NORTH ADAMS -- Melissa Bryce of Clarksburg worked as a certified nursing assistant for 14 years at a retirement living community, before seeing a need for additional in-home support services in northern Berkshire. The idea occurred to her when the residents and families she worked with began hiring her for additional help.
"At this point I knew there were people wanting extra services," she said.
Bryce started At Home TLC, a referral-based business that helps seniors rehabilitate in their home, in 2007. After almost six years working out of her home, she recently moved the business into a new space at 10 Holden St. The storefront gives her more room and a greater presence, she said, and allows her to manage 14 full-time employees, including a registered nurse.
The business offers a wide variety of services, from rehabilitation to personal care, housekeeping assistance, meal preparation, and end-of-life care. Bryce says each client is given extra special attention.
"We have specific services we do, but we're flexible," Bryce said, adding that every new client is carefully matched up with a caregiver, as every case is different.
Many of her clients are referred to her from doctors, she said.
JoAnn Muir, of Williamstown, whose mother-in-law is a client of At Home TLC, said she and her husband, Robert, are happy with their experience. Muir said Bryce's services are used to supplement what her mother-in-law's nursing home provides.
"We feel wonderful about the care she's received," Muir said. "They're able to keep a watchful eye and provide companionship."
Bryce said supporting families is one of the most important roles her business plays and that many of her employees have become part of the families they serve.
"It provides peace of mind," she said. "The family knows someone will always be there to help. It's hard to be a caregiver and a family member at the same time."
The U.S. Small Business Administration and the Williamstown-based Custom Business Solutions helped give her direction when she decided to move to Holden Street.
"Our success as a referral based business is due to the professionalism of the staff and their commitment to our clients and their families," Bryce said.
As for the new space on Holden Street, she said while it has been an adjustment, the move has been worth it. As her business grew, it became more important to separate her work life from her home life. Moving close to Main Street has brought more attention to her business.
"We have a lot of people walking by and stopping in for information," Bryce said. "We've been able to bring about more awareness in the community."
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