Goldstein, a licensed acupuncturist and August graduate of the Southwest Acupuncture College in Gunbarrel, said he’s shooting for an early February launch. His 1993 Coachmen Royal 38-foot recreational vehicle already is getting renovated in anticipation.
The business model is straightforward. Goldstein, 28, plans to have a front office on the bus as well as a treatment area with two separate bays. He plans to coordinate with existing health-care facilities, schools, universities, businesses and community centers to park the bus and provide care onsite much as a food truck might serve an office park on select days. He also plans to park the bus at festivals, concerts and sporting events.
Goldstein said his rates will be on a sliding scale, from $40 to $80 for a half-hour session, with patients choosing what amount to pay in that range.
The idea is to make acupuncture more affordable and accessible, while also creating more awareness about alternative health care and acupuncture in particular.
“I know a lot of people who can’t get acupuncture because they can’t afford it or it’s not near them or not around them,” Goldstein said. “I wanted to do something a little bit different and find out if this could work.”
Goldstein, a Nashville, Tennessee, native who moved from there to Israel to south Florida before attending college in Boston, spent time as an environmental educator for a pair of nonprofit organizations in New York. He began acupuncture school in Brooklyn, transferring to Gunbarrel two years ago.
Since graduating, he’s done volunteer work in Guatemala and run a small private practice out of his home while hatching plans for The Acupuncture Bus.
Goldstein is expecting to put about $30,000 in startup costs into the project. That includes $15,000 of his own money. He’s also raised close to $5,000 in pledges through an Indiegogo.com crowdfunding campaign in which he’s seeking to raise a total of $15,000.
Goldstein flew to Seattle last week and purchased his RV for $12,500. He’s working with a contractor to have the inside refinished with wood floors, walls, planters and lighting. He’s having the exterior painted and wrapped with his logo.
There have also been tasks such as purchasing business insurance, which he said has been tricky because of the uniqueness of what he’s doing.
For now, the business is a one-man show. But Goldstein said he’s hoping to be able to hire another acupuncturist to work with him within three to six months after launch.
“It’s been really exciting for me to get to engage in this other part of myself that isn’t just acupuncture,” he said of the entrepreneurial aspect.
Goldstein said he’s hoping eventually to franchise the operation or sell business plans to other operators around the state and nation.
“I feel like if I start to franchise it I might become a business person and not an acupuncturist,” Goldstein said. “But I would love to franchise it. When that happens and how that happens” is to be determined.