Gina Cappelli has a name that needs no introduction. Her late, beloved father, Luca A. Cappelli Jr., was the founder of Cappelli Development. Her adored big brother, the Valhalla-based real estate developer Louis R. Cappelli, is the man behind the renaissance of much of White Plains, including City Center, Trump Tower and The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester.
But while family-minded, Gina Cappelli is very much her own woman.
“I always wanted to do something apart from the family,” she says.
The result is a business designed to heal the human body, particularly when you don’t know where else to turn.
Formé Urgent Care and Wellness Center in White Plains, which opens soon, is a “boutique, one-of-a-kind” facility, Gina says, for “when you can’t see your doctor or after hours.” (It will be open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. 365 days a year.)
The $1.8 million, 6,700-square-foot facility – which has an additional 3,000 square feet for specialty medicine – will offer everything from treatment for flu-like symptoms to injections for overseas travel to physical and occupational therapy.
“We can’t do OR or in-patient care,” Gina says. And there won’t be an orthopedist or neurologist on site. (Formé will be providing referrals for those.)
But the center will be handling just about everything else, under the medical direction of Drs. Angelo Baccellieri and Robert H. Meyer, who are both board-certified in critical care emergency medicine. They’ll be working closely with Elsa M. Delille, the main nurse practitioner.
Among the specialties Formé is embracing are anti-aging, dermatology – including minor cosmetic procedures – endocrinology, pain management, podiatry, pulmonology and urology. There will be both a psychologist and a dietitian on staff. And ultimately, there will be another 1,800 square feet for a class B operating room for gastroenterological and ear, nose and throat procedures involving moderate intravenous sedation.
Nowadays, other centers also address the needs of those who are sick and injured, but not in such dire straits that they need a hospital emergency room. What makes Formé different is Cappelli’s determination to “close the loop in medical care.” If you need a hospital ER, Formé will stabilize you and call 911. If you don’t have a primary care doctor and need one, Formé will help you find one. And Formé will be following you medically using a paperless, electronic system. (The center accepts most forms of insurance.)
To that end, everything is state-of-the-art, including the blood and X-ray labs, the soil and clean rooms and the nine treatment rooms. There’s separate air flow for the sick area. The drug closet has a triple locking system. (Formé can dispense medicine for you to take on site, but is not a pharmacy.) Even the sconces are the requisite number of inches away from the wall as prescribed by the New York state Department of Health. (Formé is licensed as an Article 28 facility, which means it’s subject to the same scrutiny that any medical center is under state public health law.)
The center isn’t a spa, Gina says. It just looks like one. The colors are a soothing espresso; the counters, quartz, which is nonporous and easier to clean; the cabinets, custom-made; the walls, herringbone-patterned paper; the floors, wood-like vinyl.
“We’re hoping for people to get that ‘Wow’ factor,” she says of the design.
The space was created by architect Kathleen Hennessy, but Gina, who adds that design is not her thing, also relied on Formé Vice President Nanci Gunthert, her right-hand woman. The Formé team also includes Paul Garbuio, director of operations.
“Without Nanci, I would not be able to accomplish all that I do,” Gina says.
She believes strongly that just because you’re sick doesn’t mean you should be in cold, clinical surroundings. Indeed, I can remember rehabbing an injured ankle at the erstwhile Formé Rehabilitation on Central Avenue in Greenburgh. Not only did the expert therapist help me to heal my ankle, but she redesigned my exercise program, all in sensuous surroundings that included plants, sculpture and prints of Michelangelo drawings.
“That was after a trip to Italy,” Cappelli says of the Renaissance influence.
What it also demonstrates is the two sides of Gina’s nature – the business side, which she gets from her father, Luca, and the nurturing side, which she gets from her late mother, Concetta.
Gina is the youngest of their four girls, bookended by boys – Louis and baby brother Michael. Over a just-us-girls lunch at Gaucho Grill Restaurant – up the street from Formé – with Nanci and publicist Christina Rae of Buzz Creators, Gina remembers the parents who were so instrumental in shaping her life.
Her father, who began in general contracting, was a man in love with the solar system, she says. His businesses included Luna Electric, Saturn Construction, Jupiter Supplies and Earth Equipment. That turned into real estate and development, with Louis getting involved.
“Louis is an amazing person, especially to his family,” Gina says, adding that he has taken over as patriarch since their father passed away on Feb. 9, 2011. Their mother died on Aug. 11, 2012.
He in turn couldn’t be happier for his sister’s accomplishments.
“I’m extremely proud of Gina and all that she has accomplished in her career. In opening the new Formé Urgent Care and Wellness Center, Gina will be taking urgent care to the next level. Formé will be offering services and specialty medicine way beyond what other centers can provide. I know that our parents, Luca and Concetta, are shining down on her with so much love and pride, the same way the rest of our family is – especially me. ”
Gina – who graduated from Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a minor in accounting – learned a lot from her father.
“He always worked hard, but he played hard, too. He lived life to the fullest.”
His baby daughter, who fondly recalls Florida trips, knows how to let down her caffe latte-colored curls. To celebrate the launch of Formé, she threw a fab party complete with steak, pasta, dancing and a DJ spinning oldies at 42 The Restaurant, atop The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester, where she cut a shapely figure in a little black dress.
But she’s also a disciplined woman, ordering salad and unsweetened ice tea for lunch and forgoing a family trip to the Bahamas over Christmas to attend to her new “baby.”
Gina’s a maternal woman, which she says she gets from her mother, some of whose jewelry she wears as a reminder of the bond they still share. During an emotional moment at the Gaucho’s luncheon, she reaches out with a reassuring hand. As befits a woman with a strong maternal instinct, Gina has lots of babies. Her real baby, of course, is daughter Erica, studying to be a nurse practitioner at the Pace School of Nursing.
“They never stop being your babies,” Gina says of children.
Another “baby” is Jake, the rescue Dachshund/Chihuahua mix who shares her White Plains home.
But Gina also takes a personal approach to her employees and has ever since she ran the family’s real estate business. When the Cappellis sold it to the Reckson Corp., she got involved in personal training, opening the Formé on Central Avenue in 1998 with personal trainer Peter Montpelier. (Gina closed it to open Formé in White Plains. Formé Rehabilitation in Eastchester, which opened in 2003, is still going strong.)
Gina notes that she filed Formé with the state as a woman-owned business, which makes the center eligible for 20 percent of the work the state farms out. She’s also filing Formé as a woman-owned business with the federal government, which opens up certain kinds of funding.
But it isn’t just about business. It’s about being a woman who while proud to be part of one of Westchester’s first families is also pleased to be on her own, making a contribution to the critical field of health care that begins with establishing a bond with the patient.
“And we’re going to keep that bond to make sure the patient doesn’t get lost in the system.”