Weather Forecast


Former phlebotomist starts drug testing business

Jodi Malcolm always wanted to be her own boss.

So after seven years as a phlebotomist at local clinics, the 25-year-old New York Mills woman decided, "I'm just going to jump off the edge and just do it," she said.

This spring, Malcolm started Hometown Essentials, a mobile on-site drug screen collection company.

Instead of employees and prospective hires going to a clinic to be screened for drugs and alcohol, Malcolm brings the service directly to businesses. Any time Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., she's available ( to collect urine, blood and hair follicle samples on site, then send them off to a lab.

"It's just more convenient and effective," Malcolm said.

Right now, the DOT certified collector is reaching out to "pretty much every big company" in Perham, New York Mills, Park Rapids and Wadena, aiming to establish clients. She said she's willing to travel further, but "there's plenty of businesses and work here."

"You have to do all the legwork to get it going," Malcolm said. "I've got some really good fish on the line."

One of her first clients was Legacy Power Lines, a Wadena-based overhead power line contractor that recently hired a slew of workers for the summer season.

"It works out great," said Jayne Koranda, the company's office manager. "We can do all of the testing right here in our office. It's a convenience thing for us. It's very helpful."

Malcolm said the positive word-of-mouth generated by proving herself one client at a time might her most effective path to expansion.