Welcome to the June 12 Monday Business Briefing, your private business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.

Locally owned pharmacy opening its doors in Norton Commons

Commons Corner Apothecary is located at 9407 Norton Commons Boulevard. | Courtesy of Tyler Glick

Nowadays, small-time pharmacies aren’t common as many locally owned stores have been bought out by big brands such as CVS and Walgreen.

But a group of Louisville businessmen — Brad Gentry, Mark Murphy, Steve Stern and Rob Warford — have partnered to open Commons Corner Apothecary in Norton Commons.

“It’s location, location, location,” Warford told Insider in a phone interview. “The local businesses are all supported.”

He and his partners also operate two pharmacies within medical complexes, but this is their first standalone store. The pharmacy opens today.

Commons Corner Apothecary, at 9407 Norton Commons Boulevard, will not only fill prescriptions and sell over-the-counter medications but also will offer compounded medications in which a licensed pharmacist combines ingredients of a drug to tailor it to the needs of a specific patient.

“We pride ourselves on being independent, where we can take our time with our patients,” Warford said, adding that the pharmacy will also serve pets, and that customers pay the same copay there as at national chains.

The store will sell incidentals like toothbrushes and deodorant, essential oils and vitamins as well.

All the supplements stocked in the store have been tested to ensure that the ingredients manufacturers claim are in there are actually in there, Warford said, noting that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate supplements as strictly as it does drugs.

“If you are going to take something,” he said, “it’s very important to know what you are getting.”

Commons Corner Apothecary employs five people, including one delivery person who will deliver prescriptions to homes within a five-mile radius at no cost.

Its hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m to 1 p.m. Saturday. —Caitlin Bowling

GLI preparing to initiate $5 million talent attraction campaign

The chamber of commerce is widening its target for talent attraction. | Courtesy of GLI

Kentuckiana chamber of commerce Greater Louisville Inc. is getting ready to kick off a four-year marketing campaign aimed at drawing more residents to Louisville. The chamber has set the goal of increasing the working-age population in the Louisville MSA by 38,000 by 2020.

GLI also is widening its net for talent attraction by 300 miles to create a 500-mile radius, which includes cities such as Pittsburgh; Charlottesville, Va.; Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C.; and Milwaukee, Wis., to help it meet that goal.

Lisa Bajorinas, the chamber’s vice president of entrepreneurship and talent, said GLI decided to target its campaign toward more cities after a study found that many people moved to Louisville from either comparably sized cities, from cities that are one-fourth as big, or metro areas that are at least four times larger.

“Many of them move simply to move, they want a change,” Bajorinas said.

The study found that people want to live in a city in which there are good jobs and business opportunities, as well as a welcoming community and the ability for them to make a difference. GLI will focus on attracting residents who work in high-demand and fast-growing jobs such as nursing, accountants and software developers, she said.

Based on the information GLI has gathered, it will begin testing various marketing messages on focus groups and select a marketing firm to roll the campaign out. The chamber also plans to reach out to regional businesses.

It will cost about $5 million, Bajorinas said. GLI is gathering donations to help fund the campaign and has raised $977,000 to date. —Caitlin Bowling

GLI, Louisville Forward recognized

Courtesy of Site Selection Magazine

Site Selection Magazine has named Louisville Forward and Greater Louisville Inc. among the nation’s 10 best economic development groups.

The city and GLI said in a press release that in 2016 they helped the region welcome 70 projects valued at nearly $1.4 billion that created more than 8,500 jobs.

Mayor Greg Fischer said in a press release that the recognition “is proof that our strategic partnership with GLI is working and the hard work of our economic development team, led by Chief Mary Ellen Wiederwohl, is paying off.”

Site Selection picked winners based on investment projects tracked by the magazine’s “proprietary Conway Projects Database.” Criteria included the number of projects, value of investments and job creation.

“Top economic development groups — like a good umpire or a proficient manager — keep things flowing to the point you hardly know they’re there,” the magazine says on its website. “They know they’re serving the greater good, and are not the show itself.”

The magazine listed among significant Louisville projects Clariant Corp., which announced a $100 million manufacturing plant; Evolent Health, which created The Medicaid Center of Excellence; and Guess, which announced an $11.5 million expansion.

Other winners include Nashville, Cincinnati and St. Louis. Lexington and Indianapolis received honorable mentions. —Boris Ladwig

Local ophthalmologist performs new eye correction surgery

Dr. Asim Piracha

Louisville-based eye-care provider John-Kenyon said that one of its doctors had become the first in the state to perform a new eye laser correction surgery.

The company said Dr. Asim Piracha, its medical director, in May performed the Small Incision Lenticule Extraction (SMILE) procedure, which treats conditions such as nearsightedness and distorted vision.

The procedure “removes a small piece of the cornea to reshape the eye,” John-Kenyon said in a press release.

