A chiropractic foundation
Nick first became familiar with chiropractic as a teenager when he sought
relief from the low back injuries he’d received as a basketball and football athlete.
His chiropractor was Scott Zollman, D.C., a 1989 Davenport campus graduate.
“He was very inspirational,” said Nick, who graduated from Palmer’s Davenport campus
in 2004. “One day he said, ‘Have you ever thought about becoming a chiropractor?’”
Nick took his chiropractor’s advice very seriously and started preparing for a
future in chiropractic. He started this process while attending Simpson College
in Indianola, Iowa. “In college, I went into biology so that I’d have a good
science background,” he said.
Nick then enrolled at Palmer College of Chiropractic’s Davenport campus.
Early on, he understood that he wanted to operate his own chiropractic clinic.
Building a future together
About this time, during a philosophy class, Nick heard a presentation on Davenport’s
chiropractic technology program. When he talked about this presentation
with Jill, whom he was dating long-distance, the two of them soon realized that
they could work together not only in the same field, but in the same practice.
With a new career goal in mind, Jill earned an associate’s degree in business
administration and sales and marketing at the AIB College of Business in Des
Moines, Iowa. She then enrolled at Palmer’s Davenport campus to earn her
Associate of Science in Chiropractic Technology degree.
“I chose to do my internship at the Burt Clinic of Chiropractic,” Jill said of the
clinic in Walcott, Iowa. It counts among its staff the husband and wife team of
Mickey Burt, D.C., Davenport ’73 and Karla Burt, as well as sons Chad Burt, D.C.,
Davenport ’01, and Brad Burt, D.C., Davenport ’02. Upon her graduation, the
clinic offered Jill a part-time position.
“Honestly, if I hadn’t worked there, I would have been completely lost once we
opened here,” said Jill, adding that she often finds herself handling procedures
at her own office similarly to how they were dealt with at the Burt Clinic.
Nick also sees the value of Jill’s association with the Burt practice. “It was a very
good clinic to have as a role model,” said Nick, who also spent time there getting
advice from all of the Burt doctors. “It gave me direction to say, ‘I want to be like
It was with Dr. Brad Burt, in fact, that Nick discussed in depth his idea of starting
a practice of his own, even though he didn’t have any sort of patient base. “I
asked, ‘Do you think this is right?’” recalled Nick. “Dr. Burt said, ‘Don’t think of
today, think of tomorrow. Think of your future. It’s not about today.’”
Nick started working on his future immediately
after he began his preceptorship in Marcus,
Iowa. While there, he developed a business
plan and acquired a loan. Creating a business
plan is something he believes all aspiring chiropractors
When it came time to decide where Nick and Jill’s
practice should be located, they decided on the
small town of Hinton, Iowa.
“It’s a good place to raise a family,” said Jill, “as well as close to our families.”
Hinton is midway between LeMars, Iowa, and Sioux City, Iowa, the towns
in which Nick and Jill, respectively, grew up.
Personal benefits aside, Hinton also offered a key economic advantage in that
it did not yet have a chiropractor.
Starting a practice from the ground up
The next factor the couple considered was whether to buy an existing building
and convert it into a clinic or build an entirely new facility.
“We decided that if we were going to spend money renovating something that
wasn’t very visible,” said Nick, “we might as well go a bit further and produce
something that’s of excellent quality and visible to more people.”
The location the Holtons selected is situated along U.S. Route 75, a major
thoroughfare between LeMars and Sioux City, which in 2004 had a projected
daily traffic flow of 16,000 cars. Today, that same road is being widened to
handle even more traffic between Omaha and Minneapolis.
Not long after Nick graduated from Palmer’s Davenport campus in February 2004,
his business plan had become a reality.
“He graduated in February, we got married in April and we opened the business
in June,” said Jill.
Building a patient base
Today, two years after opening, the Holton
clinic has nearly 500 patients, due in part to
its great location.
And as the Holton Clinic of Chiropractic has
found a place in Hinton, Nick has found a
place for himself there, too. Along with being
the town’s high school football team chiropractor,
he’s also been a guest at the school’s annual
During one career day, a student who heard him
speak was so impressed with chiropractic that
she plans on becoming a chiropractor herself.
From business plans to floor plans
Speaking from their own experience, the
Holtons advise others who want to build a
chiropractic office of their own to stay focused.
“Just have a plan,” said Nick. “You’ll get there
if you just keep your vision. Once you’ve
reached a goal, set another one. Once you
reach that goal, set another one. You just have
to keep going forward.”
In the same way, Jill believes that even though
it’s challenging to start a new business, the
benefits of opening a chiropractic clinic are
well worth all of the struggles.
“Keep in mind what you’re in this profession
for,” adds Jill. “Keep in mind what you’re going
to school for and what you’re trying to do in
helping people improve their lives.”