Biz Buzz: ‘Progressive’ pharmacy coming to SLO

A new pharmacy offering both traditional and alternative medicines is opening in the Tank Farm Commerce Park, a retail center across from the Kennedy Club Fitness on Tank Farm Road in San Luis Obispo.

“Anyone who walks through the door can be taken care of,” said pharmacist and co-owner Alan Martin.

Called the Kohana Pharmacy and Center for Regenerative Medicine, it will be a retail pharmacy, will offer pharmacy-grade vitamin supplements and Chinese herbs, and will compound custom medications. Kohana will also provide “wellness” counseling and therapies, such as intravenous infusion therapy, infrared sauna and detoxification programs.

Martin and his parents, Mick and Carol Martin, used to own San Luis Obispo’s Economy Drug Store, which was located on Marsh Street until the 1990s, Martin said. His partners, Robert Quinn and Lyne Hethrington, co-own an online pharmaceutical services company called BioPharm RX. Quinn was the director of Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center’s pharmacy for about five years, Martin said. Hethrington is an environmental scientist who owns a company called Environmental Management Services. The couple plans on taking the lead in the regenerative center that concentrates on preventive health care and detoxification therapies.

“The word to describe us that makes the most sense to most people is progressive,” Martin said.

Prior to the 20th century, pharmacists mixed herbs and other plants with a mortar and pestle for custom medications, Martin explained.

“That service was replaced by tablets and capsules from big drug companies that you see in a traditional pharmacy today,” Martin said. “Health care advanced, but we lost the ability to custom medicate people. Now people are coming back to custom compounds, homeopathic medicines and vitamins and supplements, very specific therapies combined with new technology. We think this is the cutting edge of health care.”

Startup costs for the company, estimated by Martin at about $500,000, have been privately funded, he said. The company will employ a staff of five people, he added.

The new business, which will open in April, will occupy about 7,000 square feet of the 7-acre, $12 million-plus shopping, office and light industrial business center completed by Ric Paul of Cornerstone Development in 2008. It joins a paint store and a tile store along the front of the complex. A small purple-colored building is the only space left empty, although several businesses have expressed interest in taking the space, said Preston Thomas of Rossetti Commercial Properties, the agent responsible for leasing the spaces.

“Businesses are gravitating to the south side of town because a lot of families live there, and they like being by the Kennedy Fitness Center and Trader Joe’s,” Thomas said. “They also like the parking.”

— Melanie Cleveland

Engineering firm marks 25 years

Lampman and Smith, a consulting and structural engineering firm based in San Luis Obispo, is celebrating its 25th anniversary of business on the Central Coast.

The firm was established in 1985, by principals Christopher I. Lampman and Michael F. Smith, and now employs four licensed professional engineers and two structural engineers.

Lampman and Smith specializes in residential, commercial, retail, industrial, educational, military and health care buildings, and completes facility evaluations.

The firm completes projects nationally and internationally.

Local projects include the Aerovista Business Park in San Luis Obispo, the new Morro Bay fire station, the National Geographic IMAX Theatre at Hearst Castle, the Simpson Material Demonstration Lab at Cal Poly and the Oceano Community Center.

— Julia Hickey

SeaCrest hires an industry veteran

Roger Corwin, a local hotel industry veteran, has been hired as SeaCrest Resort’s new general manager. The five-acre beachfront hotel on the Pismo Beach bluffs was recently renovated and Central Coast of California Hospitality, owned by Myraline Morris Whitaker, was named its new management company.

Whitaker told The Tribune that Corwin has considerable experience “building revenue and streamlining costs in the properties he manages.”

Corwin has been general manager of the Best Western Royal Oak Hotel in San Luis Obispo as well as the Oxford Suites Resort in Pismo Beach. He was also part of the pre-opening team at the Courtyard by Marriott in San Luis Obispo.

— Melanie Cleveland