Missouri Minute: St. Louis restaurants sue over indoor dining ban; Dierbergs extends hours for holiday rush

Hello, MBA readers,

New St. Louis County health restrictions that prohibit indoor dining have caused restaurant owners in the area to raise concerns about the future of their businesses. With the city of St. Louis and neighboring counties lacking similar restrictions, many St. Louis County restaurateurs fear that customers will go elsewhere, leaving them dependent on curbside and delivery operations, which may not be sufficient to sustain their operations. That has driven some bars and restaurants in the area to take legal action against the county. Meanwhile, other businesses are planning new pandemic measures. St. Louis supermarket chain Dierbergs has announced extended hours before Thanksgiving, joining a growing list of retailers who are adjusting schedules in an effort to reduce crowds of holiday shoppers. Some unfortunate news for those shoppers? Thanksgiving dinner is expected to be more expensive this year. A new study estimates that the price of the holiday meal is up by about 11%.


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Restaurant owners to sue St. Louis County Executive for indoor dining ban 
More than 50 restaurant and bar owners are signing on to a lawsuit against St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, who issued a new health order restricting services to outdoor dining and delivery. Many plan to defy the health order, and the Missouri Restaurant Association has agreed to join the legal action. (St. Louis Public Radio)

Ohio firm acquires CTI Solutions 
The Overland Park, Kansas-based digital signage and software provider was bought by Velocity, which provides a variety of IT services to clients including Walgreens and Coach. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Organization seeks tax abatement for north St. Louis housing 
Tabernacle Community Development Corp. wants 25 years of tax abatement from the city for a multi-phase plan to renovate and build 91 homes. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Interstate Truck Center bought by Indianapolis business
The Independence company, which specializes in roadside maintenance and other auto services, was acquired by Dickinson Fleet Services, a fleet maintenance and management firm. It’s Dickinson’s 10th acquisition in three years and makes the company the largest mobile auto maintenance provider in the country. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Krewson wants to use federal aid to build tiny homes for homeless people
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson will ask a city board for approval to spend $600,000 of federal funds to build homes for homeless people who are at risk of contracting COVID-19. (St. Louis Public Radio)

Citizen panel calls for 5% pay raise for elected officials 
The Citizen Commission on Compensation for Elected Officials approved a plan to increase the salary of Missouri elected officials by 5%, which would be the first salary increase in 14 years if the Legislature approves it. The plan would cost the state $200,000 more for the next two years. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Dierbergs to extend hours before Thanksgiving
The St. Louis supermarket chain is adjusting hours on Nov. 25 to avoid bottleneck crowds in its stores, joining other retailers trying to accommodate holiday demand safely amid the pandemic. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Mobile fitness business finds opportunity during pandemic
St. Louis-based GYMGUYZ, which employs trainers who bring custom workouts and equipment to customers, has seen bookings increase 40% in the fourth quarter as some gyms struggle with COVID-19 restrictions. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Edward Jones allocates $6.5 million for Alzheimer’s research
A majority of the funding from the St. Louis financial services firm will go to researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine to find a cure and advance treatment for the disease. (St. Louis Business Journal)

MU receives $5 million donation from alumnus
Pat and Sandy Hiatte will donate a $5 million to be equally divided between the University of Missouri’s journalism school and botanic garden. (Columbia Missourian)


Say that again

“Our goal right now is just to throw as many things at the wall as we can to survive the next few months, hope that a vaccine comes out sometime soon, and hope for the best. Hope is really the only thing that that we have to hang on to.”

That’s David Sandusky, who, along with his wife, Meggan, owns the Beast barbecue restaurants in St. Louis. They have one location in the city limits and another on the Illinois side of the metro area, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. That leaves the Sanduskys, like other business owners in the area, trying to navigate coronavirus restrictions that can differ from one jurisdiction to the next. Across St. Louis County, where stricter guidelines were just enacted, restaurateurs have taken various approaches to confronting the situation, with some ramping up their curbside and delivery services and others creating outdoor seating with enough heating to entice customers to utilize it during the winter months.


Go figure

10.9%

That’s how much more expensive Thanksgiving meals are estimated to be in comparison to last year, The Kansas City Star reports, citing new data from the analytics firm Mintec. Rises in the prices of pork, turkey and potatoes contribute to the more expensive holiday meal, as the pandemic has caused shortages and disruptions in the production of those staples. However, the prices of dessert ingredients, especially for pecan pie, have fallen this year, which is good news for those with a sweet tooth this holiday season.


Hello my name is

Uncommon Giving Corp.

This is the latest initiative for CrossFirst Bank founder Ron Baldwin, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. The company launched in July. Its technology allows users to donate to 1.2 million nonprofit organizations from one digital wallet and get an annual report for tax purposes. The original platform is fully operational and currently being tested in Kansas City. More recently, the company introduced Uncommon Workplace Generosity, which will allow employees to allocate a portion of their paycheck to be donated to charity, with the potential for employers to match the contribution.


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



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