I have dreamed of owning a spa for most of my professional career. When I would make the time to visit one for a massage, I would be so impacted by the stress-relief and rejuvenation I experienced. My eyes were opened to the importance of holistic and self-care therapies for the overall health and wellness of all people. In 2009, I attended my first seminar and training event for medical spa healthcare professionals. I came back home excited and started looking for properties to open something part time. But life takes twists and turns, and it was not yet in God’s perfect timing for me to proceed. My father died unexpectedly and one week later, we found out we were pregnant after years of trying! The dream of a medical spa was put on hold. One precious baby was followed by another, my husband’s company was rebuilding after the economic crash of 2008, and I knew I needed to stay put for a while.
But the dreams God puts on our hearts do not easily fade away. In 2016, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune liver disease. At times, I felt very poorly and had to seek medical care for myself for the first time in my life (outside of pregnancy). I asked my employer for some alternative working
hours and arrangements, as I believed it was possible to continue to be a good doctor, a good mother and wife, and to take care of my own health, but my request was denied. So, I quit my job. Yes, just like that! I jumped without a parachute, but God had put it so heavy on my heart that it was time to make a change, and I had my husband’s and my family’s support, so I made the leap!
During those in-between years, Erika Smith joined our practice. I was not so sure that I was going to like her. She was always so put together and beautiful, and we just did not connect at first. However, one day I walked in and she was talking about a television show that I loved, and it was on! We became fast friends and found that we both had a burning interest in aesthetic medicine and self-care for our patients! When I decided to make the change, I knew who my partner in this journey would be!
The first building we looked at for our first home in Bremen was “entirely too big.” After all, it would just be the two of us seeing patients. We would not need a great deal of space! But after looking at several other properties, and talking to the listing agent on multiple occasions, and even an impromptu Sunday morning prayer meeting at the space, we went with the “entirely too big” office! Renovations quickly took place, and I mean quickly, with my stepfather leading the way, and we were ready to open in early September 2017!
In the first three months of opening, there was a small fire in the building, a tornado that came through the parking lot (and right behind my car that I had just parked and was still sitting in!), and an ice storm that closed us down for a few days, but we will still growing at a rapid-fire pace– so much so that we hired another provider in November of 2017! I could write about all the graces and favors God showed us in those first weeks and months, and he continues to shower them on us to this day! From the lady at the Medicare office who told me over the phone she knew what 3:16 stood for so she was going to pass our application that day without the standard 90 day delay, to the fact that we had a small IT issue that kept us in the building later than planned the night of the fire, God opened doors at every angle for us.
By spring of 2018, we were out of space! My mother said one day, “I wish that little house next door would come available so we could rent it for office space,” and I kid you not, the man moved out that weekend. We rented the “Little Blue House” next door and stretched our legs a little. We hired more providers and again, ran out of space within a few months. I called my good friend, the mayor of our town, to see if she had any ideas about where we could perhaps move the spa; we would keep family medicine at the original building, and just move the spa to a location nearby. As it turns out, the city owned a big, beautiful, turn-of-the-century home directly across the street from us that they had just been discussing a need to do something with other than let it sit. We were able to lease this space and with minor renovations, moved the spa over there in May of 2019!
We continued to grow and prosper! God blessed us, and we hired more people, added more services, expanded our offerings on both sides, and continued to work in our community. With filling schedules and a growing staff, we felt it was time to stretch our wings to a nearby community. We opened an additional Spa 3:16 location in Carrollton, Georgia, just three weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down of March 2020. The timing in our eyes was awful, but God continued to provide, and by the fall of 2020, we were ready to grow yet again! 3:16 Family Medicine opened it’s Carrollton location in November of 2020 adding three more healthcare providers, including a pediatric nurse practitioner, to our fold!
What started as a staff of eight, including Erika and myself, has grown to a staff of well over one hundred with dozens of healthcare providers and ten locations in just six short years! If there is anything I have learned, it is that “we can make our plans, but the Lord establishes our steps.” (-Proverbs 16:9) My hope is that 3:16 Healthcare will continue to grow, prosper, and impact communities all over the Southeast, but what I know is that God will direct our steps, He will open doors and make paths straight, and we will serve Him and praise Him for all that He has done for us. We will love His people, all people, and do the best we can to improve the health and quality of life of all who we encounter!
In His Love,
Dr. Allison K. Key