The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

December 1, 2012

Wally Kennedy: Little guy making big comeback with pharmacy

JOPLIN, Mo. — It’s always great news to hear when someone comes back from the May 2011 tornado. But this return is especially interesting.

Pronto Pharmacy will open a new shop Dec. 15 in the City Pointe shopping center at 501 S. Madison St. It already has opened a storefront in the Town Center Plaza at 1227 E. 32nd St.

Pronto Pharmacy is occupying the southernmost suite in City Pointe. It’s a 4,000-square-foot storefront. A new drive-through window is being added at this time. The storefront in Town Center Plaza was formerly occupied by Wilkinson’s Pharmacy. It has 5,200 square feet. It, too, has a drive-through window.

These new sites are much larger than the previous Pronto Pharmacy at the southwest corner of 26th Street and McClelland Boulevard. It was about 800 square feet, but its size was deceptive. It was a busy pharmacy before it was flattened by the tornado. It had been there since 1983. You might remember the story about Rance Junge, who rode out the storm by hanging on to a toilet. That happened at the Pronto Pharmacy.

This expansion will allow Pronto Pharmacy to expand what it can offer to its customers, including durable medical equipment, oxygen, mobility lifts, orthopedic supplies and a bunch of other stuff. A respiratory therapist will be on staff. You will be able to get flu shots now at Pronto Pharmacy.

As Jerry Carpenter, the owner, said, “It’s Pronto on steroids.’’

What makes this return interesting is the shake-up that’s under way in Joplin’s pharmacy market. Walgreens has purchased the Mays drugstores in Joplin, closing one store on East Seventh Street and another on Madison Street in Webb City. It’s not clear what’s going to happen with the Mays store at 33rd and Main streets. While Walgreens is consolidating its grip on Joplin, rumors are circulating that CVS Pharmacy, a key competitor, is looking for property in Joplin.

For Carpenter, it could have been easy to just throw in the towel. Instead, this Joplin native is digging in his heels. This is your classic David-versus-Goliath fight. He has already achieved a couple of hits by hiring technicians from the old Mays stores to work in his stores.

These technicians could have taken a severance package that would have prevented them from working in any Joplin pharmacy for two years. Instead, they went to work for Carpenter. Pat Brown, who worked at the Mays store on East Seventh Street for 40 years, is one of them. Another is Loretta Ritchie, who had 15 years of experience at the Mays store in Webb City.

Carpenter also is bringing back the staff from the old pharmacy at 26th and McClelland. Among them are Nena Endicott, Hannah Reed, Kelli Kinzer and Kim Turner.

So, what’s the point? It’s about the importance of skilled people. If you’re going to pick a fight with the big boys, you’d better have some people in your corner.

Corporate office

Ground was broken Friday at 2340 S. Range Line Road for a new corporate office for Innovative Objects, the parent company of PILR, Audio Input and Wyerless.

The company is constructing a 40,000-square-foot building that will have three floors and a basement, which will do double duty as a tornado shelter. The estimated cost is $5 million. The contractor is Crossland Construction, of Columbus, Kan.

You can bet this new corporate office will feature state-of-the-art technology, because the sister companies in this venture specialize in the latest products in entertainment and environmental-control systems. The top floor will have a conference room and training center. The second floor will be for offices. The ground floor will be a showroom for the latest technology.

The expansion will permit the company to expand its work force by 25 to 30 people who will work in software development, database management, website designs, mobile applications, graphic design and marketing.

This is a big leap forward for a company that 10 years ago consisted of two guys working out of the back of an SUV, said Russ Grundy, CEO of Innovative Objects.

“We are proud to call Joplin home and happy we are able to contribute to Joplin’s growth and economy by bringing highly desirable jobs to the community,’’ he said.

The property is within walking distance of Rib Crib, McAlister’s Deli, KFC and El Vallarta. Won’t that be convenient for the people who work there?

