It was a phone call in the small hours of the morning no business owner ever wants to receive. “The building’s on fire,” the security staff member told Ken Macdonald. What followed that night, when Ken saw the clinic he’d founded 25 years earlier engulfed in flames, was months of stress for him and his wife, Julia.
KM SURGICAL LTD.
Instead of letting the arson end KM Surgical, Ken and Julia decided to turn the setback into an opportunity. After a two year process of hard work and headaches, they opened KM Surgical on Christchurch’s Bealey Avenue, in a brand new building they’ve called Avenue Health.
The fire — which turned out to be arson — was a month before Christmas 2013. KM Surgical had ten staff and bookings to be honoured so the call was made to work from Ken and Julia’s home until a temporary practice could be organised. “It was more stressful than the earthquakes,” Julia recounts. “I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Financially, it was a major setback and that’s not to mention the hundreds of hours dealing with it cost us. It was stressful for our staff too; two of them left because of the stress.”
Since reopening, KM Surgical has been growing steadily and Julia says the clinic — which specialises in dermatology and cosmetic treatments — is about to enter a very high growth phase, fueled partly by a growing acceptance of cosmetic treatments. “Botox is far more acceptable than it used to be and people are now coming through the front door instead of the back door. The stigma is definitely dying.” “The latest trend in cosmetic surgery is transferring your own body fat into the buttocks or breast areas and lots of men now realise they can get breast reductions done with little downtime.”
Today, the clinic has 18 staff — almost double what it had when the fire happened — so the business has well and truly overcome the hurdle the arson created. Leech & Partners has been by KM Surgical’s side throughout the whole process. “Leech & Partners took care of all the fire insurance; they were excellent in a time of stress and frustration for Ken and I. Chris and his team have been extremely committed and are always available to provide sound advice as necessary.”