Matthew and Valerie Royster of Cherokee recently finalized their purchase of the building at 204 W. Maple St. in downtown Cherokee that housed the former dental offices of Dr. John Barlow.
Barlow and a crew removed the last of his dentistry and office equipment last week and the Roysters will embark on remodeling the space so that they can provide general mental health counseling there.
The Roysters are both licensed mental health counselors, and they hope to have their remodeling done and be open for business by the end of May.
Matt is a native of Mt. Airy, North Carolina, a hometown he shares with television legend Andy Griffith. He earned his degree in Mental Health counseling, with a specialty in Childhood Pathology, from the University of Northern Iowa, and has been employed by the Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual Offenders (CCUSO) housed at the Cherokee Mental Health Institute, for more than nine years. He was initially employed at the unit in Oakdale, Iowa, and for the last seven years Matt has been at the CCUSO here in Cherokee.
Valerie, the former Valerie Jacobs, is a native of Hartley, Iowa, and she earned her degree in Forensic Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She and Matt have known each other for three years, and they were married in July, 2010. She has been employed full-time as a counselor at Midwest Christian Services in rural Peterson for six years, and for the last two years she has also worked part-time as an adult and children's counselor at Plains Area Mental Health Center in LeMars.
The couple say they are "very excited ... and a little nervous" about their new business venture. Valerie will be working at Royster and Royster full-time and Matt plans on continuing his full-time employment at CCUSO and providing counseling at the 204 W. Maple St. office on a part-time basis.