HOLDREGE — Brandon Smith wants to offer Holdrege-area residents a choice when it comes to their physical therapy needs.

Smith, PT, DPT, will do just that when his new clinic, Holdrege Physical Therapy and Sports Rehab, opens Monday in downtown Holdrege. The clinic at 701 Fourth Ave. Suite No. 1 will offer balance/vestibular therapy, postoperative care, general orthopedic rehab, bracing, work comp services and dry needling.

A ribbon cutting for the business will be 5-7 p.m. Aug. 13 at the clinic and will feature food and drinks. Residents have another chance to see the clinic during Holdrege Area Chamber of Commerce’s Coffee Connection at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 28.

Smith’s passion for physical therapy began when he was in high school in Sidney. He job-shadowed in a physical therapy department and learned the rewards the career could provide.

“I enjoyed the relationships you could build, the one-on-one time. I thought that was fulfilling. You can also give somebody an answer they have been searching for and give them that peace of mind. I found that is the thing that I enjoy the most,” he said.

He majored in athletic training at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and received his doctorate in physical therapy at Des Moines, Iowa, University. Smith has worked as a physical therapist for five years, most recently in Columbus. But Smith and his fiancée, Lucero Murillo, had a desire to return to central Nebraska.

“My fiancée is from Holdrege, went to high school in Holdrege, so it has kind of drawn us back. We enjoy the small-town feel. There is a lot of positive there. Sidney and Holdrege are pretty much the same size. I enjoyed growing up in a town that size,” Smith explained.

He said he always has wanted to be an entrepreneur, and he also wanted to give patients more than one choice for physical therapy.

“A lot of towns this size have two or three physical therapy options. ... It’s great to have a choice. That is the biggest thing. The hospital does a great job, but we also provide a little different model. People like choices, like Apple or Google,” he said.

The new clinic is located in the former Two Rivers Public Health Department location. Smith began renovating the space in June, and he did a large portion of the renovation himself, including demolition and installing drywall.

Opening a business during a pandemic provided opportunities and challenges. With so many people doing renovation projects while under stay-at-home orders, contractors have been kept busy and are hard to line up, Smith said. Ordering products also has proved a challenge due to shipping delays.

But there have been positives, including working with other local businesses and receiving support from the Small Business Association and the government.

Patients can choose Holdrege PT after seeing their doctor, but Smith wants people to know they don’t need a doctor’s referral to see a physical therapist. If someone is experiencing pain, they can visit Holdrege PT for a free assessment.

“If you have any ache or pain, and you just want it looked at, it doesn’t cost anything. Just call, and we will get you in. We will see you, and tell you if you should be referred to a physician or here is the treatment we can do for you,” he said.

Smith will be the only physical therapist at Holdrege PT when it opens, but he plans to bring on another physical therapist in the next year. As he has made connections in Holdrege, Smith is excited to build new relationships and create a brand that is known for quality care.

“(We want to) take away the barrier and help people feel comfortable to come in and trusting our advice,” he said.