Jeanine Chartier is a rare combination of compassion, skill and tenacity, plus she’s a fierce advocate for the elderly. A lifelong resident of Lawton, Iowa, Jeanine is a savvy, caring entrepreneur who has helped improve the quality of life in three Northwest Iowa communities while taking time to mentor others.
Jeanine Chartier had a full-time job as a traveling occupational therapist when she and her husband, Stan, were tasked with looking for an assisted living center for a family member. After an extensive search in the area, they started discussing the idea of opening their own care facility. The couple first sought out the services of the Western Iowa Tech Community College Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in 1998.
The SBDC assisted Jeanine and Stan with the preparation of a business plan and financial projections, plus an SBA 504 loan, for an assisted living facility in Lawton, Iowa. That facility was constructed and opened in 2000 with 37 living units. In 2005 the SBDC again worked with the Chartiers on plans for a similar facility in Holstein, Iowa and it opened in November 2005 with 36 units. In 2011 SBDC assistance was again used for the expansion of the Holstein facility, to include 14 apartment-size assisted living units. The Ridge Senior Living/Assisted Living complex opened in Holstein in 2012.
As a result of the previous success in their two existing facilities, the Chartiers were approached by officials of the City of Manning to open a facility in their town. After doing their due diligence on this opportunity, and again with the assistance of the SBDC and another SBA 504 loan, the Chartiers proceeded with the project in Manning and it opened on June 1, 2016 with 36 units.
Jeanine and Stan are currently working with the SBDC again on an expansion in Lawton that will include a 20 unit memory care facility as well as a separate section with 11 apartment-size units and a 20 unit parking garage.
Jeanine describes her experience with current SBDC Regional Director Todd Rausch and previous SBDC director Jackie Nohr as, “Fantastic! They have given us excellent guidance with our business and steered us toward things we never would have thought of.”
Char-Mac Assisted Living’s three facilities currently employ 70 people, but will add about 25 more jobs when the Lawton expansion is completed. Jeanine and Stan are both employed full-time at Char-Mac along with two of their children. Within the last year, the 2012 addition to the Holstein campus saw full-occupancy in their building. The company’s current payroll is right at $1.5 million and this will increase to $2.5 million when the last expansion is completed. This makes their company one of the top employers in each of the towns where they are located.
Jeanine serves on the Iowa Center for Assisted Living (ICAL) board and does public speaking events in the area. The business also sponsors events at the county fairs. Jeanine has provided countless hours of assistance to the elderly in accessing resources that could assist them in defraying the cost of assisted living services. She has advocated for numerous people to obtain the benefits they are entitled to, especially those who are veterans. It is her knowledge and skill in the industry that has bridged the gap in many situations where the elderly person was not able to gain access to resources they were entitled to.
Quality care and excellence is assured at the Char-Mac facilities. In 2004, 2007 and 2009, Jeanine was chosen as the ICAL Assisted-Living Director of the Year, in 2008 she was chosen as the National Assisted-Living Director of the Year, in 2012 the company won the Venture Award for Rural Development, and in 2015 it won the ICAL Caregiver of the Year Award. In their 16 years of existence, the Char-Mac campuses have also received perfect State of Iowa surveys every year. Next month the company will be presented with the NCAL Quality Bronze Award for their Lawton campus in Nashville, Tennessee.
Jeanine Chartier believes in what she does. She genuinely cares about the residents of the facilities and knows them all personally. She ensures they are cared for the way we would want our loved ones to be cared for. She ensures they retain their independence to the greatest extent possible and live in a way that provides them the greatest possible quality of life, for the greatest possible amount of time. She and her husband, Stan, work together on the management of the business. Jeanine has also mentored a number of her employees, who have been able to gain valuable experience to either advance their careers or go on to further their education.