I just returned from a tour of the new Thorne Research facility located outside of Charleston, South Carolina. Now that Thorne has completed their move from Dover into an brand-new building in Summerville, it was time to open the doors for an inaugural grand gathering.
And grand it was. The entire clinical nutrition team here at Sandpoint Super Drug was flown out for this celebration, where we joined 70 other integrative medicine practitioners from around the country. It was an outstanding array of doctors, pharmacists, and other health care providers, each aligned with the practices of functional medicine and clinical nutrition.
Thorne remains regarded as a supplement manufacturer of high integrity and impeccable standards in the industry of nutraceuticals. Their new facility was impressive. It clearly demonstrated how they put this into practice and have even up-leveled their game.
It was nearly 5 years ago Thorne embarked upon a journey to locate, design, build, and relocate the company to a new facility. One that would support them to meet the increasing demands of a sophisticated global customer base wanting only the best in their nutritional products.
As I walked around their massive building, I began to realize what a tremendous undertaking it all was. The old headquarters in Dover is dwarfed by this new facility and would literally fit inside a small part of the new building that remains unused.
The numbers are staggering … a 272,000-square-foot building, 30,000 tons of concrete, 3,000 gallons of paint, 27,000 square feet of carpeting, 45 air conditioners, and a quarter million square feet of sheet rock. The humidity control was state-of-the-art. There were nearly 3 million miles of air travel and an equivalent of four years of nights in hotels. This was no small feat, and certainly a serious commitment on the part of Thorne to the tune of over $60 million in overall investment.
Out of 240 employees here in Idaho, 110 individuals and their families chose to move to join Thorne in South Carolina. This sealed in a tight nit culture of excellence and represented the tremendous loyalty held within the teams that make it all happen. This gives me tremendous confidence that the people in this company really care and believe in what they are doing. They still had to hire and train another 200 staff just to get the place up and running.
It was an honor to be invited to such a high-level gathering and get a peek at where Thorne is headed in the future — from maintaining quality and meeting production demands to new at-home health testing and advanced technology that will print completely personalized supplements. It was clear Thorne had made a tough and expensive decision to move, but one that was perfect for where they are heading.
Throughout the weekend, we were able to meet with other passionate colleagues and hear how they are supporting their communities. There is a strong national movement toward incorporating lifestyle and personalized medicine into conventional health care. And Thorne is right in the middle of all this excitement, with its leadership pioneering the way.
While Super Drug has earned the reputation as the leading clinical nutrition center in our region, our store has also placed itself on the national map as one of the country’s most successful centers within an independent pharmacy. We are, impressively enough, one of Thorne’s largest pharmacy accounts in the world and so it made sense to have us there.
We were able to share about our successful endeavors in supporting the local community in gaining direct access to professional supplements. Products that contain the most bio-available materials, are formulated in effective dosages, and don’t have needless or harmful other ingredients. Many I spoke with were impressed as I shared that our nutrition center has every single Thorne product in stock and that we are based in a small rural town in North Idaho.
Now that Thorne is reaching into their 35th year of operation, I am grateful to have been a part of their evolution. Super Drug was one of the first pharmacies in the world to offer their products to customers and I will be delighted to continue this for another 35 years.
Scott Porter, a functional medicine pharmacist, is the director of the Center for Functional Nutrition at Sandpoint Super Drug.