Missouri Minute: Build-A-Bear cuts movie deal; MU invests in agricultural center

Good morning, MBA readers,

Holiday weekends like the one we just had are busy times for airlines. Now, a couple major carriers have announced they will embark on one of the busiest travel holidays of the year, Thanksgiving, without the Boeing 737 Max returning to their fleets. Elsewhere, Build-A-Bear Workshop has struck a deal to bring its stuffed bears to the big screen. Plus, the Kansas City Royals are getting a new owner. Scroll down for these stories and other news from around the state.

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American, United extend Boeing cancellations until December
American and United airlines have pulled the Boeing 737 Max from their schedules until Dec. 3, a month later than previously expected. American Airlines expects to cancel about 140 flights through the Thanksgiving travel season. (CNBC)

Alaska Airlines to cut West Coast route from KCI
Seattle-based Alaska Airlines will no longer offer a route between Kansas City International Airport and San Francisco International Airport starting in January. The move is part of the airline’s strategy of concentrating routes along the West Coast. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Ameren to keep coal waste buried in the ground
Ameren plans to cover the storage ponds where it keeps decades of coal ash — a byproduct of burning coal that contains arsenic and mercury — and continue to monitor groundwater. Critics say the St. Louis utility risks polluting the groundwater and adjacent waterways because the storage ponds are built on flood plains along major rivers. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Build-A-Bear goes to Hollywood with new deal, film unit
St. Louis-based Build-A-Bear Workshop has partnered with Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions to develop a new film production entity called Build-A-Bear Entertainment. The company, which also expects to air a holiday movie for the Hallmark Channel this winter, will focus on The Honey Girls for its big screen debut. (St. Louis Business Journal)

MU invests $6.5 million in its agricultural center
The University of Missouri has invested $6.5 million in the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station, which is part of the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. The funds are to be used to help advance “next generation agricultural technologies” across the state. (Columbia Missourian)

KC-area chamber president quits after one year on the job
Blake Fry resigned effective immediately on Friday as president of the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce. Fry, who previously served as a commerce and tourism official in Wisconsin, did not give a reason for his departure. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Send tweet

With that tweet, the Kansas City Royals officially confirmed reports that had been circulating for days. John Sherman, a Kansas City businessman who made his fortune in the energy sector, will lead a group of local investors buying the Royals from David Glass, who purchased the team for $96 million in 2000. The purchase price for Sherman was not announced, but a recent valuation by Forbes suggested the team was worth about $1 billion. The deal is expected to be approved in November at the Major League Baseball owners meetings, The Kansas City Star reports, which would make Sherman the third owner of the Royals since the team’s inception in 1969.

Say that again

“We have deep connections in Kansas City, and over the last eight years, we’ve grown all without any outside debt or any outside investment.”

That’s Thomas Sanchez, Kansas City native and CEO and co-founder of Social Driver. Sanchez’s Washington D.C.-based digital marketing firm, which he describes as the “SWAT team for digital,” has embraced its founders’ roots with an expansion in Kansas City earlier this year, Startland News reports. Sanchez says the company has been able to grow its Kansas City office organically by tapping into its existing contacts in the area.

Hello, my name is

WEPOWER Elevate/Elevar

That’s the name of a new diversity-focused business accelerator in St. Louis, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The six-month program was designed for entrepreneurs who identify as black or Hispanic, with a focus on early-stage companies that have demonstrated traction. WEPOWER founder Charli Cooksey says the accelerator’s goal is to redesign the economic, education, health and justice systems by partnering with everyday people.

It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.


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