Missouri Minute: St. Louis mayor won’t seek re-election; Columbia airport construction begins

Hello, MBA readers,

In St. Louis, Mayor Lyda Krewson has announced that she will not run for re-election, after taking some time to reflect during her recent birthday. She has been mayor since 2017, and her term ends in April. As Krewson prepares to say goodbye, Columbia is hoping to eventually say hello to new flights and travelers with a new airport terminal. The project began construction on Tuesday, and supporters say they hope the expansion will open up more economic and business opportunities to the area when it’s completed in 2022. More pressingly, officials in St. Louis County want to boost businesses with a new round of grants being that could go out by the end of this year. The St. Louis Economic Development Partnership is working with the county government in a partnership that has already brought $20 million in grants to small businesses, but is hoping to deliver more relief amid pandemic losses.

Want Missouri’s top business news in your inbox? Subscribe here.

Stay alert

St. Louis County Council tries to limit executive’s emergency powers
In response to recent COVID-19 restrictions, Republican council members are attempting to pass a bill that would allow them to cancel Sam Page’s emergency orders. (KSDK)

Study shows mask mandates in St. Louis area drastically reduced virus spread
After 12 weeks with mask mandates, the average daily growth of cases in the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County was 40% lower than in nearby counties without mask orders. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Aid to St. Louis County restaurants may come soon
The St. Louis Economic Development Partnership on Tuesday discussed plans to partner with the St. Louis County government to bring aid to struggling restaurants by the end of the year. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

RideKC asks passengers to only make essential trips amid planned cuts
The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority said lower frequency routes will be temporarily cut as COVID-19 drives high absenteeism among its workforce. (Kansas City Star)

Clay County imposes new COVID-19 restrictions
The county reduced the maximum indoor capacity of restaurants to 50% and mandated a 10 p.m. closing time, joining other Kansas City-area jurisdictions in enacting new measures. (WDAF)

Charlie Hustle launches initiative to help KC families pay rent
The program, led by the apparel maker’s Heart of KC Foundation, has raised $300,000 so far to pay families’ rent through January. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Schnucks to increase number of minority-owned suppliers
The St. Louis supermarket chain said it would work to identify local suppliers that are at least 51% owned, operated and managed by people in marginalized communities. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Nurses union files lawsuits against two KC-area hospitals
National Nurses United argued that Menorah Medical Center and Research Medical Center, both owned by HCA Healthcare, violated their collective bargaining agreements. (Kansas City Business Journal)

KC startup TripleBlind raises funding from Accenture
The investment from the global professional services firm is expected to help the Kansas City privacy software startup become more competitive in the growing big data industry. The investment amount was not disclosed. (Startland News)

St. Louis food truck receives $25,000 through Discover program
The Crooked Boot was a recipient of the funding meant to boost Black-owned restaurants. (KSDK)

Tesseract Ventures launches ‘interactive textiles’
The Kansas City company has introduced shirts with technology that triggers actions from smartphones like opening a website or dialing a phone number. (Startland News)

Site of demolished St. Louis warehouse may be re-developed
The historic Cupples 7 warehouse was demolished in 2013, and the site currently sits vacant. The Minneapolis developer Opus Group has proposed a $31.4 million apartment complex. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Las Vegas Raiders stadium features KC-designed structure
Dimensional Innovations, a tech and fabrication company based in the Kansas City area, built the 93-foot-tall torch featured prominently in Allegiant Stadium, the new home of the Raiders, who the Chiefs play on Sunday. (KCUR)

PierianDX announces new CEO
Mark McDonough will replace the St. Louis genomics startup’s interim CEO, Joe Boorady, who will remain chairman of the board. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Harris-Stowe State University names first chief innovation officer
James Fogt, the school’s vice president of IT since 2013, will lead the St. Louis university’s efforts in innovation and technology transfer. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Show me

Missouri saw minor improvement in its unemployment rate in October, but another 16,000 Missourians left the civilian labor force, according to state labor data released Wednesday. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the month was 4.6%, down 0.2 percentage points from September, but well above last October’s rate of 3.4%.

Say that again

“It’s frustrating that I have no control over why my business is failing.”

That’s Xtreme Krav Maga owner Steve Sulze, whose business is on the border of St. Louis County, expressing frustration over the county’s new coronavirus restrictions, St. Louis Public Radio reports. On Tuesday, the county enacted new rules that enforce capacity restrictions and mask mandates on many businesses, such as the gym Sulze owns. Now, Sulze says patrons can drive half a mile and go to another gym with fewer requirements. He is far from the only business owner expressing discontent. On the Illinois side of the St. Louis area, which is subject to a different set of restrictions, some restaurants are flouting rules that ban in-person dining, the Belleville News-Democrat reports. Back on the Missouri side, over 50 restaurant and bar owners have signed on to a lawsuit against St. Louis County Executive Sam Page because of the restrictions there.

Go figure

$26.6 million

Construction has begun on the Columbia Regional Airport’s new terminal, which is expected to cost $26.6 million, the Columbia Missourian reports. Greg Steinhoff, who spoke at an event Tuesday to celebrate the start of construction, said that 10 years ago the airport made a list of America’s 10 worst airports. In the years since then, Columbia has added flights to Chicago, Dallas and Denver. When the new terminal is finished in 2022, it will add flights to places like Charlotte, North Carolina. Other speakers at the event, including Gov. Mike Parson, said that a bigger airport will continue opening the state to more economic opportunity, and attract new businesses. The airport has the potential to add opportunities for the universities in the area as well, officials said, providing better access for researchers and students.

Send tweet

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, who previously said she would run for re-election, announced Wednesday that she will instead retire at the end of her term in April. Krewson has served as mayor since 2017, when she became the city’s first female chief executive. Krewson cited her recent birthday, when she turned 68, in explaining her decision to retire, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. So far, candidates to replace Krewson include Treasurer Tishaura Jones, Alderwoman Cara Spencer and club owner Dana Kelly.

Hello my name is


New York-based WattBuy, a Techstars Kansas City alum, raised $3.2M in Series A funding, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. The funding round was led by Kansas City-based Evergy Ventures, the investment arm of of utility company Evergy. The round also featured prominent Kansas City investors, such as John Sherman, co-founder of the energy company Inergy and majority owner of the Royals, and Bill Gatreaux, a Royals co-owner and former president and founding partner of Inergy. WattBuy has created an online marketplace for electricity, which allows consumers to compare prices of different plans. The startup said the service saves people an average of $360 per year.

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


Have you heard?

Missouri Business Alert is participating in CoMoGives2019!

Find out how we plan to use your gift to enhance training and programming for our students

Learn more