Missouri Minute: Small-business pay surges in Missouri; Columbia factory to lay off 41 workers

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The St. Louis World’s Fair started 115 years ago this week, on April 30, 1904. The event, formally known as the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, led to the invention of the ice cream cone, among other claims to fame. There will be no World’s Fair reprise this year, but we have an eclectic array of business news this morning, including a spike in small-business wages, a men’s apparel startup getting traction in Kansas City and a longstanding grocery store shutting its doors.

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Small-business pay surges in Missouri
Missouri surpassed all other states in April for small-business wage growth, hitting $25.55 per hour, which is a 3.48% jump over last year. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Columbia factory to lay off 41 workers, shift jobs to Mexico
Industrial heater manufacturer Watlow will move some production to Quertaro, Mexico, and another round of layoffs will occur in July. (KBIA)

St. Louis Community College’s $41 million health building near completion
The Forest Park location’s Center for Nursing and Health Sciences seeks to bring in students interested in the expanding health sector. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Clayco appoints new CEO to its architecture and design firm
Lamar Johnson will take over the helm of BatesForum as the company trims its real estate design and construction branches. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Missouri House shows support for stricter rules on suing for extra money
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Bruce DeGroot, said it would discourage early settlements and “we ought to be protecting” businesses. (Columbia Missourian)

State Senate committee hears bill on changing TIF definitions
The bill would change the definition of “blighted” and would prohibit tax increment financing for developments in flood plains. (Columbia Missourian)

Pepsi to widen St. Louis footprint with new lease
The beverage company will expand in the area with a 250,000-square-foot facility in Kinloch. (St. Louis Business Journal)

St. Charles wants Missourians to pay to recreate island on Missouri River
Tucked into the state’s $30 billion budget is a $2 million appropriation to fund the resurgence of Bangert Island near the Ameristar Casino in St. Charles. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Say that again

“We’ve got to go. I’m going to miss a lot of friends after all these years. We didn’t want to do it but it was kind of forced on us.”

Leon Stapleton, owner of Leon’s Thriftway in Kansas City, said this about his grocery store in Kansas City, which is closing, The Kansas City Star reports. Stapleton, 93, opened the store with his wife in 1969. It’s one of the oldest black-owned grocery stores in the country.

Show me

Today’s graphic looks at the non-English languages spoken in Missouri. Nearly 150,000 people in the state speak Spanish at home, making it the most common non-English language spoken in Missouri. Chinese and German round out the top three.

Go figure


A new study from the National Education Association ranked Missouri 43rd nationally for teacher pay in 2017-2018, the Columbia Missourian reports. The average annual salary for a Missouri public school teacher was $49,304. Missouri sat just behind Kansas, which was ranked 41st.

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Sam Page was picked by the St. Louis County Council to serve as county executive Monday, shortly after the indictment of Steve Stenger, who resigned from office. Page is scheduled to serve until Jan. 1, 2021. Previously, he was an anesthesiologist and Democratic state representative from 2003 to 2008. He was first elected to the county council in August 2014.

Hello, my name is


The Kansas City men’s apparel and fashion store originally started as a social media brand. And they have a following — 4,400-plus Instagram followers, Startland News reports. The owners of the store, Buck Wimberly and Joey Mendez, said they played to each other’s strengths when envisioning the store, which aims to give men a place to “outfit every facet of their lives.”

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