2015 IW Winners

North Bay | Business of the Year

BioPed - Crystal Kaufman

Crystal Kaufman

Every once in the while, a rare talent comes along that has hit upon the powerful combination of passion, drive and skill.

A calling, a destiny, an objective; call it what you will, they thrive on their unique path and defy conventional wisdom with an incredible quest.

In this case, that credo belongs to Crystal Kaufman and her brainchild business: BioPed North Bay.

At just 35-years-old, in staying true to her self-perpetuating drive for success, the North Bay native with the enigmatic distinction of Business of the Year.

“I don’t see myself as different from anyone else, so it’s very humbling,” said Kaufman. “I think it makes me continue to challenge myself; I’m very hard on myself and set my goals very high, whether it’s be a better boss for my employees or do a better job for my patients.”

Kaufman’s North Bay branch is one of over 75 BioPed satellites throughout the country who specialize in alleviating foot and lower limb pain through the use of custom orthotics, compression stockings, knee and ankle braces and other specialized services.

But that’s where the similarities cease between Kaufman and her counterparts.

In just eight years of operation, Kaufman and her modest team have established themselves as the foremost foot and lower body specialist in the region with unprecedented growth and an ever-evolving approach.

After undergoing a mentorship with BioPed pedorthist Robin White in Sudbury, Kaufman, a Brock University graduate, set her sights solely on creating her own establishment.

White saw a sparkle in Kaufman’s eye, subsequently setting her on a direct path to fulfill that dream.

Building off that strong foundation, Kaufman said there was no question what her next step would be: open a clinic in her hometown.

She launched her venture at just 26-years-old and, unsurprisingly to those in her inner circle, set unprecedented growth levels for an expansion site.

Even in an era characterized by doom and gloom growth forecasts and negative injunctions for young professionals in the North Bay area, Kaufman has unshackled her enterprise from that rhetoric.

“I think my hope has always been that we end up being the go-to place and the premier provider for foot and leg ailments in North Bay, and I would love that because I know they are in good hands,” said Kaufman. “All of the little goals just help me get there.”

In a creative and imaginative way, Kaufman swiftly made a name for herself by overcoming her primary obstacle of building relationships within the medical community and adding value in an otherwise untapped niche.

But beyond that, what does she attribute to the company’s envied growth?

Put simply, it’s the undeniably authentic passion that emanates in the hallways of Kaufman’s headquarters.

“My biggest thing has always been to let the passion show through,” Kaufman explained. “I think if people try to do something they are passionate about, something they believe in, then a lot of the rest takes care of itself.

“Passion almost sells itself, it’s contagious for people,” she added.

Beyond her flagship site in North Bay, Kaufman makes frequent trips to her satellite locations in New Liskeard and Huntsville, the latter being her primary focus for immediate growth and improvement.

Kaufman has also turned the tables and stepped into the mentorship role that helped her forge her path early on.

After advancing through her apprenticeship, Kaufman’s first mentee moved to Sault Ste. Marie and opened her own BioPed location with Kaufman as her business partner.

Just last Fall, Kaufman took on another pedorthist to-be, allowing her North Bay location to balance two full-time pedorthic schedules.

But overall, her proven success within the BioPed franchise is an important reminder for aspirational entrepreneurs and, more specifically, those within the Northern Ontario business community.

“I think I have to go above and beyond because there still is a lot of competition in North Bay,” said Kaufman.

“When the plate is full, I’ll just reach for a larger one.” IW

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