Charlotte: Changing face

 In April 2016, NC Trend

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With Charlotte’s plethora of yoga studios, nail bars and salons, it’s clear that its residents are preoccupied with looking their best. So it’s not surprising that a 2014 study by RealSelf.com ranked Charlotte among the top five U.S. cities based on the number of board-certified plastic surgeons per capita. (Salt Lake City topped the list.) Much of the industry’s recent growth is due to surging demand for nonsurgical procedures, which are less expensive and have minimal or no recovery times.

At the center of that growth is Charlotte Plastic Surgery, which is celebrating its 65th anniversary, making it one of the oldest practices in the country. Botox-maker Allergan ranks Charlotte Plastic Surgery 29th out of 34,000 clients in its aesthetics division, which also includes breast implants and fillers — injectables used to diminish wrinkles and plump up thin lips. Allergan is owned by Parsippany, N.J.-based pharmaceutical giant Actavis.

Years ago, patients went to great lengths to keep it a secret if they had “work done.” Now, plastic surgery is mainstream as procedures have become more reliable and outcomes more predictable. “People come in for Botox like they go in to have their hair done,” says Paul Watterson, partner and board chairman at Charlotte Plastic Surgery.

All age groups are showing up in greater numbers, says Watterson, one of the practice’s six doctors. As an established practice, the group’s patient base is now multigenerational: Longtime patients bring in their daughters and granddaughters. Men are a growth market, particularly for upper eyelid surgery and male breast reduction.

One of the most popular treatments is the “mommy makeover,” a customizable combination of procedures that help a woman get her body back into shape after giving birth. The package, which can include breast lift or augmentation, tummy tuck and/or liposuction, costs from $8,000 to $20,000.

Like other industries, the business suffered in the recession of 2007-09, when patients couldn’t afford elective procedures such as lipo and facelifts. But nonsurgical — also called minimally-invasive — procedures increased during that time. The practice now employs 37 people in two offices.

New products, drugs and technologies mean more choices for patients, though doctors sometimes refuse treatment to those who smoke, are overweight or have other medical conditions. “The art of being a great plastic surgeon is directing [clients] toward something that is best for them,” Watterson says.


CHARLOTTE – Babson Capital Management and subsidiaries Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers, Wood Creek Capital Management and Baring Asset Management will consolidate under the Barings brand, creating a firm with more than $260 billion under management. Tom Finke, chairman and CEO of Babson, will lead the new firm, which will be based here. The businesses are affiliates of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance.

CHARLOTTE – Owner Starwood Retail Partners will invest $50 million in an expansion of Northlake Mall. The Chicago-based real-estate investment firm bought an 11-acre parcel adjacent to the mall where it will develop a 200,000-square-foot lifestyle center. Construction is expected to begin by early 2017.

CHARLOTTE – Republic Services will open a customer-service center, adding 350 jobs over three years. The Phoenix-based company provides recycling and waste-disposal services and will invest $6.8 million in the local call center.

CHARLOTTE – Crescent Communities launched Fielding Homes, a residential home construction business. Executive Vice President Scott Widener will lead the division. The company’s first homes will be built in Masons Bend in Fort Mill, S.C., with prices starting in the mid-$300s.

CHARLOTTE – Rite Aid will close its local distribution center, affecting 270 employees. The Camp Hill, Pa.-based pharmacy is consolidating operations into another center in Spartanburg, S.C.

GROVER – Uniquetex will create 150 jobs and invest  $31.6 million in a plant that will produce nonwoven fabrics for use in health care. The Cleveland County location will be the first in the U.S. for the China-based company.

SHELBY – KSM Castings Group will invest $80 million in an expansion of its local plant, adding 80 jobs over five years. The Germany-based company, which is owned by CITIC Dicastal of China, makes lightweight metal automotive components at the plant, which opened in 2013.


PROFILE

Eugene Woods will become chief executive officer and president of Charlotte-based Carolinas HeathCare System, replacing Michael Tarwater, who is retiring in June. A 24-year veteran of the health care industry, Woods, 51, has been president and chief operating officer of Christus Health, an Irving, Texas-based Catholic system with more than 50 hospitals, since 2011. He comes on board as the 39-hospital system undertakes a $150 million expansion of its Levine Cancer Institute, a project that will include a new 260,000-square-foot outpatient center and 32 new beds for oncology patients.

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