Missouri Minute: Pet supply retailer could bring 1,600 jobs to Belton; state added to quarantine lists 

Hello, MBA readers,

Residents of Belton will soon see an influx of new jobs in the city, after the online pet supply retailer Chewy announced plans to invest $143 million building a fulfillment center there. The company expects to create as many as 1,600 jobs by 2023. Across the state, two St. Louis startups are also welcoming capital infusions. The cybersecurity startup Q Net Security has been awarded a $3 million contract with the U.S. Air Force, while esports startup Mission Control has raised $1.75 million in a seed funding round. Plus, with Missouri’s August primary elections less than two weeks away and the state in the midst of a pandemic, Missourians who are eligible to vote via absentee or mail-in ballot must submit ballot requests by 5 p.m. Wednesday. Details on that — and the day’s top business stories — are below.

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Pet supply retailer could bring 1,600 jobs to Belton
Online pet supply retailer Chewy plans to invest more than $143 million building a fulfillment center in Belton, bringing as many as 1,600 new jobs. The Missouri Development Finance Board approved $2.8 million in bonds to help finance the project. (Kansas City Star)

KC mayor asks schools to delay reopening until after Labor Day
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas wants all schools in the city to delay reopening due to recent spikes in coronavirus cases. Rex Archer, director of the city’s health department, also recommended the delay. (KCUR)

Kansas City’s Isle of Capri Casino to undergo $61 million renovation
Twin River Worldwide Holdings purchased the casino earlier this month and is now planning a substantial redevelopment. The new features will include a restaurant, spa and amphitheater. (Kansas City Star)

Columbia ranked among college towns most affected by pandemic
The city ranked 25th on a list of college towns most affected by the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, according to financial technology company SmartAsset. Columbia relies heavily on college students to support its economy, placing the city in a vulnerable position, according to the study. (Columbia Missourian)

St. Louis cybersecurity startup lands $3 million contract with US Air Force
Q-Net Security has been awarded a small business innovation research contract following an earlier contract with the Air Force. Q-Net has developed cybersecurity hardware and will continue work with the military on a secure network. (St. Louis Business Journal)

UMKC, S&T faculty oppose merger of MU chancellor and system president positions
Faculty at two of the University of Missouri System’s four campuses oppose combining the positions of University of Missouri chancellor and University of Missouri System president. They say merging the jobs of the Columbia campus leader and statewide system chief could lead to conflicts of interest and unfair distribution of funding. System curators could vote on the proposition as early as Thursday. (Columbia Missourian)

Columbia may waive bus fares until 2021
City staff have recommend that bus and para-transit service remain free because funds obtained through federal coronavirus relief could support an extension. (Columbia Missourian)

Columbia airport looks to add Charlotte flight with revenue guarantee
Columbia Regional Airport is seeking to add service to Charlotte Douglas International Airport with a revenue guarantee from the city council. The airport would use an $800,000 federal grant and $300,000 in local and state contributions to entice American Airlines to add the flight. (Columbia Missourian)

Missouri added to quarantine lists 
Missouri has been added to New York, Connecticut and New Jersey’s lists of states from which visitors are required to quarantine because of spikes in coronavirus cases. (Associated Press)

Say that again

“There’s medical evidence that masks prevent coronavirus from spreading, a virus that guards may be bringing with them into prisons every day.”

That’s Wanda Bertram, spokesperson for the nonprofit Prison Policy Initiative, speaking about the limited mask requirements for staff at Missouri prisons. As confirmed cases of COVID-19 among inmates rise, some say the virus is being brought into facilities by the only people allowed to freely come and go from them — the staff. Both inmates and their families have asked for stricter masking policies in order to protect everyone from further spread of the virus. A women’s prison in Chillicothe has responded to these requests by adopting a mask requirement for corrections officers and inmates in most areas of the facility, The Kansas City Star reports.

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There is still time for Missourians to request absentee or mail-in ballots for the Aug. 4 election, but requests have to be filed by 5 p.m. Wednesday. Those interested in submitting requests must do so through their local election authority, but the Missouri Secretary of State’s office provides a downloadable form to get that process started. Due to the coronavirus, eligibility for absentee ballots has been expanded to include people who are suffering from COVID-19 or qualify as at-risk, the Springfield News Leader reports. The August primary will decide parties’ candidates for the November general election, and it will also determine the fate of a proposal to expand Medicaid coverage in Missouri.

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Mission Control

This St. Louis-based esports startup has raised $1.75 million as part of a seed funding round, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. The company makes software to help users organize and host recreational esports competitions. Mission Control founder and CEO Austin Smith said the company strives to create a virtual community with the same sort of camaraderie that players might find during in-person sporting competitions. The startup plans to use the funding to grow multiple facets of the business, including hiring employees and adding features to the software.

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


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