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Gillette growing in Bemidji: Specialty healthcare firm opens Paul Bunyan Drive location

Physician and community outreach liaison Lynn Carpentier, center, speaks with visitors Wednesday during an open house for Gillette Children's Bemidji Clinic. They were viewing the room in the clinic where medical accessories are manufactured. (Jordan Shearer | Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- A specialty children’s healthcare firm is expanding in Bemidji.

Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare unveiled a new clinic Wednesday, which has more space and will be open more frequently than their old facilities.

Employees led tours, chatted with well-wishers, and cut a slender yellow ribbon in front of their business’ sign on Paul Bunyan Drive to mark the occasion as the press snapped photos.

Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare helps children with complex medical needs that stem from conditions such as cerebral palsy or spina bifida; they also cater to adults who developed those sorts of conditions as children.

In Bemidji, that means check-ups and fittings for custom-made prosthetics or orthotics, which staff tailor in the basement of their new building. That could mean a patient with a club foot might get an orthotic designed to slowly correct it, and staff schedule regular meetings and adjust the orthotic as needed. Or another patient might get a “cranial cap” to treat their plagiocephaly, wherein a part of a child’s skull flattens out.

“Working with kids, you get a really good fit and then they grow,” Kathy Molina, a certified orthotist prosthetist at the clinic, said. The new building has much more space for the equipment she uses to shape (and reshape) patients’ orthotics.

The new spot, located at 505 Paul Bunyan Drive NW, is formerly the site of Counselor Realty in Bemidji, which has moved to Paul Bunyan Drive SE.

Gillette employees hope the new location will give Gillette a firmer “presence” in Bemidji. It’s scheduled to be open for appointments twice a week and see about 35 to 40 patients per month. Before, staff leased a space that was only open a handful of times each month and saw about 25 patients.

Joe Bowen

Joe Bowen covers education (mostly K-12) and American Indian affairs for the Bemidji Pioneer.

He's from Minneapolis, earned a degree from the College of St. Benedict - St. John's University in 2009, and worked at the Perham Focus near Detroit Lakes and Sun Newspapers in suburban Minneapolis before heading to the Pioneer.

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