A growing Ashland healthcare company just cut the ribbon on a new Lakeside location.
Companion Extraordinaire Home Care and Skilled Services opened at 5311 Lakeside Ave. on Aug. 1. It’s the second office for the company that offers home healthcare services like companion visits and skilled nursing care.
Dawn Beninghove, a registered nurse, started Companion Extraordinaire out of her Hanover County home in 2003. Since then, she has grown her company from two employees to 112. It has a list of 70 clients and annual gross revenue of $2.5 million.
With the 5,000-square-foot Lakeside space, previously the women’s clothing section of Franco’s Fine Clothiers, Beninghove expects further growth.
“We anticipate, by coming here, we would double in size by next year,” she said.
Beninghove, 55, took out a $50,000 loan to get the new office up and running. She has no investors for the business.
It’s equipped to meet with clients and their loved ones and also has administrative offices and training classrooms. And it recently was licensed for physical, occupational and speech therapy, Beninghove said. The company also offers pastoral care and employs two chaplains.
Beninghove lives in Ashland but grew up in Lakeside. Her father needed home healthcare after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He had one aide he loved, but Beninghove caught another sleeping on the job. That experience led her to start Companion Extraordinaire.
“I honestly didn’t know how to start my own company,” she said. “I called up my two friends and said ‘I think we can do this,’ and they agreed. We sat at my dining room table and wrote up the brochure.”
Beninghove estimates her company will employ 250 people by the end of 2015. Of her current 112-employee roster, about half are full-time and half are part-time. Companion Extraordinaire employs 30 nurses, and Beninghove still makes calls herself.
“The thing that does set us apart is that I have my nurse’s cap on,” she said. “I still go in the field. I do visits.”
Companion Extraordinaire will have some new competition in town. Nurse Next Door, a Canadian home healthcare franchise, is opening its first Virginia location in Richmond.
Beninghove said she plans to open new offices in other communities in the next few years and is considering franchising her concept in the future.
“My whole mindset has changed,” she said. “Now, I am doing the three- and five-year plans.”