Missouri Minute: Restaurant workers to receive free COVID-19 testing; state transportation projects nixed

Good morning, MBA readers,

With Columbia’s face mask order set to take effect Friday evening, Kansas City officials are planning to extend the duration of a similar order in their city as the state’s big cities look to clamp down on the spread of the coronavirus. In a different sort of response to the coronavirus, YRC Worldwide, a trucking company based in the Kansas City area, has ironed out the details of a $700 million federal loan it’s getting under the CARES Act, giving the U.S. Department of Treasury a 30% stake in the company. Other businesses in financial trouble won’t be getting lifelines, potentially altering the retail landscape. Clothing retailer Brooks Brothers and kitchen goods seller Sur La Table, which both operate stores in Missouri, have filed for bankruptcy.


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Now hear this

Speaking Startup: What gives, millennial entrepreneurs?
Research published by the Small Business Administration suggests millennials are the least entrepreneurial generation in a century. On this week’s Speaking Startup podcast, we dig into that idea, looking at some of the numbers on entrepreneurship by generation and exploring the gap between millennials’ desire and ability to start a business.


Stay alert

Kansas City restaurant workers can receive free COVID-19 testing
The Kansas City Health Department and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services will host a three-day testing event. They will administer up to 2,000 tests between Monday and Wednesday. (KCUR)

Cerner contract with VA could grow by another $1 billion
A House subcommittee has proposed a $1.1 billion increase to the 2021 budget for modernizing the Department of Veteran Affairs’ electronic health records. North Kansas City-based Cerner landed an initial $10 billion contract with the VA in 2018. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Some transportation projects nixed after program budget halved
Gov. Mike Parson announced in December that 20 transportation projects would receive $50 million under a cost-share program. The budget finalized amid the COVID-19 pandemic allocates only $25 million to the projects. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Springfield-Greene County Health Department to propose staffing increase
The department plans to ask the city council for permission to increase its staffing as COVID-19 continues to spread. It wants to add 37 contract employees, using $2.2 million of its unused funding. (Springfield Business Journal)

Mayor to extend KC mask mandate
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas will extend an order requiring people to wear masks in public venues throughout the city. It was set to expire Sunday. The news comes with a mask order for Columbia set to take effect Friday evening. (WDAFMBA)

YRC finalizes $700 million Treasury Department loan
Relief for the Overland Park, Kansas-based trucking company will come in two tranches, with the $400 million second tranche funding the purchase of tractors and trailers. The loan is the first of its kind from CARES Act funds designated for companies deemed critical. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Anchor Packaging acquires Wisconsin plastic fabricator
Executives at Anchor, a Ballwin-based specialty food packaging supplier, said the acquisition of Panoramic will help the company expand its products and add customers. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Wells Fargo to cut tens of thousands of jobs
The largest employer among U.S. banks is expected to make the move due to the current economic downturn and previous fines. Wells Fargo is the parent of St. Louis-based Wells Fargo Advisors, which employs more than 13,000 financial advisers. (Bloomberg Law)

Brooks Brothers files for bankruptcy after 200 years in business
The men’s clothing retailer, which has three Missouri stores, will halt manufacturing at its U.S. factories next month while it looks for a new owner. (Wall Street Journal)

Sur La Table to close KC store amid bankruptcy
The Seattle-based kitchen retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is working on a sale. (Kansas City Business Journal)

CVS completes rebranding of Schnucks pharmacies
The pharmacy chain announced in March that it would acquire 98 of the St. Louis-based grocery chain’s pharmacies in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)


Say that again

“We are seeing it get better every single day. We … are taking baby steps to reopening.”

That’s Steve Hartley, co-owner of Dick’s 5 & 10, a souvenir and gift store in Branson, reflecting on the process of reopening after Gov. Mike Parson lifted statewide coronavirus restrictions. Precautions and pivots are common themes among reopened businesses across the state. Many have implemented new norms such as social distancing and stricter capacity limits. Some are capturing sales from new market opportunities brought about by the pandemic, like Missouri Ridge Distillery, which began producing hand sanitizer instead of spirits. Others are testing new technology, like a Branson theater that started live-streaming its shows.


Go figure

1,870

That’s the number of contact tracers Missouri would need to have enough staff to contain the coronavirus, according to a nationwide association of public health officials. State officials are facing challenges in monitoring and tracking COVID-19 cases in various counties. Contact tracing is a labor-intensive process used to interview those who have tested positive and track down individuals they may have come in close contact with. While federal funding to hire more contact tracers has yet to arrive, some contact tracers who are currently employed are working seven days a week.


Send tweet

The tweet was an official announcement Sprint Center being renamed as the T-Mobile Center. The new name drew some criticism from Kansas Citians who shared their opinions on Twitter. T-Mobile, which acquired Sprint in April, laid off 200 Sprint employees in late June and shut down Sprint’s 5G network after pulling customers to its network.


Hello, my name is

Boddle 

That’s the name of a Kansas City-based education technology startup that uses a game-based platform to enhance students’ learning and help parents and teachers track progress. Boddle received a $350,000 investment from Tulsa-based Atento Capital that has prompted the company to relocate to Tulsa next month, Startland News reports. Boddle launched its product in 2019 and has found success since the start of the pandemic as school closures have created demand for products that engage students at home.


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


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