If you have news about something that’s happening on Range Line Road or Main Street, call 623-3480, ext. 7250; or send an email to wkennedy@joplinglobe.com; or send a fax to Wally Kennedy at 623-8598.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • r073114rebuildjoplin3.jpg 30 volunteers a day would be a ‘game-changer’ for Rebuild Joplin

    Betty and Louis Wirick, both 79, say they are grateful to have survived the 2011 tornado as it tore down part of their home of 25 years on South Bird Avenue. But three years later, they are frustrated.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Event for veterans on tap at Crowder

    For area veterans who have returned home from more than a decade at war, the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks hopes to send a simple message at an event this weekend: Welcome home.

    August 1, 2014

  • Fair to feature goats, chickens and decorated bras

    Along with the usual fair sights, sounds and smells — livestock, poultry, produce and the like — there will be something a bit unusual at the Cherokee County American Legion Free Fair this year: Decorated brassieres. And pink. Lots of pink.

    August 1, 2014

  • Damien D Doxley 051314.jpg Prison term meted out in carjacking case

    A Newton County judge assessed a defendant in a Joplin carjacking case seven years in prison Friday on a conviction on a charge of tampering with a motor vehicle.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 080114 Older worker1_72.jpg Co-workers, friends honor nurse with 50-year career

    Wilma Massey has worked a half century in health care and, even at the age of 74, she’s the first to arrive at work each morning.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Amendment 7 backers tout safety, new jobs; foes say special interests to benefit

    Billions of dollars are on the line when Missouri voters head to the polls on Tuesday to consider Amendment 7.
    The constitutional amendment, sent to the voters by the Legislature this year, would temporarily increase Missouri’s sales tax by three-quarters of 1 percent, raising an estimated $5.4 billion for the next decade to fund transportation projects. That includes more than $114.1 million in state funds for projects in Newton and Jasper counties, on top of additional revenue for localities that would be raised.
    After the Missouri Department of Transportation downsized in recent years, these projects are now mostly designed and built by private engineers, contractors and laborers — many of whom have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to a campaign effort to sway voters to support the measure.
    Last Monday — eight days ahead of the primary election day — supporters of the measure reported having raised more than $4.1 million for a campaign committee called Missourians For Safe Transportation and New Jobs, which was established last fall to support the measure.
    The International Union of Operating Engineers in St. Louis and Kansas City have contributed nearly $250,000 to the effort. That total was dwarfed by the $649,398 put in by the Industry Advancement Fund Heavy Constructors. Between its Missouri and Kansas companies, APAC — a construction contracting company that specializes in transportation projects — has contributed more than $150,000.
    “The whole idea that money is flowing into the campaign, of course it is,” said Sen. John Lamping, a St. Louis Republican who is opposed to the measure. “It would be a smart business decision to do that.”
    Lamping said the money pouring into the campaign supporting Amendment 7 is indicative of the financial gain the measure bodes for contractors and laborers.  
    Lamping proposed a measure in the Legislature that would redirect one-eighth of existing sales and use tax revenue directly to transportation projects, but he said that measure was rejected by legislative leaders. The coalition “didn’t hear about it,” the outgoing senator said, “because it was my idea instead of someone else’s idea.”
    Lamping, who filibustered a similar measure in 2013, said Republicans have an ideological consistency problem on the issue. He pointed to the Legislature passing a sales tax increase only a few weeks after overriding Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of an income tax cut that will largely help businesses organized as limited liability corporations, like many of the companies that could benefit from the measure. Lamping said that the tax increase will mostly affect taxpayers who did not get a significant tax cut.
    “Who wants a tax cut in Missouri?” he said. “Businesses. (Republican leaders) wanted to make them happy and then they passed a tax cut. This is grand-scale special interest cronyism.”
    The ad campaign being funded mostly by the business interests features paramedics and construction workers claiming the measure would “fix our roads and keep Missouri families safe.”
    “We have a chance to give our highways and bridges the repairs they need,” says one ad, which is running in Joplin and statewide in the lead up to Tuesday’s vote. “We have a chance to fix what’s broken by voting yes on Amendment 7.”
    The commercial uses a lot of words to talk about the benefits of the measure, but two words in particular are noticeably absent from the commercial: “Tax increase.”  
    “The ads don’t mention any of the ballot language,” said Jewell Patek, a spokesman for Missourians For Safe Transportation and New Jobs. “We figure Missourians will see the language when they go to the polls.”
    Patek, a former state representative who now lobbies the Legislature, said he disagreed with Lamping’s notion that Amendment 7 is all about special interest gain.
    “There’s quite a bit to gain for Missourians,” he said. “We have serious road needs. We’ll win or lose by the benefits in Amendment 7. I’m not sure I agree with Senator Lamping’s assessment.”
    If approved, Amendment 7 would prevent an increase in the state’s fuel tax, a funding boost opponents of the amendment like Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and some of the state’s social welfare groups have said would be more appropriate because it could pull in revenue from people who use the roads — like the state’s trucking industry.
    The Missouri Truckers Association’s political action committee has contributed more than $27,000 to the effort to pass the measure. Tom Crawford, president of the association, said his members support the amendment because they see the problems on the road and deal with them every day. And passage of the measure does not mean anyone will stop paying fuel tax.
    “We overpay our fair share on the fuel tax,” he said, pointing to statistics by the American Transportation Research Institute that show truckers have accounted for about 14 percent of road usage while paying for 39 percent of all taxes and fees owed by motorists. “We pay sales taxes just like everybody does on goods and products that people buy in the stores.”
    Crawford said truck companies do not pay state sales taxes on the purchase of trucks, but they do pay a federal tax. “So, we won’t be impacted on new equipment purchase, but other areas of our business will be impacted just like every other taxpayer in the state will,” he said.
    Thomas Shrout, who is helping lead the campaign against the tax hike, said that is not good enough and that Amendment 7 lets truck drivers off the hook. “Under Amendment 7, they wouldn’t have to pay any more,” he said.
    Shrout’s opposition campaign has raised just over $27,000 — less than 1 percent of the total money raised by its supporters. They are targeting their opposition at the state’s urban core by spending money on direct mail and targeted robocalls in the final week.
    “We think using the sales tax to fund road projects is poor policy for the state of Missouri,” he said. “It should be rejected.”
    Shrout said the Missouri Department of Transportation and its supporters should go back to the drawing board and consider some of the other options like campaigning for toll roads or a gas tax increase — both based on road usage.
    Representatives for APAC and the Heavy Constructors Association declined requests for comment.

