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Family Owned Business Awards

The Speech Clinic, Inc.

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Founded: 1987

Generations: Two

Employees: 36

WILMINGTON – Speech-language pathologists Marie and John Azzara started their private practice, The Speech Clinic Inc., more than three decades ago as a way to help children and families looking for support.

While originally focused on providing intervention in a clinic, the company has evolved to meet the needs of the local school districts by placing therapists directly in area schools to work with students in an academic environment.

That growing strategy has been led lately by the Azzaras’ children, Katie and Adam Azzara, who have been working with the Appoquinimink, Brandywine and Red Clay school districts. The challenges presented by the pandemic led to a growth opportunity for the business, which hired nine new speech-language pathologists to meet the rising demand for services.

“In the silver lining, we now have the capability to do teletherapy which is something we had never even explored previously,” Adam Azzara said. “It’s not ideal not to be face-to-face with kids who you’re trying to help with speech skills, but it’s better than nothing and it’s made us a little bit nimbler with the services that we’re able to offer.”

The clinic has developed a strong local reputation, leading to 11 consecutive years of increased revenue totaling 160%.

That success has allowed them to give back to the community, donating books to their clients every year to help them build a library. The Speech Clinic also funds attendance by school administrators to the annual Literacy Conference in New Orleans.

For Adam Azzara, who left a career at Bank of America, and his sister, Katie, who left another practice in Philadelphia, the decision to help take over the family business was a no-brainer.

“My first day here there was a lot of pride hearing the positivity and the relationships the staff have with my parents,” he said. “I knew growing up that they’re great parents, but they also somehow found the time to give 100% to their to their business. So, it’s been a really unique opportunity to work every day with my dad.”

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