Emerald Therapy Center co-owner Shelly Baer, left, speaks during last week's open house at the center's Murray location inside the Swann Warehouse on Poplar Street. Baer is joined by her husband, Kevin, also a co-owner.

MURRAY — The story of the Swann Warehouse project that breathed new life into a building that stood vacant for years after serving a major role in Murray’s tobacco history has had a new chapter written.

Apartments were designed for the third floor, while the fledgling AgConnections business took over the second floor. The first floor was reserved for retail/office establishments with Journey Church and Black Pearl Properties quickly taking spots in that portion of the building on Poplar Street. 

Now, a new tenant has arrived in the form of the Emerald Therapy Center, a Paducah-based counseling/therapy/life coaching operation that formally was introduced to the Murray community last week. The business’ co-owner, Shelly Baer, said she and her staff are excited to be in Murray but also want to have a place in making it better.

“Our whole purpose with this is that we build healthy communities,” said Baer, who co-owns the center with her husband, Kevin. “Jake Allen, our operations manager, and Kevin were the visionaries for the space here. When they were looking at it, there was nothing here and they’ve done everything with the space and we’re super pleased to just retain the building and create the vibe we wanted to with the people here.”

The Murray location represents the first for Emerald outside of Paducah since the business was established in 2014. Shelly said expansion to other areas quickly became a topic of discussion after Emerald experienced strong growth in its early stages in Paducah.

“We are a behavioral counseling center, which means we are licensed to do outpatient along with different levels of care. So we can treat addiction, anxiety, depression and most of what we do is with anxiety, depression and relationship issues,” Shelly said. “We also work with families, with children, anyone of any age. 

“We’re also really excited to work with corporation MAPS for Murray State and other businesses. That means employees can come to us for counseling as a benefit through the company. We’re also looking to collaborate with churches and the faith-based community as a whole.”

Murray-Calloway County Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Michelle Bundren said the establishment of this and other counseling/therapy clinics and services in the community seems to represent an increasing awareness in their importance locally. 

“Just the topic of mental wellness and health is something that, in the past, has had a bad connotation, and I love the fact that, not only in our community, but our society, is really embracing the importance of it,” Bundren said. “And I’m especially thankful for all of the professionals who can help people in any situation, and that goes for not only personally but professionally as well. I know they do a lot for our business people.”  

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