    Tuesday’s election
    Amendment 7 is one of five measures voters will consider when they head to the polls on Tuesday. Statewide, local election officials reported to the Missouri secretary of state that it was their estimate that about 27 percent of the state’s 4.06 million registered voters will show up to vote, including 25 percent of registered voters in Jasper County and 30 percent in Newton County.

    August 1, 2014

  • Brownback names 3 Kansas Board of Regents members

    Gov. Sam Brownback on Friday named a former veteran Kansas House member and two attorneys to the board overseeing the state’s higher education system.

    August 1, 2014

  • Grant to fund solar energy system for PSU’s Plaster Center

    An $80,000 grant from Westar Energy will fund solar panels to provide both energy and education at the Robert W. Plaster Center, now under construction at Pittsburg State University.

    August 1, 2014

  • Survey seeks views on Joplin’s future goals

    Residents are being asked to fill out a survey on priorities for Joplin’s future. The effort was inspired by a meeting of community leaders last month. Survey forms are available at the Joplin Public Library and online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/jointjoplinareaplanningsurvey.

    July 31, 2014

  • Habitat slates volunteer work days

    In the wake of the 2011 tornado, Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity has been a partner with organizations and individuals in the construction of 86 new houses. But what’s also needed, Executive Director Scott Clayton said, are repairs to area homes.

    July 31, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

Do you plan on voting in the Aug. 5 elections being held in Missouri and Kansas?

Yes
No
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter