Dr. Lindsay Reel graduated from the St. Louis College of Pharmacy in 2006, and has dedicated to herself to working in and managing retail pharmacies. Since entering the field 13 years ago, she’s gained experience at all levels of the business, including as the Regional Director of Retail Pharmacy with SSM.
She recently discovered an exciting opportunity in a growing segment of her business: telehealth.
Projected to be valued at $9 billion by 2022, telehealth provides an Internet-based alternative to the traditional doctor’s office. Companies following this new model employ physicians willing to see patients using Skype-like technologies.
The ability to reach a national scale quickly comes with a problem to solve. Telehealth companies need pharmacies licensed in all 50 states to keep pace with their growing needs, and St. Louis is an ideal location for this kind of business.
As the crossroads of the nation, the city is well-positioned for shipping. Additionally, it boasts a steady stream of qualified graduates from St. Louis College of Pharmacy.
In response to this opportunity, Dr. Reel founded Skin Specialty Solutions.
The new pharmacy formed as Reel obtained an exclusive contract to compound anti-aging and acne creams for Curology, a dermatological telehealth provider based in San Francisco.
With an agreement in hand, Dr. Reel and her business partners went in search of a building to house the company’s operations.
Founding a High-Tech Start-Up in St. Louis
Skin Specialty Solutions set out with very particular commercial real estate needs: a warehouse with several dock doors, lab and office space, and room for fast-paced growth. They also needed a landlord willing to help them custom-convert the space so they could meet stringent pharmacy-licensing criteria.
But they had to move quickly. Beginning the search in late 2018, Dr. Reel wanted to start shipping by April 2019. They required someone who could guide them to an optimal choice, so began interviewing several of the area’s top commercial real estate brokers.
Their search spanned both national and local companies, leading them to Hal Ball of Hilliker Corporation.
KayVee Larsen, Curology’s VP of Pharmacy Operations, helped conduct the interviews. She says, “Hal came highly recommended. Once I interacted with him, I knew he was exactly what Skin Specialty Solutions was looking for: a very effective communicator who really knows the area.”
When Dr. Reel and the team first started looking for real estate, the company believed it only needed about 25,000 square feet. But as the scope of the business plan changed, they knew they would need a building upwards of 40,000 square feet.
By January 2019, they had narrowed their search to two possible solutions. One was in the retail pocket of Earth City. As the parties worked through the details of the lease, they became aware the city would have to change the zoning, putting the deal on hold for approximately three months.
But with an April 2019 shipping deadline, they needed to take occupancy by February 2019. Ball, Reel, and Larsen decided there wasn’t enough time and turned to their second solution.
Skin Specialty Solutions signed a 5-year contract for 48,080 square feet in US Capital Development’s recently built Fenton Logistics Park.
Bringing Jobs and Innovation to Fenton Logistics Park
US Capital Development built the Fenton Logistics Park on land formerly occupied by the Chrysler Assembly Plant near I-270 and I-44. With hundreds of thousands of square feet available for rent, the buildings are rapidly filling up with job-producing businesses.
Skin Specialty Solutions leased a space at 2058 Fenton Logistics Park Boulevard, for which Ball helped negotiate a turnkey delivery at $8 per square foot.
Reel and Larsen knew what the new building needed to be a success, but the timeline was challenging. They called on the experts at M + H Architects and Kadean Construction, who went to work on the project with speed and efficiency.
The result is a beautiful space that meets the rigorous standards of the industry while including many of the amenities tech start-ups are known for: open workspaces, nursing mothers’ rooms, game areas, and even a media room where staffers can play video games.
Deeper inside, the building houses an ample, isolated pharmacy formulation space; a 32,000-square-foot warehouse; and a hazardous drug room outfitted with a specialized HVAC system. Negotiated into the lease, this system uses positive and negative airflow to keep powdered chemicals from spreading through the building.
Positioned for Growth
Currently Skin Specialty Solutions is only licensed in a few states, so the operation has only eight employees. But it is positioned to be licensed throughout the US very soon, bringing between 100 and 200 jobs to the St. Louis area in the space of a few years.
Thanks to a responsive team that included Hilliker Corporation, they were able to send their first shipment of custom skin-care products on Wednesday, April 17, 2019.
A Clear Path to Future Success
Dr. Reel is enjoying her new role and colleagues. She’s able to build a team from scratch, work on the cutting edge of a new field, and help grow a burgeoning business from the ground up.
As she hires new employees, she’ll be able to give certain ones the flexibility to earn their pharmacy license while working at the state-of-the-art facility.
Larsen says, “The Fenton Logistics Park is beautiful, and the space will serve Skin Specialty Solutions well. They’re at the very beginning, but I think they’re going to have some great successes there.”
Creative Team Members for Your St. Louis Real Estate Search
If you’re searching for commercial property in St. Louis, get Hilliker Corporation on your team. Our experienced brokers know the area and can help you find real estate that will set you and your company up for long-term success.