Home PeopleHoboken Girl of the Week Jaclyn Fulop on Life as a Mom, Business Owner, + Being First Lady of Jersey City

Jaclyn Fulop on Life as a Mom, Business Owner, + Being First Lady of Jersey City

by Jennifer Tripucka
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Being in the public eye is anything but easy. But when being in the public eye comes with also being the First Lady of something, well, that’s unique in and of itself. Enter Jaclyn Fulop — the First Lady of Jersey City and local businesswoman — owner of the burgeoning Hudson County PT practice Exchange Physical Therapy Group, with offices in Jersey City, Weehawken, and now Hoboken. This week, Jaclyn is sharing the exclusive with Hoboken Girl what life is like in Jersey City, all about her physical therapy businesses, and more. Keep reading to learn all about Jaclyn Fulop, her business, what life is like in JC, and so much more. 

jacly fulop eptg

Tell us about yourself and your business. 

I am a mom, a wife, a physical therapist, and the owner of Exchange Physical Therapy Group. My son Jaxon James is nine months old, my husband is the mayor of Jersey City, and I have a 14-year-old Pomeranian Chloe who comes to work at EPTG every day where she is our team’s therapy dog. She is our oldest employee and gets paid in treats. {Editor’s Note: Chloe has passed away since this interview was done. We send our condolences to Jaclyn and the Fulop family on their sweet pup}. 

Exchange Physical Therapy Group {EPTG} is a top-rated Physical Therapy clinic with locations in Jersey City, Weehawken, and our newest location in Hoboken. Our team of physical therapists utilizes a hands-on approach focusing on manual therapy and exercise prescription. Each clinic is located at major transit terminals to make PT convenient for everyone. We offer orthopedic, pediatric + children’s physical therapy, women’s health + pelvic floor physical therapy, pre + post-surgical rehabilitation, vestibular rehabilitation, balance + fall prevention, prevention of injury, and return to sports programs. 

How long have you lived in Jersey City? 

I moved to Jersey City in 2015, a few months before I got engaged.

Read More: Ashley Hearon-Smith: Scary Mommy Speaks Co-Host + HudsonCounty60

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Who is your biggest source of inspiration? 

Of course, my husband Steve. We constantly inspire and motivate the other to improve and evolve personally and professionally. Beyond Steve, I am moved by people who devote their lives to nonprofits and volunteer countless hours to build a better community. That has motivated me to become involved in the community both as First Lady and through my business. There are so many people and experiences that have inspired me. 

I just wanted to also mention my mom. She was a public school teacher for 30 years, she inspires me with her patience, dedication, and love for teaching.  She has been a role model for me and I have brought her commitment to teaching into my business through staff mentorship programs, and educating my patients about their health and how the body works. 

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 What are your goals for this year?

My goals for this year are to grow EPTG by 15% while also still being involved in the community and balancing my life as a new mom.

What made you want to open a PT practice? 

I always admired entrepreneurs, but to be honest I didn’t necessarily know I would become one. It was out of frustration that I was pushed to open my own clinic. When I moved to NJ, every facility I worked for was the same mill-like physical therapy clinic. I would be required to treat 25-30 patients a day, with little to no help. I went to school to become a PT to help people but that became impossible when upper management would have me treat 10 patients at the same time.

There was no transparency, I wasn’t being fair to myself or to my patients. I realized, if I didn’t open my own clinic, I would be powerless to make meaningful changes in my profession. I needed to create an environment where my patients would thrive and my employees would not feel overwhelmed and overworked as I had. So in 2012 I took a chance, quit my job and decided to go off on my own. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. 

You’re rapidly expanding in the area, what is that experience like?

We have three locations now! The first opened in 2012 and is located in the Exchange Place in Jersey City in Harborside Financial Center. The second location opened in 2017 across the street from the Port Imperial Ferry Terminal and we just opened the third last month in Hoboken. This new Hoboken location will treat orthopedics, pediatrics and have a comprehensive women’s health program which includes pelvic floor physical therapy. We have a fourth location which will be opening this winter, which will be our second location in Jersey City. We are also in lease negotiations for our fifth location which will be in Essex County. 

What the most rewarding part of having your own practice?  

Being able to employ 30 people, of which 90% are women and knowing that EPTG supports them. I am able to create a positive work environment and build a culture that my team and patients want to be part of. 

jaclyn fulop jaxon fulop

What does a typical day look like for you?

