love my customers the most. The people I am able to meet through this career and the relationships that have grown from it are priceless to me.

We love to provide customers with the best shopping experience possible, so we will always be listening and adapting to what they want while providing our best customer service.

You will always be greeted with a smile when you walk into Elitaire Boutique.

Check out the FULL LIST of award contenders here.

 And stay tuned to Elitaire’s Facebook page for more updates from the shop. Or follow them on Instagram @elitaireboutique.

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HALEY CLEMONS
MARKETING COORDINATOR
CRUNKLETON COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE GROUP
HALEY@CRUNKLETONASSOCIATES.COM

Innova Primary Care: Leading The Way In Patient-Centered Health Care

“Providing quality medical care is about more than prescribing medications and performing procedures,” explained Brooke Uptagrafft, Medical Director of Innova Primary Care. “It’s about making patients feel valued and going much deeper than what society considers to be the standard for primary health care.”

With the dream of leading the way in patient-centered medical care, Dr. Brooke Uptagrafft and husband David Uptagrafft have relocated Innova Primary Care to a newly renovated building on Chateau Drive in the heart of Huntsville.

“We were out of room at our previous location,” said David Uptagrafft, Director of Operations. “We have a lot of plans down the road for offering more services, and this space gives us the ability to do just that.”

The new facility will allow the practice to focus on the needs of individual patients through faster service, increased one-on-one time, health coaching, and more.

Brooke and David also shared some exciting news. Innova is now an officially recognized PCMH (Patient-Centered Medical Home) Level 3 practice.

“The PCMH recognition is pretty unique to the Huntsville area,” said David. “This recognition points to our ability to provide the highest quality care while reducing costs, improving patient-staff relationships, and putting patients at the forefront of importance. It’s a reform in health care delivery that supports the shift to value-based care.”

But the pursuit of creating a better primary care experience in Huntsville began earlier in 2011 when Brooke and David moved back to the area and Dr. Brooke accepted a position at a local practice.

A Brief History of Innova

After Brooke completed her residency, the couple decided to return to Huntsville—their hometown—in order to be closer to family. After looking at practices in and around the area, they were contacted by Dr. Tim Howard and Dr. Michael Carter for an interview. In October 2011, Dr. Brooke joined Gleneagles Family Medicine.

“It was a wonderful place to start,” said Brooke. “In 2013, Dr. Howard decided to retire. So that meant there was another influx of patients. We experienced rapid growth from then on and officially launched the BrookeMD Primary Care brand in 2016.”

After several conversations, Dr. Carter and BrookeMD decided to officially divide the practices. The team successfully shared the space at Gleneagles Drive for a year. But as BrookeMD continued to grow, the need for additional space could not be ignored.

“We looked at all kinds of options,” remarked Brooke. “But when we found this building, we knew it was what we needed. So, we purchased it and began remodeling.”

In January 2017, BrookeMD Primary Care rebranded itself to Innova Primary Care to represent a team-based mentality and rebirth at its new location.

An Innovative Space

“This new space means patients are going to be getting back to rooms even faster,” said Brooke. “We already have short wait times, but this change means we will have more space to place guests into a room, freeing up providers to spend more time with patients without feeling time crunched.” She also said the space would make more services possible later this year.

“We have added a Care Coordinator to the team, and a Health Coach is coming later in the fall,” she said. “We will be doing a lot of patient education right in the exam rooms without having to schedule them to come back at a later date or call them on the phone.”

As a primary care facility, the space had to serve many functions—one of which was enabling a comfortable space for staff and providers to have conversations with their patients.

“The functionality and form of the space were vital in our effort to make care more personalized and emotionally safe for our guests,” said David. “We didn’t want our facility to be intimidating or dehumanizing, we wanted to create something that would encourage and empower patients to be an active voice in their healthcare.”

At Innova, every exam room is equipped with comfortable chairs and a cafe table where patients can view their medical records on the computer monitor with their provider.

Image courtesy of Innova Primary Care.

In addition to more spacious and functional exam rooms, the new facility also features consultation rooms that serve as a safe space for patients and staff to discuss any health concerns or have new patient orientations. David also mentioned the importance of technology within the new facility that makes operations run smoother.

“Technology is a big component of what we do,” he said. “The model for health care is changing rapidly, and we provide our patients with tools that make the process of receiving quality care much easier.”

Patient Empowerment Through Technology

In 2014, Innova made Healow—a health and online wellness app—available to patients, allowing clients to book appointments, check in, view lab records, medications, and more. The app is also password protected for enhanced privacy.

“We want our patients engaged,” said Brooke. “Healow is one way to accomplish that. A large number of our patients utilize it, and we continue to see steady growth in its use.” With the expectations for quality medical care shifting, Innova strives to advocate positive change through patient empowerment tools. This includes the adoption of state-of-the-art technology.

