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Duckwall buys gallery space

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Longtime Yellow Springs chiropractor Mark Duckwall has recently purchased the building that formerly housed the Shirley/Jones Gallery, where he plans to open a new office space this fall.

“I’m excited about the whole thing,” Duckwall said in an interview last week. “I love being back downtown again.”

Along with a location downtown, the new space offers Duckwall more room compared to his current office, which he rents at the Vie Design building. While some of the former gallery’s open area will be remodeled to accomodate examining rooms for himself and his business partner, Erika Grushon, Duckwall hopes to keep a portion of the space open so that the business can offer health-care related programs to the public. The goal date for opening the new office is Nov. 1, he said.

Duckwall purchased the building, located at 235 Corry Street, from Illinois resident John Hawke last week. Hawke had bought the building in 2003 to house the Shirley/Jones Gallery, which was managed by his friends Michael Jones and Karen Shirley. The building had previously been the longtime site for Ehman’s Equipment, whose owner, Burnell Ehman, died in 2003.

Before opening the gallery in 2004, Jones and Shirley had spent a year remodeling, Jones said last week. The renovation was substantial, and the work included a new roof, new windows, new stucco walls and a radiant heat floor, he said.

Consequently, the building is in excellent shape, Duckwall said.

“It’s clean, contemporary and efficient,” he said, adding that Jones “did a great job of providing me with a good space.”

Raised in Dayton, Duckwall moved to Yellow Springs to start his chiropractic business 33 years ago, first setting up shop in the historic red brick Xenia Avenue building owned by Esther and David Battle. He had received his training at the Logan College of Chiropractic in St. Louis, and was amazed to find that the village had no chiropractor at the time.

“It was a no-brainer for me,” Duckwall said of his decision to move to Yellow Springs with his wife, Mary, to raise his children, Matt and Katie.

Duckwall was in the Xenia Avenue building for 12 years before a tractor accident led to the temporary loss of the use of one arm. After several years Duckwall regained the use of his arm and reopened his practice on his property on Grinnell Road. However, he wanted to be back in town again, so he moved to the Vie Design building four years ago, thinking at the time that he would stay a few months before finding a larger space.

Duckwall has been looking since then for a bigger space, he said, and he originally hoped to find one large enough to also house other local wellness practitioners. However, he couldn’t find a large enough space in Yellow Springs, he said. When the Shirley/Jones Gallery space came available, he went for it.

Jones and Shirley had big plans for the gallery after it opened in June 2004. They showed the work of artists of national caliber, Jones said, and hoped to place the work of gallery artists in museums, as well as to develop relationships with regional art collectors. While they succeeded in placing several pieces into museums, including a major sale to the Virginia Fine Arts Museum, they were unable to attract the interest of regional art collectors. They also realized, after facing a family health crisis, that they could continue to represent artists without the responsibility of running a gallery.

“In a nutshell, there were too many things on our plate,” Jones said.

Yellow Springs is an excellent location for a chiropractic business, because villagers have long had an interest in wellness and alternative medicine, an interest that has increased in recent years, according to Duckwall. But even though the level of awareness is high, Duckwall gets most of his business from regional metropolitan areas, including Cincinnati, Dayton and Springfield, with about 29 percent of patients from the village. He would like to increase that percentage, Duckwall said.

Many people have a misperception of what chiropractors actually do and believe that they only work on back problems, Duckwall said. While he and Grushon do treat back issues, that is just a small part of their business, which actually focuses on the spine and nervous system. Chiropractic treatment enables the body’s nervous system to heal itself from all manner of ailments, including headaches and high blood pressure, he said.

“We don’t treat disease, we treat people,” Duckwall said.

Duckwall is a strong advocate of Yellow Springs as a mecca for holistic and alternative medicine, and he supports the recent efforts of the local practitioners who joined together to form the Wellness Association of Yellow Springs, or WAYS. There is still a possibility, after the remodeling of his new building, that he might have space to bring in other local healing practitioners, he said.

Even more exciting than his new building is his family’s involvement in his profession, Duckwall said. Grushon, married to Duckwall’s son, Matt, is his daughter-in-law, and Duckwall’s daughter, Katie, is currently studying at the Logan College of Chiropractic.

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