West Seattle business: Volleyball ace prepares to open BioJunction

Story and photos by Stephanie Chacharon
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

Lora Clothier is getting ready to open her own business; but first, she has a championship to win.

She’s come a long way since taking up the game of volleyball at age 12. After playing ball for Eastern Washington University’s Division I program, Lora has continued to build her skills both on the court and in the sand. During the indoor season, she plays through USA Volleyball (USAV), one of the world’s leading organizations for the sport.

Today, Lora is flying to Dallas, where she’ll join other elite players for the 2011 USAV Open Championships. The tournament marks the end to her indoor-season involvement — when she returns home, she’ll switch focus to her beach game, which she says is her new favorite.

But it won’t be just beach volleyball that’s on her mind when she’s back home in West Seattle. Come mid-summer, Lora’s first entrepreneurial venture, BioJunction Sports Therapy, will open for business at Charlestown Center (on the NW corner of SW Charlestown and California SW).

The clinic will occupy the long-vacant ground-floor corner unit of the building, directly below West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor). Lora, an experienced physical therapist who specializes in outpatient orthopedic physical therapy, has big plans for the clinic. “I want to do it right,” she told WSB. “I love working with people, and I love making people better.”

If construction — which starts next week — goes as planned, Lora plans to open on July 6 (with a stretch date of August 1).

Though the clinic is geared toward a more active clientele, it will treat conditions ranging from sports injury to random back pain and will also specialize in custom orthotics. Therapy at BioJunction will be based on function — Lora uses few machines with patients, relying mostly on free weights and movements. This method helps enable compliance by teaching patients exercise routines that they can easily duplicate at home. Lora believes in one-on-one care and direct patient interaction. Patients will work directly with a physical therapist, rather than an assistant, in a setting that Lora envisions as fun and high-energy. “I think that a customer is happy when their PT is happy,” Lora told us. “I really want to make this a fun environment…because I think that helps out the patients.”

As Lora walked us through the space, gesturing toward taped outlines on the floor to represent planned placements, it’s clear that BioJunction intends to grow. “For now, it will just be me,” explains Lora, noting that she wants to hire another physical therapist by the end of the year and ultimately expects to employ four or five PTs.

Prior to opening her own clinic, Lora worked for more than eight years at G2 Sports Therapy in North Seattle, and she recently wrapped up an interim contract with the Pro Sports Club in Bellevue. She got her start at Eastern Washington University, where she earned a degree in exercise science while playing volleyball. Lora later received her doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Puget Sound.

Lora credits her husband as the inspiration behind the decision to create her own practice, adding that they live close to the space and like the location. Her husband will provide more than just moral support: he’ll also help run the clinic’s business operations.

Asked about her clinic’s name, Lora explained that she wanted to operate under a unique, distinctive banner. After eliminating other contenders, she settled on a word that combines location (the clinic is between Admiral and Alaska Junctions) and specialty, hence BioJunction. “Where life comes together,” Lora explained.

The fact that the clinic shares a building with West Seattle Runner is a happy coincidence, but one that Lora hopes to make the most of. At G2, Lora made monthly visits to a Green Lake-area running store to consult with customers, and she envisions doing the same with her upstairs neighbor. “It’s great for both of us,” she says of the common location. “There will be a lot of play back and forth, I think.”

While the exact integration is to be determined, Lora also plans to incorporate her love of volleyball into the practice. Her history with the sport is extensive, and her mastery of the sport is impressive. “I’m very tied into the volleyball community,” she says, citing her work for the past three years as a conditioning instructor for the Cascade Volleyball Club, as well as her involvement with local school teams.

“I’m really excited to be in West Seattle,” Lora told us. “I’ve lived here the last two years, and I love this community. I’m really excited to start my own business and get to meet more people in the community.”

4 Replies to "West Seattle business: Volleyball ace prepares to open BioJunction"

  • FrenchyFrench May 31, 2011 (11:57 am)

    Lora is awesome! She has helped our daughter with sports injuries, and is great! Wonderful, gentle demeanor. She is very patient, and easy to understand / follow. A welcomed addition to West Seattle! Nice to have an expert in the neighborhood, finally!

  • Lori McConnell May 31, 2011 (12:53 pm)

    Congratulations, Lora!! Welcome, we are very excited to have your expertise right in the same building!!

  • yo May 31, 2011 (1:12 pm)

    Best of luck to you Lora. As a small business owner, I know how exciting and expensive it is to star up. I wish you much success – rent there is expensive – my guess is $5,00+ per month.
    Anyway, welcome to the neighborhood!

  • JayDee May 31, 2011 (7:20 pm)

    I think this is a good example of business clustering: Anytime Fitness, West Seattle Runner, and Biojunction Sport Therapy. OK, the hair stylists are an outlier, but I think this bodes well for all three businesses. Good luck Lora — Next time I go too hard at the gym, maybe I can just limp down the stairs…

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