A new business that has the potential to bring new jobs and put some money in the pockets of Lamar County residents is coming to Paris. Across from Paris Junior College on Clarksville Street will be the new Parachute plasma donation center, a project headed by developer Joshua Grosbard.
Grosbard presented his plan for the center at a Lamar County Chamber of Commerce event last week, sharing that plasma donation centers offer up the opportunity to sit down for about a half an hour and, in Parachute’s case, earn up to $5,000 a year by visiting twice a week.
“That’s the down payment on a new car, or money for a much-needed vacation,” Grosbard said.
Plasma is a substance extracted from blood that is used to treat patients who need immune system support, help with blood clotting deficiencies, or those who have gone through trauma and shock, like burn victims. Grosbard said researchers desperately need more plasma, and Lamar County residents can now be a part of making that happen.
“Americans donated 50 million times last year. That actually wasn’t enough to make all the medicine needed for people with immune-related disorders ...” he said. “We believe we’re helping the industry because no one’s ever tried to go to a town this size … and in no uncertain terms, you’ve helped save someone’s life.”
Grosbard said the idea behind Parachute is not only to help patients and scientific research, but to provide a completely different plasma donation experience. Giants in the plasma donation business, like BioLife, have massive centers with dozens of beds, but Parachute will have less than 20, giving donors a more peaceful and private experience. Grosbard also said the center will allow donors to book appointments through an app so they can schedule ahead of time and not have to wait in a long line.
“We believe we’re doing this in a tech-forward manner,” he said.
Grosbard said by using an app, Parachute is working to build a “boutique” plasma donation center that isn’t only modern and sleek, but streamlines a process that can sometimes be tedious and time consuming.
“What should take 15 minutes to an hour, sometimes you show up and there’s 100 people and it takes three hours,” Grosbard said. And then from the plasma center side, what happens sometimes is you’re only staffed for 50 people to show up and 300 people show up, and it’s not the experience that it should be. And so we’ve really been focused on building a digital connection to the donor, and we built a beautiful environment, so we basically just ask you to reserve a time slot, and the more flexible you can be with your time, the more money you can make.”
The app also allows donors to not only reserve time slots and keep track of the money they’re making, but it also has a support system built in that allows clients to chat directly with staff to ask questions or give feedback.
“If you click the chat (option), it just says it starts with ‘Hi, how can I help you?’ and you can say ‘XYZ happened,’ or maybe you just want to say, ‘Hey, I had a great experience,’ or ‘I really appreciated this person in the center,’ — whatever it is. Our goal is to really give you the experience that you deserve for taking the time to come down.”
Grosbard is aiming to open by Dec. 7 and he said after the center gets established, locals will have the opportunity to apply for a job, as he will be looking to add new staff members.