Family Tree Thrives at Horton's Orthotics & Prosthetics

by Jan Cottingham  on Monday, Jul. 14, 2014 12:00 am  

Gary Horton was happy when his three children showed an interest in joining the family business, Horton’s Orthotics & Prosthetics, though, he said, he made a point of not trying to sway them. “They just basically all chose to do it.”

That may be because Mike, Tonya and Chris Horton saw what their father saw in the profession: “a rare blend” in the allied health field requiring both technical and clinical skills.

“You’re using hand skills, working with machines, drill presses, bended metal and plastics, but then you also have the clinical aspect, fitting patients and working with physicians, mostly orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons,” Horton said.

Horton’s, in business since 1981, has just opened its fifth location, in North Little Rock. Its headquarters are at its Little Rock site, a 12,000-SF much-added-onto house on West 12th Street, and it also has offices in Fort Smith, Searcy and Bryant.

The company, which started with four employees, now has 25 employees and $3 million-plus in annual revenue.

Gary Horton, founder, CEO and president of Horton’s, first opened his business as an orthotics-only facility, later adding prosthetics. Orthotics deals with the mechanics of supporting weak joints and muscles; a knee or spinal brace is an example. Prosthetics are artificial devices that substitute for a missing part of the body, like a mechanical arm or an artificial leg.

Horton, trained in orthotics, focuses on pediatric orthotics, working with children with scoliosis or spina bifida, for example. He takes particular pride and pleasure in stopping, through the use of bracing, the progression of scoliosis and in seeing his patients not just able to stand upright but able to walk.

Horton’s eldest son, Mike, licensed in both orthotics and prosthetics, heads the prosthetics department for the Little Rock and Searcy locations.

Tonya Horton, the middle child, has a degree in business administration and marketing and is Horton’s marketing director. She also manages the Bryant office and operates Horton Technology, which distributes orthoses designed by her father, and she is certified in fitting mastectomy patients. When Barbara Graves closed her store, Barbara Graves Intimate Fashions, four of her mastectomy fitters moved to Horton’s.

Chris Horton, the youngest son, is also licensed in both orthotics and prosthetics and manages the Searcy office. In addition, Chris works with his father in developing orthotic devices.

All three siblings began working at Horton’s as children, “just like any other family business, mopping and sweeping and such,” Gary Horton said.

She’d come to the office after school, Tonya said. “I don’t know what it was, but I wanted to come up here and work,” she said. “I wanted to stuff envelopes at the age of 6. And so I just guess that as I got older, it was kind of in my blood.”



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