Hello, MBA readers,
The airline industry’s struggles arising from the coronavirus pandemic continue to drive job losses in Missouri. Boeing supplier LMI Aerospace will close a St. Charles factory, resulting in 52 layoffs, and national airport retailer Hudson Group is laying off or furloughing 84 people in St. Louis. In the Kansas City area, researchers at two hospitals find themselves in a holding pattern. Their trials for a COVID-19 vaccine have been paused after a patient involved in the same trial in the U.K. fell sick. And, as people try to navigate the challenges of voting amid COVID-19, one Kansas City entrepreneur has started a new business to help with that process, providing mobile notary services for mail-in ballots.
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Airport retailer Hudson Group laying off or furloughing 84 in St. Louis
The company already laid off 41 employees from St. Louis Lambert International Airport. An additional 27 will be laid off Oct. 1, and 16 more will be put on long-term furlough. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
LMI Aerospace to close St. Charles production facility, lay off 52
LMI, a Boeing supplier, has already laid off or furloughed 350 of its more than 700 employees in Missouri. The pandemic has compounded problems for LMI that started with the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Children’s Mercy, KU Med put COVID-19 vaccine trial on hold
A trial for a vaccine from pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is paused while an adverse reaction from a trial participant in the United Kingdom is investigated. Children’s Mercy Hospital and the University of Kansas Medical Center are leading local trials of the vaccine, which is being tested in more than 60 sites across the U.S. (KCUR)
CARES Act funding to support mobile dental clinic in St. Louis County
Affinia Healthcare will use the mobile clinic to travel across north St. Louis County and provide reduced-cost dental care to low-income patients, many of whom are uninsured and living below the poverty line. (St. Louis Public Radio)
St. Louis co-working space closes, looks to relocate after dispute over mask mandate
Jim Shelvy, owner of NexCore, raised concerns about enforcing the St. Louis mask order among the co-working space’s tenants. Shelvy says the space is large enough to allow social distancing without masks. (St. Louis Business Journal)
Governor announces $1 million grant to Urban League for an anti-crime initiative
The grant will allow the group to expand its program focused on de-escalating gun violence and connecting crime victims to resources. Gov. Mike Parson has met some resistance from lawmakers over bills he has promoted during a special legislative session called to address crime. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Bank Midwest president to join CommunityAmerica Credit Union
Whitney Bartelli will move to the Lenexa, Kansas-based credit union as chief marketing and strategy officer. Bartelli has 30 years of marketing experience, primarily in the financial services sector. (Kansas City Business Journal)
Say that again
“In order to break down the barriers of entry, we have to be able to position ourselves to have wealth. Not just a little cash, but wealth.”
That’s Melanie Marie Randels, co-founder of the Canna Education Collective, a center dedicated to educating people on the business of marijuana, speaking about the barrier that lack of access to capital can pose to new entrepreneurs, St. Louis Public Radio reports. As states across the country legalize the use of marijuana in various forms, doors open for new businesses to form. But that also means those with the most access to wealth and funding could dominate the young marijuana industry. In Missouri, the state has delayed approving cultivation sites, and while this might be frustrating to some, it could also allow new or less connected entrepreneurs a chance to catch up to the competition. Some local entrepreneurs in St. Louis have said that the delay will actually help their business.
Veteran lending in Kansas City increased that much for the quarter ended June 30, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. That ranked 29th nationally. The increase coincided with a rise in refinancing by veterans in the area, which was up 267% — 10th nationally. Low interest rates have helped drive those increases, according to Chris Birk, a vice president for Columbia-based mortgage lender Veterans United Home Loans.
Leave it to a KC innovator to hack through Missouri voting barriers. Curbside notary service wants to help make voting by mail easier. What a world! #MOLegislature @molegislature #Vote2020 https://t.co/RBlZ7rTH3T
— KC Chamber Government (@kcchamberGOV) August 23, 2020
The Kansas City Chamber of Commerce tweeted about a new business in the city looking to solve problems for Missouri voters. Curbside Notary is a mobile notary service designed to provide voters with easy to access notarization for mail-in ballots, Startland News reports. Missouri is one of three states requiring mail-in ballots to be notarized, and the pandemic has led to an influx of people seeking to vote this way. Founder Danielle Lehman said she started the business because she wants people to be able to vote safely, and wanted to provide an easy way for people to do so.
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The Kansas City-based government technology company is going global. The startup, which makes software for government functions like vehicle registration and utility payments, has been growing quickly, reporting 130% average annual revenue growth over the last two years. Now PayIt will expand to its first international market, Startland News reports, opening a Canadian headquarters in Toronto. The expansion is not expected to affect operations in Kansas City, where most of PayIt’s current full-time employees are based.
It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.