Express Rx opened its new headquarters in Little Rock last week and plans to create 24 upper-level management and support staff jobs.
The pharmaceutical retailer had not had a headquarters office previously, CEO Galen Perkins told media after an official announcement Monday at the Little Rock Regional Chamber.
He was joined at the announcement by Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Mayor Frank Scott Jr. and Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde.
The company is leasing space at 1800 Riverfront Drive, and 10 people are already working there.
About half of those 24 jobs will pay six figures, and the other half will pay around $80,000, Perkins said. CFO John Trainor Namir told reporters after the announcement that the company’s total payroll in Little Rock is expected to reach between $1.5 million-$2 million within 12 months.
“The key fact is that it is a growing business, and, while they’re creating, I believe it’s 24 jobs or so here, very high-paying jobs, there’s something special about getting a headquarters in your state,” Hutchinson said. “And that means, as they grow in Kansas, or they grow in Mississippi, or they grow in Oklahoma, that means they’re growing in Arkansas at the same time. So to locate a corporate headquarters here, and to have that relationship, means not only investment now and results now for families and high-paying jobs, but it means growth in the future.”
Hutchinson said the state has been able to focus on attracting jobs that pay much better than the higher minimum wage being sought by voters, adding that that “drives the economy forward to an even greater extent.”
Scott called the headquarters a “big deal” and said this announcement brings to nearly 1,100 the number of jobs that have been created in Little Rock this year.
“Today’s announcement and decision by Express Rx to put down roots in Pulaski County signifies that we’re moving in the right direction,” Hyde said.
The Arkansas Economic Development Commission has offered the company the following state incentives:
- Create Rebate, an annual cash rebate based on the number of jobs added by a company.
- Tax Back, which provides sales tax refunds on building materials, taxable machinery and equipment associated with the project.
Asked why Express Rx settled on locating its headquarters here, Perkins cited the help from economic incentives.
“But it’s a very friendly environment for our location,” he said. “We primarily focus on rural and underserved areas, and Little Rock is a rural area, Arkansas a rural state. So I think the mindset of taking care of that population is here with these people and these employees.”
Express Rx employs about 150 people and has eight pharmacies in three states, including four in Arkansas (two in Little Rock, one in Sherwood and one in Cabot). The first one was built in Little Rock in 2016 with seed capital from Franklin McLarty.
The company’s current annual revenue, with its recent acquisition of 10 Fred’s pharmacies, is $55 million, Namir said, adding that the company expects to add 20 pharmacies over the next year through acquisitions.
“We really see the opportunity in the market as acquisitions at this point,” Namir said. “And, really, for us, it’s all about helping preserve that small town community pharmacy experience and put the back end efficiency behind it that needs to take place for those stores to continue to exist and thrive.”