I wake up every morning to the two sweetest faces in the world, my husband and my son. Steve and I go to Orangetheory every morning, where we run, row, and lift together. After the workout, a stop at my favorite breakfast place, Wonder Bagel, on Central Avenue, and we grab a coffee and egg wrap. I go home to walk and feed Chloe, my-14-year old Pomeranian {I have to actually cook different meals for her everyday}, shower, play with Jaxon for a bit, and head to work. The first stop is usually the Weehawken location, then I head to Hoboken then to Jersey City. By 3:45PM, I’m out the door to go home for some mommy-baby time. I will take Jaxon and Chloe for a walk, have some great playtime, feed and bathe him, and then put him to bed. My husband will come home and we will eat dinner, relax, and watch some TV before heading up to bed.

See More: Meet Amanda Lederman: Living Her Dream at BlogHer

What is the work/life balance like?

I was able to scale my work schedule back a bit since having Jaxon in January. I am home every day by 4:00PM so I can spend a couple of hours with him before putting him to bed. I treasure these hours with him and feel very fortunate I am able to leave work knowing the business is in great hands.

What’s been the highlight of your life so far?

I have had a lot of highlights that I am very proud of, such as expanding Exchange Physical Therapy Group from Jersey City to Weehawken and Hoboken. Being nominated this spring by Governor Murphy and approved by the New Jersey Senate to serve as a member of the New Jersey State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners, where I am responsible for the regulation and oversight for all physical therapists across the state. I am extremely proud of the work EPTG did last year when we raised $130k to start Hudson County’s first subsidized mobile spay and neuter program for Liberty Humane Society, but think my biggest highlight was becoming a mom. Jaxon is my biggest accomplishment.

jaclyn fulop physical therapy

Why open a PT practice in Hoboken?

I know there are a lot of young moms that live here and there aren’t many women’s health programs in Hudson county, so I figured Hoboken is the best place. After having Jaxon, I struggled with incontinence and I know many other women do and it’s not always something people talk about. Women think it’s normal and they have to just live with it when in reality PT is an effective solution. Our specialist can treat dysfunctions that can range from incontinence, pelvic pain, diastasis recti, prolapse, bowel dysfunctions, lower back pain, hip pain, and sexual dysfunctions. We decided to open in the southwest corner of Hoboken because there are so many physical therapy options near the PATH and no options in this neighborhood. I also felt it was important to own the real estate. 

Where do you see the future of your practice going?

As of right now, we are targeting the five locations. The fourth will opening around March of next year and the fifth around this time next year. I always say after five clinics I am definitely stopping! Then I sometimes catch myself daydreaming of owning facilities all over the Eastern Region like Connecticut, Rhode Island, Southern NJ, etc. I’m unsure as of now where the future will take me.

jaclyn fulop phusical therapist

What do you love most about living in Jersey City?

I like the diversity of the community, the food options, and the arts community.

 What’s it like being married to the mayor?

It’s great. I love watching him do what he loves. This job is demanding and he works long hours and I am really proud of him and all he has accomplished. Despite all of his responsibilities with being the mayor of the largest city in NJ, he still puts his family first. Ever since Jaxon was born, Steve has embraced this role better than I could have ever imagined. He is such a great dad. I hope Jaxon grows up to be just like him.

jaclyn fulop first lady jersey city

LISTEN: An Exclusive Interview with Jaclyn and Steven Fulop for our podcast, Tea on the Hudson

What’s the best thing about being First Lady of Jersey City?

It’s given me the opportunity to meet a lot of people, have a lot of great conversations, and really get involved in the community.

What’s the hardest part?

In a world where social media is more prevalent people sometimes can be unfairly harsh and critical of Steve or even myself. 

Jersey City Favorites 

We sat down with Jaclyn for a rapid-fire of her favorite JC spots — check out her answers below:

Favorite boutique: Hazel.

Favorite restaurant: Razza for dinner, Wonderbagels of Central for breakfast, Latham house for brunch, and Cellar 335 for drinks.

Favorite place to go out with friends: Ashford.

Favorite workout spot: Orangetheory.

Favorite kid-friendly activity: Not really there yet, but we do want to take Jaxon swimming.

Favorite hidden gem: The Cliff.

Thanks for chatting with us, Jaclyn! Keep up Jaclyn and her business on Instagram at @eptg_physicaltherapy and head to @HobokenGirlBlog for an exclusive IG takeover of a day in the life. 

Want more? Listen to an exclusive interview with Jaclyn and Steven Fulop here.

Want to be featured or nominate someone as an upcoming Hoboken Girl or Guy of the Week?

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