“We were excited when SMILE was approved in the United States, and even more so when we could offer this procedure to our patients,” Piracha said in the release.

He said SMILE is an alternative to LASIK for patients with conditions including dry eyes and thin corneas.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the procedure in September.

John-Kenyon told Insider that the procedure is elective and not covered by insurance. According to an NBC News story, the procedure costs about $5,000.

Piracha, a cataract and refractive specialist, in 2003 also was the first doctor in Kentucky to perform an all laser LASIK surgery, according to John-Kenyon. He serves on the board of the American College of Eye Surgeons and is a past president of the American Board of Eye Surgery and a founding member of the Refractive Surgery Alliance. From 2011 to 2015 he served on the Kentucky Board of Licensure. He also serves as an associate professor at the University of Louisville’s Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. —Boris Ladwig

Humana CFO to present at Goldman Sachs conference

Brian Kane

Humana CFO Brian Kane will give a presentation to investors at the Goldman Sachs Global Healthcare Conference at 2:20 p.m. Tuesday.

The event, in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., will be available live on Humana’s investor relations website. The insurer suggests that webcast participants sign on about 15 minutes early “to allow time to run a system test and download any free software needed for access purposes.” —Boris Ladwig

ReSurfaced the Liberty Build has been reborn

More trees. More landscaping. New Cooper’s Craft Bourbon shipping containers and bourbon garden. That’s the new stuff you have to look forward to at the community activation space in NuLu, according to organizer City Collaborative.

The space on the corner of East Liberty and South Shelby Streets will be open from 4 p.m-11 p.m., the first and third Fridays and Saturdays of every month until October.

The reopening of the space begins with a special soccer celebration during which members of the fan group, the Coopers, will play against the front office team of the Louisville City FC and the head coach James O’Connor. The game is June 15 from 6 p.m.-10 p.m.

Courtesy of ReSurfaced

The first weekend includes the Second Annual Slow Food Bluegrass Taco Challenge on Saturday, June 17 from noon until 4 p.m. The event will be immediately followed by “Hal & Ben’s Bike-in,” a recurring event where friends Hal Rieding and Ben Sollee present live music and a family-friendly movie.

Jecorey Arthur of 1200 LLC will be doing the music programming again.

Heine Brothers is back with their Airstream trailer coffee shop. Local breweries will rotate in and out of the space as well. You’ll be able to keep up with the event calendar online. —Melissa Chipman

Study: Minimum wage workers struggle to afford rent

National Low Income Housing Coalition

The National Low Income Housing Coalition has released a report that it says shows millions of Americans are feeling the pinch when it comes to finding affordable housing.

“In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom rental home in the U.S., renters need to earn a wage of $21.21 per hour. The Housing Wage for a two-bedroom apartment is $13.96 higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25, and $4.83 higher than the average hourly wage of $16.38 earned by renters nationwide,” the coalition said.

Affordable housing is “out of reach” for the average renter and for “millions of low-wage workers, seniors and people with disabilities living on fixed incomes, and other low-income households,” the coalition said in a press release.

The Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group received funding from JPMorgan Chase for this year’s “Out of Reach” report. “JPMorgan Chase is committed to creating lasting impact in our communities. We also believe in the incredible power of data to expand access to opportunity,” said Janis Bowdler, head of community development, JPMorgan Chase, in the release.

The coalition said the housing struggle is widespread. “A renter earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour would need to work 117 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom rental home at the Fair Market Rent and 94.5 hours per week to afford a one-bedroom. In only 12 counties can a full-time worker earning the prevailing federal or state minimum wage afford a one-bedroom rental home.”

According to the report, Kentucky is ranked the 50th most expensive state on the list and has 33 percent of residents who are renters. Workers in the commonwealth would need to earn $13.95 an hour for 77 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom home at Fair Market Rent, which is $726 a month.

To afford a one-bedroom, minimum-wage workers at $7.25 an hour need to work 60 hours a week to afford a modest one-bedroom home at Fair Market Rent, which in Kentucky is $570 a month.

In Jefferson County, where 38 percent of residents are renters, workers would need to earn $12.10 an hour to afford a one-bedroom ($629 Fair Market rent) and $15.25 an hour to afford a two-bedroom ($793). At minimum wage, workers would need to notch 67 hours a week for that one bedroom and 84 hours for the two bedroom, the report shows. Mickey Meece

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Caitlin Bowling
Louisville native Caitlin Bowling has covered the local restaurant and retail scene since 2014. After graduating from the Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Caitlin got her start at a newspaper in the mountains of North Carolina where she won multiple state awards for her reporting. Since returning to Louisville, she’s written for Business First and Insider Louisville, winning awards for health and business reporting and becoming a go-to source for business news. In addition to restaurants and retail business, Caitlin covers real estate, economic development and tourism. Email Caitlin at [email protected]