Good morning. The pressure is on this week. State lawmakers have until Sept. 30 to extend regulatory waivers and modifications that were granted during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of the waivers impact health care professionals, prompting concerns about staff shortages at a time of rising demand for care from Covid-19 patients.
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Developer extends holdings in Columbia

Developer Don Murphy has added to his real estate holdings in Columbia, the Lancaster County borough hugging the Susquehanna River.
  • Murphy has purchased Burning Bridge Antiques Market, (shown above) which he sees as fitting into his broader vision for revitalization in Columbia.
  • The real estate -- a 24,000 square-foot building at 304 Walnut St. -- cost $800,000 according to county deed records. Murphy said the overall price was more than $1 million.
  • The market is home to more than 200 vendors and was one of the first antique markets to open in Columbia. Murphy plans to continue operating it under the umbrella of a company called Murphy Retail
  • "It's a good fit for all the other thing we're doing here," said Murphy, president of Murphy Acquisition Group and co-owner of Cimarron Investments.

What other things: Murphy's highest-profile project is the Chip Factory Hotel.
  • The Covid-19 pandemic slowed the pace of development. But Murphy said he is hoping to break ground next spring on the 79-room hotel, which will rise on the site of a former snack-food factory at 12 N. Second St.
  • Murphy also is undertaking an $8 million project to convert two old hotels into apartments and commercial space in the 300 block of Locust Street, across from the borough office.
  • The project includes about 50,000 square feet of new construction and will ultimately create 37 apartments, he said.
  • He said he expects to break ground on that project by November.
  • His other business interests include ownership of Hinkle's Restaurant, a longtime staple in Columbia.
  • Murphy Retail includes a shop called Murphy's Mercantile, which has locations in Hinkle's and at the Columbia Market House.

Quick takes

WHAT'S EXPANDING: The partnership at Conrad Siegel. The employee benefits and investment advisory firm in Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County, has named Joshua Mayhue as a partner. Mayhue, who has worked at the firm since 2005, brings Conrad Siegel's partnership group to 21 people, according to spokesperson Michelle Subbiondo. 
  • Mayhue (shown below) chairs the firm's business line that deals with company benefits for retirees.
  • He specializes in consulting for school districts but he also works with private-sector entities.

WHAT ESCAPED NOTICE: Rite Aid's pending move from Cumberland County to Philadelphia. The planned relocation did not come up last week during a conference call between Rite Aid executives and stock analysts who follow the pharmacy chain, according to a transcript. Analysts who dialed in focused on the continuing impact of Covid-19, the outlook for this year's flu season, the changing product mix at Rite Aid stores and the impact of hiring challenges, among other issues.
  • Rite Aid's move is slated for the first half of 2022, and Harsco is following. The industrial services company is relocating from Wormleysburg to Philadelphia.
  • The moves have occasioned some handwringing in Central Pennsylvania and are sure to have an impact on jobs, charitable donations and local vendors.
  • But they also stand to overshadow companies that have been growing up in the region over the last few years. They include D&H Distributing, contracting firm HB Global, and home remodeling company West Shore Home -- three home-grown companies that show no signs of moving, or slowing down.
  • D&H and West Shore Home, for example, have both moved into new, larger headquarters in the region.
  • West Shore Home has about 400 employees in Central PA and is hiring for just about every department, said Kirsten Page, a spokesperson for the company, which is based in Hampden Township.

What about those hiring challenges: On the Rite Aid conference call, CEO Heyward Donigan noted that the company recently launched a "digitally enabled recruiting platform that's really showing great results so far."
  • Rite Aid also has been raising employee wages in some states and providing enhanced opportunities for training and career development, Donigan said.
  • The company already pays above minimum wage in most of the states where it does business, she added.


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Compiled and written by Joel Berg

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