This weekly series explores the customer aspect of small businesses, both from the customer's and business owner's perspective. If you have a small business you'd like to share, please email me.

A rare standard of care passed down through the generations of this family-owned chiropractors' office proves that honesty is the best medicine.


: Rick Otto, 54, general manager of a hazardous-waste facility

Hooked On

: Peltzman Chiropractic Association, Matawan, N.J.


How did Peltzman Chiropractic hook you?


: I had been injured on the job on a Saturday. A chiropractor who was closer to my home couldn't see me for a week and a half. Then I called

Dr. Peltzman out of the blue, and he said to come right in. I've been going there ever since. My wife and daughters go, too.

I've been going to the chiropractor on and off since I was 12 years old. In all my years, they're the only chiropractor I've seen that when they feel they really can't help you anymore they will recommend you do something else. They tell it like it is and will even do research for you.

What kind of image are they projecting to customers?

Customer-friendly and user-friendly. They want to do what's best to help you ... either through them or someone else. They're very flexible with appointments and hours. I can call them right now and say I need to come in this afternoon.

I think it's their family upbringing ... with the attitude that you're there

primarily to perform a service to help people.

What irks you about similar businesses in chiropractic medicine?

They're the complete opposite of what the Peltzmans are. Some chiropractors say they can cure everything and anything. The Peltzmans don't talk junk. They're not there to lead you on and make you pay.

Valerie Peltzman, who owns Peltzman Chiropractic with her two brothers, Steve and Jeff, made time to speak with

between appointments. The Peltzman siblings, all chiropractors, took the business over from their father, Leonard Peltzman, when he moved the practice out of his house and into the current office 20 years ago. Valerie estimates start-up costs at that time amounted to about $30,000. Today the office is grossing about $175,000 per year.


Why are your customers so loyal?


: I think most of

our appeal to people is because of my father's name and that we're honest.

My brothers and I grew up seeing my father working form home and taking care of lots of people. I remember people calling him in the middle of the night. That's why we decided to go into it.

People told me they get the runaround with other chiropractors. We want to make a living and went to school for a long time, but we're not taking advantage from the standpoint of billing.

How do your customers see you?

We try to spend quality time with people. Sometimes customers even see us as friends. They say I probably don't want to hear about their personal lives, but think how boring my job would be otherwise.

How do you differentiate yourselves from other chiropractic firms?

We have the latest equipment. We just got a decompression therapy system that takes a lot of pressure off of inflamed nerves and has been successful in treating disc problems.

Do you rely on advertising?

For lack of a better word, advertising is kind of cheesy. A lot of firms rely on advertising, but

for us it's mostly word of mouth.

What are your plans for the future?

We are finishing our basement for a rehabilitation center.

It will be finished definitely before the summer is over.

What advice can you give to other chiropractors looking to start their own practices?

It's a tough field. I don't know if I could have done it on my own if I didn't have my father's business to fall back on. Start-up costs are hard to get around. Have a special niche, like we do with disk-related problems. Be honest and try to keep your reputation.