The Tealwood Story

In January 1989, Howard Groff, Steve Harl, Gail Sheridan and another former partner incorporated Tealwood Care Centers (TCC) and leased five nursing facilities from Leonard Louis Healthcare Properties (LLHCP). Previously, Howie, Steve and Gail had been employees of LLHCP and comprised the leadership of the management company. They had used their experience with Beverly Enterprises to manage 12 nursing facility properties for LLHCP, which is owned by two prominent Minneapolis attorneys, Samuel Kaplan and Ralph Strangis.

Utilizing the financial resources of LLHCP, TCC set out on a growth strategy to acquire smaller nursing facilities in the Midwest. Part of this strategy was driven by the focus of larger nursing home companies focusing on urban markets. However, much of the strategy was prompted upon the belief that the overall provision of care was better in the rural markets where frequently friends and relatives care for friends and relatives.

TCC’s first acquisition was the lease of a small nursing facility in Highmore, SD. That was followed by LLHCP acquiring a nursing facility in Lake Preston, SD. Since that time, TCC has been involved in acquiring 16 nursing facilities and 2 independent and assisted living facilities in its relationship with the principals of LLHCP.

In 1992 TCC got its first experience with the senior housing market. The principals of LLHCP acquired Park Gardens Apartments in a 72 unit Congregate Care facility in Waite Park, MN. As part of the transaction, the partners of LLHCP provided for the principals of TCC to participate in the ownership of the real property.

Building upon its experience in the senior housing area, TCC identified a strategy for developing Independent and Assisted Living facilities adjacent to its more successful existing operations. In 1999, Sterling Park Commons, a 38 unit assisted living was developed adjacent to Park Gardens Apartments in Waite Park. Since that first project, TCC had successfully developed six senior communities in conjunction with LLHCP operations. The result has been that the nursing facilities in these communities focus on the rehabilitation market, while the independent and assisted living facilities focus on the convalescent and senior housing market.

As TCC examined the changes taking place in the long term care arena, it began focusing on the viability of some of the nursing facilities it operated in deep rural communities and those that required extensive travel time. To that end, TCC, along with LLHCP have divested of 9 nursing facilities. Of the original five nursing facilities leased from LLHCP, only one continues to be operated by TCC, Lake Andes Healthcare Center.

In an effort to expand their knowledge of the long term care profession, the principals of TCC have made a concerted effort to become involved in the State and National trade associations. Steve focused on South Dakota, Gail on Minnesota and Howie on the national level. All three have served as Board Members of the State Affiliates and have served on numerous strategic committees at both levels. At present, Gail is the Chair of Care Providers of Minnesota and Howie is past Chair of the National Center for Assisted Living.

In 1998 TCC joined up with its first Management Partner. The principals of Shelter Corporation invited TCC to form a joint venture, Covenire Care later changing its name to The Waters Senior Living (WSL), to manage the properties and operations of Senior Care Communities (SCC). WSL’s first effort on behalf of SCC was to manage Providence Place, a 256 bed nursing facility in Minneapolis, MN. This joint venture also provided the opportunity for the principals to offer ownership opportunities to key staff members.

WSL’s brought SCC its next opportunity in the long term care market in 2002 by designing and developing The Colony at Eden Prairie. This community provides for 142 apartment units where residents select their apartment and have assisted living and memory care services delivered in their homes when the need dictates. The uniqueness of this community was further enhanced in 2003, when the Transitional Care Unit (TCU) was opened. The TCU is a 25 bed nursing facility focusing on rehabilitation services. In order to address the ever increasing care needs of our tenants, Care Suites have been providing for one to three staffing for the clients residing there.
In its ever present desire to continue to expand and diversify, the principals of TCC sought to develop a management services company. In 2003, Tealwood Management (TM) was formed. Once again, the TCC principals established an organization that would afford ownership opportunities for key staff. TM obtained its first management contracts from a real estate developer who had designed, arranged financing, constructed and managed a number of independent and assisted living facilities on behalf of a number of communities in Minnesota and Iowa. TM currently operates six such elder care facilities. In addition, TW has management agreements with three free-standing assisted living projects in which it has an ownership interest and one campus comprised of a nursing facility and an assisted living.

In 2006, TCC redirected its Independent and Assisted living development. TCC had gained experience beginning in 2001 in owning and operating a free standing assisted living facility located in Sauk Rapids, MN. Using its knowledge gained from this community, they developed a 50 unit Independent and Assisted Living project in Fergus Falls, MN. This project features many of the design priorities being promoted by the TCC principals: high percentage of common space, full size apartment units, provision of home care services by TCC directed staff, exercise areas, etc. In addition, these communities are operated under the assumption that once you move into an apartment unit home care services will be delivered in the customer’s unit thereby not requiring a move to another building.

In 2007, WSL once again brought an acquisition opportunity to SCC. It was comprised of two large, senior campuses in Woodbury and Forest Lake, MN. CC provided the expertise on financial projections, financing and operational planning.

This redirection in focus has also provided the opportunity to form joint ventures with additional Management Partners. In 2007, the principals of TCC formed a business operation with the principals of DW Jones and jointly developed River Grand in Grand Rapids, MN. This location provides for Independent Living, Assisted Living and Enhanced services to be delivered in one contiguous building. In addition, there are a number of units upgraded with luxurious living features. This joint venture successfully developed a like project in Glencoe, MN, opening it in 2009.
That project was followed by the principals of TCC and LLHCP jointly developing a project with Trident Development. This project is an Assisted Living and Enhanced services project in Sauk Center, MN which opened in 2008. This joint venture successfully developed and opened a like project in St. Michaels, MN in 2010.

In 2006 & 2007, the Principals of WSL expanded its strategic plan. WSL is now focusing on developing communities for its own account.Through its research, WSL will look to identify opportunities in the Midwest. At present, WSL has a projec under construction in Minneapolis, scheduled to open July 2011.  In addition, it is working on developments n Minneapolis, Edina, and Plymouth, MN.
In 2009, TCC combined with Trident development and WSL together to successfully open an assisted living project in Little Falls, MN. This joint venture is scheduled to open another development in Princeton, MN in August 2011.  In addition, this joint venture is working on a development in Winona, M N.
During 2008, TCC identified a new business opportunity; Wellness Programming. TCC is currently investigating, along with its therapy consultants the development and implementation of Wellness Programming for all communities. In addition, it will focus on developing a Wellness Center at a specific location.

Currently, TCC is jointly seeking to develop Assisted Living projects with its business partners in Winona and Fridley, MN.
“After raising her family in Henning, my mother-in-law, was not only pleased, but proud to move into the wonderful facility of Willow Creek Senior Living. In my many visits, I saw first hand the genuine personal care and friendship given by you and each one of your staff to every person living there. We especially commend you for your immediate attention to and communication with Alices’ physician whenever special health needs or concerns arose, in addition to keeping us, her family, promptly informed of her well-being. Willow Creek proved to be the perfect place for Alice to live comfortable, meaningfully, and most importantly, amongst her friends. To you and the staff of Willow Creek, thank you and may God Bless each of you.”
— Family Member Willow Creek Assisted Living
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