White House Author
Kathryn Vercruyssen, Owner, Comfort Keepers of North Idaho. While dealing with the personal challenges of caring for their aging grandparents, Tom and Kat Vercruyssen recognized the need for a company that provided services to seniors in their own homes. In 2000, they started Comfort Keepers of North Idaho, a business that provides in-home services to seniors. The company began in leased office space with four employees. Tom managed the financial aspects of the business while Kat handled the marketing responsibilities. In 2004, Tom suffered a fatal heart attack, leaving Kat to run the company on her own. She began attending business classes at North Idaho College’s Small Business Development Center and receiving individualized business coaching from an SBDC business coach. Seven weeks after her husband died, Kat was diagnosed with stage III cancer. The SBDC coach stepped in and quickly taught Kat the financial aspects of her business, as she was going through her chemotherapy and surgeries. Today, Comfort Keepers owns its headquarters building and maintains additional offices in Sandpoint and Kellogg, Idaho. Comfort Keepers has eight administrative staff and 86 caregivers serving 165 seniors, children with special needs, and disabled persons. In 2010, the company’s revenue was more than $1.6 million.