A drugstore is coming to Grain Valley, taking the place of Red Cross Pharmacy, which closes in two weeks.

Red Cross has been in the community for years. Last month, it announced the sale of its 14 locations in Missouri to CVS Health, which is keeping all but two open. Grain Valley is one of the two.

So Buckner Pharmacy is moving to Grain Valley, aiming to open next week, before Red Cross closes. Ann and Jared Hils own Hils Pharmacy, and Buckner Pharmacy is a division of that.

Timothy Russell, executive director of the Grain Valley Partnership, said Ann Hils reached out when word of the Red Cross closing came. As they talked, it made more and more sense to move the business than try to serve Grain Valley from Buckner.

Russell said Buckner Pharmacy is keeping its current staff and offering jobs to three or four from Red Cross as well. It will continue to serve customers in Buckner as well.

It’s a win for Grain Valley.

“We’re as excited as we can be about that,” Russell said.

Quick hits

The old Zio’s on 39th Street in Independence has come down, making way for an 8,800-square-foot multi-tenant site. Aspen Dental is among those scheduled to move in. … The Denny’s at 3939 S. Noland Road has reopened after some renovation. The company says two more – one in Independence on Missouri 291, one in Blue Springs – will get renovations this fall. … Taco John’s now says its new location at 4242 S. Noland Road opens June 4.

Get a job, if you can

Jeff Pinkerton, senior researcher at the Mid-American Regional Council, was talking about the regional economy.

“Our economy here in Kansas City – doing OK, could be doing better,” he said.

Job creation has been good in some sectors: autos, rail freight and computer system design. Kansas City is just one of 12 cities with a Federal Reserve bank, and that helps. Of course, an aging population drives health-care jobs, though not all pay that well. The problem is those gains have been largely offset by huge losses in telecommunications, specifically Sprint, Pinkerton said.

More broadly, the economy here and elsewhere is changing. My take is that Kansas City simply has to come to grips with the fact that quality-of-life concerns are not add-ons. They are crucial in attracting talent.

“People are determining their quality of life before they determine their job,” Pinkerton said.

That’s just sounds like a millennial thing, you say? Maybe, but Rob Russell of the University of Missouri Extension Labor and Workforce Development program of the University of Missouri Extension, points out that millennials, not baby boomers, have accounted for the largest share of the workforce since 2015.

These comments came in a discussion about the workforce at the annual Independence Business Expo earlier this month, where there are always speakers with thought-provoking ideas. The Q&A was lively, too.

There’s clearly a training gap, one person said, when I’m looking to hire college grads and find that many cannot write a grammatically correct sentence.

“I don’t think you are a lone voice on that,” Pinkerton said.

The dearth of soft skills – the basics of playing nicely and effectively in a work setting – was another complaint. One person who spends her days working with people trying to get better jobs put this way: “My favorite line is, they don’t know what they don’t know.”

Overall, it was the story we hear often: Jobs numbers have come back in the decade since the Great Recession, but new jobs generally pay less. Meanwhile, good jobs go begging for lack of qualified candidates. There’s a gap of people skills and specific job skills alike.

“Education is key,” Pinkerton said. “... Lifelong learning is important.”

-- Jeff Fox is The Examiner’s editor. Reach him at 816-350-6365 or jeff.fox@examiner.net. Follow him on Twitter at @FoxEJC.