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Celebrating Local Businesses During Hispanic Heritage Month:
Rochester Chiropractic Clinic

Q&A with Dr. Yasellyn Diaz-Vega, owner of Rochester Chiropractic Clinic

September 2021

Dr. Yasellyn Diaz-Vega and her husband, Dr. Edwin Diaz-Vega, are the owners of Rochester Chiropractic Clinic (Vega Family Chiropractic). In business for more than 16 years, Rochester Chiropractic Clinic provides holistic care for the entire family, leveraging natural techniques to relieve musculoskeletal pain and other ailments. For more information, call 595.266.2782.

What inspired you to want to be a business owner in Rochester, and how did you get started?

Edwin and I both studied at New York Chiropractic College in Seneca Falls, and both of our internships were in Buffalo. His home has always been Rochester, and we met right before we both graduated, so it made sense to stay close to one of our families. I'm originally from Puerto Rico, and most of my family is still there.

Initially, our intent was to be part of another office, and we started doing some work with another doctor in Buffalo. He told us we were very good and that we were qualified to start our own business. That inspired us. We always dreamt of being entrepreneurs and having our own business, so we decided within that first year after we graduated to start our own business in Rochester. I love the community. People are very friendly. Obviously, there was a big plus because Edwin had family here, so that helped.

It takes a village not only to raise a family, but also to raise a business. - Dr. Yasellyn Diaz-Vega

Please elaborate on your passion and mission.

Our mission is to help families get the best results in healthcare and achieve the best health that is possible for them. We serve all ages, from babies all the way to seniors. I specialize in pediatrics and pregnancy because we want to make sure we bring that type of alternative, holistic care to all members of the family. It's our passion to bring that to our community, and we've been doing it for over 16 years.

Do you have mentors or sources of inspiration and guidance that have helped you along the way?

We find a lot of wisdom on how to be a good person through the Bible. We’re devoted Christians, and we are very rooted in our church community. We’ve also had different mentors along the way in chiropractic medicine and business. They’ve helped us a lot, not only in the good times, but also in the more difficult times, especially when we started experiencing the pandemic.

I could write a whole list of people I’m grateful for. But I have to say that when it came to applying for loans, Carly from ESL was so helpful, down to the silliest questions. The answers were simple, but she had the patience to give them anyway. That's what was important--that non-judgmental patience. Imagine if we had never met her. What if we never had the chance to establish even a little bit of that relationship? I might have felt like she was judging me for not knowing what to do with that application. Then I probably would have given up on doing it. Or I wouldn’t have asked that question, and then I would have done it wrong, missed a deadline and possibly faced even worse repercussions. That's just one example of how relational capital is so important in creating opportunities for business owners.

“Relational capital is so important in creating opportunities for business owners.”

What does it mean to you being a Hispanic business owner?

On its own, being a business owner can be lonely. I feel like, as soon as you decide to become an entrepreneur, you get put on this little island where few people can identify with you. Everything about being a business owner is particular to that lifestyle. We don't depend on a steady paycheck. At any given time, we must think of the next move and plan how we’ll grow our businesses.

And if we add on being a minority to all of that, then it separates you even more. It's like being on that island while also being a rare species of bird, because a lot of individuals of our ethnic group may not decide to become business owners. That might not be their first way of going into a profession.

I don't think that many doors have been closed, but there is a smaller group of people to relate to. We have been part of different groups here in Rochester, and we’ve met amazing and supportive people. They’ve served as role models for us, being both entrepreneurs and Hispanics, and it’s been great to see that, because then we don't feel alone on this little island.

What key impacts have you and your business made so far?

Our work has a great impact on the nervous system when we work with the spine. Besides alleviating physical ailments, we can tap into our sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system, which deals with the way that we handle stress. We can all agree that in this last year and a half, we have been under a tremendous amount of stress. We felt very blessed to be able to help people with that.

But it's not just the fact that they were able to go to work, do what they need to do without pain, and serve the community, because a lot of them were also essential workers. They were also able to go home and then provide and be there for their families, who were also stressed because the kids were in online learning, and they weren't able to see their friends. There was this upheaval in communities and in families. It brought a lot of stress and anxiety, and we feel that it was, again, another type of blessing that we were able to provide some relief for our community.

Describe one situation that left a particular impact on you.

This past year, we interviewed business owners and promoted them on our Facebook platform. We wanted to expose them to our own community of patients and people that we know. Along the way, I think we interviewed about 15 different businesses. We contacted people who had their own companies: restaurants, ice cream places, people who were even selling their own deodorant. We told whoever was watching their interviews to go ahead and invest in these businesses, and then they could get a little discount if they would use a code that we would provide, since we had already placed that money in these businesses for people to use.

It wasn't a lot, but I feel that driving business to these places and getting their names out there would benefit them, and that's what our vision was: a way to help others maintain their businesses. At the end of the day, our business is almost like our child to us. It was very sad to think about how people were about to lose their dreams and hope because of a situation we were all going through. The least we could do was try to help.

What obstacles have you faced as a business owner and how have you overcome them?

Never in our lifetime did we imagine we would experience a pandemic. At first, it was a shock to navigate all the different parts of it. We had the option to remain open because we were considered essential workers. We initially decided to close for several days, sit down and create a plan on how to proceed. We knew that we wanted to stay open to keep providing necessary care. We also wanted to help the healthcare industry by relieving them of cases that we could treat. We didn't want those cases of low back pain, severe migraines and musculoskeletal pain to burden the hospitals.

So we created a plan on how to keep everybody safe, provide the best sanitation and social distancing, and try to keep the office open. It was tricky. There was a point where the suppliers of cleaning products were overwhelmed with orders. We had to call national companies and search far and wide to get everything we needed in order to maintain our standards of sanitation, but we did it. We got it done. And in a way, we look back and we see how there are always options. We just have to look for them.

“There's always options. We just have to look for them.”

What have you learned from your experience as a business owner?

It all starts with us giving first. When we first start a business, sometimes we're into the hustle of getting it going, and we forget that we cannot ask for things if we don't give first. It's so much easier to ask for something when you have already established a relationship, and when you have already given to that person. Whether it's time or advice … it doesn't have to be physical or tangible. Even if it’s words of encouragement and engaging with their social media, it helps build that relationship so when you need it, it’s there. Not that we do things for ourselves, but it does make it easier when you’re down and you’ve got someone there for you … plus, it’s the right thing to do and it helps them, too.

What do you hope to achieve next?

We hope to continue to grow and serve our community at a bigger, better scale. There are a couple of other plans to bring different types of services related to our industry, while expanding upon what we are now. We look forward to continuing to establish different relationships with other businesses to brainstorm and try to figure out how to better serve our community. I think that's important.

What advice can you give to other entrepreneurs and business owners, particularly Hispanic people, who are looking to start their own business?

Obviously, capital is important, as well as having a good business plan. But I think one of the most important things a business owner can do is create relational capital. Make sure you have individuals you can relate to, mentors and other businesses in the community. Even if it's not within your own industry … just find other businesses within the community that you can brainstorm with.

In difficult circumstances, you can come together and figure out a way to help each other. I think that's something that we're not taught in a lot of business classes, and we're not always being told by our mentors, but that's something our experience during this pandemic has made us realize. It does take a village—not only to raise a family, but also to raise a business.