Article originally published by the Northland Foundation in their Winter 2022 Business Services Update.
After 18 years as a licensed physical therapist assistant in Minnesota and Wisconsin, Debbie Merrick wanted to reach clients in a different, more holistic setting than the more clinical sites where she had previously worked.
In 2019, she launched In Harmony Reiki and Inner Wellness and in 2021 opened In Harmony Wellness Center at 5628 Grand Avenue in the West Duluth neighborhood’s thriving business district. The studio is located in a historical building with original hardwood floors and exposed brick.
Her years in physical therapy along with Master Level Reiki and Life Coach Certifications have given Merrick a unique skill set to serve a diverse population, meeting them where they are to help guide them to strategies and techniques for stress reduction and healthy outlooks for physical, mental, and spiritual wellness.
While she had established her service business, Merrick searched for technical assistance to help her move her enterprise to the next level. She worked closely with Vicki Hagberg of the Northland Small Business Development Center and when the time came for financing assistance, Merrick applied to the Northland Foundation for a business loan to get her studio up and running.
In the stress and uncertainty of a pandemic-impacted world, In Harmony has a wide variety of wellness options for all ages and backgrounds. These include yoga, reiki energy healing, life coaching, workshops, and much more. Individuals and groups alike can take advantage of regular services, as well as special events. Among workshops and individual sessions on tap are instruction in posture, body mechanics, stretching, and safe functional movement specific to seasonal activity like snow shoveling — something northern Minnesotans can definitely use at this time of year!
“Opening a new location in the middle of a pandemic has been challenging, but the people who connect with us are happy to have found us and are excited about using other services, too,” explains Merrick, who continues to build what is offered at In Harmony, such as recently added qigong classes which is a Chinese practice of guided movement, breathing, and exercise. She also opens the studio to community members to drop in for coffee and conversation on Saturday mornings, as well as rents out the space to others.
This motivation to help people live their best life comes from Merrick’s own personal journey and wanting to offer clients a more individualized, accessible, and simpler process to achieve their wellness goals.
“In Harmony is about guiding us to balance in our lives, and that includes being in community with one another. It’s time to listen to ourselves and to each other again. That is what I’m here to facilitate,” she says.
With some flexible financing and small-business guidance, Debbie Merrick has created a new destination for people seeking an integrated approach to a balanced and healthful lifestyle.
“We are thrilled to partner with Debbie and play a small part in her success, tapping U.S. Department of the Treasury CDFI Rapid Response funds to assist small businesses like In Harmony with the capital to sustain and grow,” stated Michael Colclough, Business Services Director.