“We have more exciting news regarding our technology at Innova,” teased David. “Stay tuned for future announcements when we share more about an exciting partnership.”

A Passion to Make Patients Feel Valued

Brooke and David carry something into the practice each day that’s worth much more than a functional new building or high-tech medical tools. They have a desire to make everyone involved with Innova feel important and cared for.

“I believe that the world is a broken place,” Brooke urged. “I feel that I am here, and have been given the skills and the experience to try and make the world a little less broken.”

“For some people, Innova is the place they go to feel valued. When they walk out the door, they may not feel it anymore. But when they are at our practice, I want to give them a little piece of that. At Innova, you are cared for—mind, body, and soul.”

To learn more about Innova Primary Care, visit https://innovaprimarycare.com. You can also follow them on Facebook.

For media inquiries or questions about the new location, contact Innova Primary Care Public Relations Coordinator, Morgan Boone, at morgan.boone@myinnovacare.com.

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HALEY CLEMONS
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CRUNKLETON COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE GROUP
HALEY@CRUNKLETONASSOCIATES.COM

Huntsville’s Popular Mason Dixon Bakery and Bistro Goes Regional!

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Image courtesy of Mason Dixon Bakery & Bistro © Andrew Hall Photography

“When you become a customer, you become part of our family.” That’s the business philosophy of Ashley and Taylor Ramirez, owners and creative minds behind Huntsville’s popular Mason Dixon Bakery and Bistro. And very soon, the family will be growing. Mason Dixon will be adding a second location in the Homewood neighborhood of Birmingham!

“We are definitely excited for it,” said Ashley. “We were instantly drawn to the Homewood area, because it’s in a residential community much like the one here in Huntsville’s medical district. Maintaining a strong community involvement is something that we are very passionate about and plan on continuing with our Birmingham customers.”

Selecting the location for the expansion was done with close attention to the needs of its customers. “The mission of Mason Dixon has always been to bring convenience to allergen-friendly foods,” said Ashley. “Huntsville has fully embraced us, more than we ever imagined. But to continue our mission we need to expand. We recognized that we could fill a great need in Homewood, and it’s close enough for us to stay heavily involved with the business.”

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Edgewood Station, a redeveloped service station on Oxmoor Road, will be the home of Mason Dixon in Homewood. A bit larger than its Huntsville counterpart, the Birmingham restaurant will allow for additional seating and parking for its patrons. The store is tentatively scheduled to open at the end of July 2017.

“Homewood customers can expect a modern and industrial vibe at Edgewood Station,” said Ashley. “It’s a rustic repurposing style that we think fits perfectly with the direction our business is headed. The new space will feature stained concrete floors, and we are taking down walls to the cinder blocks. We know customers are going to love it.”

Mason Dixon’s gluten-free goodies are already popular in the Birmingham area. Ashley said that several of its customers at the Huntsville location drive from “The Magic City” just to get their hands on delicious cupcakes, bread and allergen-free fare. Their enthusiasm was one thing that led to the new location and upcoming offerings.

“We are always listening to our customers,” said Ashley. “Which is why we’ve decided to serve Saturday and Sunday brunch at our Homewood location.”

Image courtesy of Mason Dixon Bakery & Bistro © Andrew Hall Photography

Image courtesy of Mason Dixon Bakery & Bistro © Andrew Hall Photography

If that wasn’t enough good news, the restaurant will also be expanding its coffee menu at both locations through a partnership with Honest Coffee Roasters. (The coffee shop will be adding its newest location to Downtown Huntsville at The Garage at Clinton Row soon.) Coffee lovers can officially rejoice!

“This growth is very thrilling for us,” said Ashley. “It’s always scary when you step out and do something edgy, but we’ve discovered there is a great need for what we provide. People in the area do care about what they eat, and they are willing to try new things. I think this progressive mindset will follow us to our Birmingham location.”

Mason_Dixon_Bakery_and_Bistro_HuntsvilleThanks to passion and quality food, Mason Dixon has continued to evolve. Nestled on the corner of Bob Wallace Ave. and Whitesburg Dr. in Huntsville, its flagship store has welcomed customers since 2013 and created a place where people with food allergies and dietary restrictions can indulge worry free. Locals and visitors alike have come to recognize the bakery and bistro as a haven for delectable allergen-free goods.

As their story continues in Birmingham, Ashley has just one thing to say, “I encourage Homewood to put aside any preconceived notions about gluten-free food and give us a try! We think you will be pleasantly surprised.”

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HALEY CLEMONS
MARKETING COORDINATOR
CRUNKLETON COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE GROUP
HALEY@CRUNKLETONASSOCIATES.COM