Missouri Minute: State officials expect highest turnout since 1992; mall operator files for bankruptcy

Hello, MBA readers,

As Missourians head to the polls to cast their ballots, state officials are predicting 75% voter turnout this year, which would be the state’s highest percentage in almost three decades. Nearly 828,000 Missourians had already cast ballots through Sunday, according to the secretary of state, dwarfing absentee voting totals from four years ago. The rise in absentee and mail-in voting has driven high demand for notaries in the state, and many have answered the call amid a larger, pandemic-induced shift in the landscape of their industry. And the election isn’t just driving big turnout at the polls — it’s also generating heightened interest among business owners. A special election episode of the Speaking Startup podcast gauged the sentiments of some Missouri entrepreneurs on the eve of Election Day.


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Speaking Startup: Entrepreneurs on the election
Nearly two in three small business owners said they were more interested in this year’s election than in the 2016 election, and 40% of entrepreneurs said they were “much more” interested this year, according to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey. Focus on the election was especially high in the Midwest, where 71% of small business owners expressed interest in this year’s proceedings. On the eve of the election, the Speaking Startup podcast visited with Missouri entrepreneurs about this year’s vote, which comes amid unprecedented and challenging circumstances for many business owners due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Stay alert

Major Missouri mall operator files for bankruptcy
CBL & Associates Properties, which owns eight shopping malls in or near Missouri, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The Tennessee-based company has suffered financially as some of its tenants, including J.C. Penney and Chuck E. Cheese, have gone through their own bankruptcy proceedings. (St. Louis Post-DispatchKansas City Business Journal)

St. Louis County could face tighter restrictions, Page warns
St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said Monday that he was not tightening COVID-19 restrictions now, but that he could if current infection rates don’t decline. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

PPE stockpiling hurting smaller health care facilities
Large hospital systems were made a priority for COVID-19 masks and protective gear, with some acquiring large stores in case of outbreaks. That has left some smaller facilities vulnerable and unable to secure proper equipment. (KCUR)

Springfield pop-up shop debuts, features local art
The Local Bevy opened on Oct. 23 and will stay open through December. About 20 artists have their merchandise displayed at the location. (Springfield Business Journal)


Say that again

“Everybody’s refinancing. And so there’s just tons of refinancing work to be had at the moment. I don’t know how long that will last. But for now, that’s the case.”

That’s Michael Peregrine, who runs KC Notary Associates, a mobile notary service in Kansas City, discussing one reason for the opportunities the pandemic has created in the notary business. After the COVID-19 pandemic began, forcing people to stay at home, notaries have adapted to meet changes in demand for their services verifying official documents. States have altered their approach to notarization, too, with the number allowing remote online notarization nearly doubling in recent months. In Missouri, which requires notarization of mail-in and some absentee ballots, notaries have also responded to a surge in demand for their services this election season.


Go figure

2

That’s the number of seats Democrats need to gain in the Missouri Senate to deny Republicans a veto-proof supermajority in that chamber for the first time since 2008. Democrats would need to pick up seven seats in the Missouri House to deprive Republicans of a similar two-thirds majority in that chamber. The GOP is expected to maintain legislative majorities in both chambers of the state legislature, but 33 districts in Missouri have featured competitive elections since 2012 and appear to be among the most likely seats to change party affiliations this year, the Missouri Independent reports.


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Missouri election officials are expecting this year’s election to draw the state’s highest voter turnout in almost 30 years, the Associated Press reports. The secretary of state’s office is forecasting voter turnout of 3.2 million, or about 75% of the state’s 4.3 million registered voters. That would be the highest percentage turnout since 1992. As of Sunday, nearly 828,000 Missourians had turned in absentee or mail-in ballots, which was about three times as many absentee ballots as the state counted in 2016.


Hello my name is

Nina Leigh Krueger

St. Louis-based pet food company Nestlé Purina PetCare has tapped Krueger to become the first female chief executive officer in company history. Currently the president of Nestlé Purina U.S., Krueger will take over as president and CEO of Nestlé Purina PetCare for the Americas effective Jan. 1. She will become just the eight chief executive in the history of the company, which dates back to 1894. Krueger became chief marketing officer in 2015 and ascended to her current role in 2016. She will replace Joseph Sivewright, who will become the company’s chairman.


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



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