Missouri Minute: Studio’s switch another blow to AMC; Southwest to furlough workers in KC, St. Louis

Hello, MBA readers,

AMC Theatres has faced a difficult year as movie theaters have closed or operated at reduced capacity during much of the pandemic, but news that Warner Bros. has decided to stream its entire 2021 slate of movies on HBO Max has dealt a new blow to the Leawood, Kansas-based cinema chain. Earlier this year, Universal Studios shortened the time its movies would be shown exclusively in theaters from 90 days to 17 days. The move by Warner Bros. further undermines a decades-old model that gave movie theaters exclusive rights to new releases, and it elicited a strong response from AMC leadership. In the aviation sector, the largest carrier at Missouri’s two biggest airports is planning to reduce its workforce. Southwest Airlines notified the state it could be furloughing more than 100 people at both St. Louis Lambert Airport and Kansas City International Airport following a 70% revenue loss in the fiscal third quarter. And in a holiday-themed example of how the pandemic is disrupting business as usual, children’s visits to Santa Claus look different this year. Some malls in Missouri are offering virtual Santa meetings, and one Kansas City duo that typically performs as Mr. and Mrs. Claus is instead offering 10-minute Zoom calls with Santa for $49.


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Speaking Startup: Putting St. Louis geospatial startups on the map
With the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s $1.7 billion new western headquarters under construction in St. Louis, numerous efforts at the intersection of geospatial technology and early-stage business have been announced in recent months. St. Louis is looking to strengthen its position as a hub for the geospatial technology industry, and the latest episode of the Speaking Startup podcast takes a closer look at that effort.


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AMC pushes back as studio plans to stream new movies
Already suffering financially from the pandemic, AMC Entertainment saw its shares plummet on the news that Warner Bros. will offer all its 2021 films for streaming at the same time as they hit theaters. AMC’s chief executive said he opened an “immediate and urgent dialogue” with Warner Bros. (WDAFBloomberg)

Southwest Airlines warns of Missouri airports furloughs
The airline could furlough roughly 7,000 employees nationwide, including more than 100 at both St. Louis Lambert International Airport and Kansas City International Airport. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Truman Medical Centers opens new building
The new $70 million medical building is designed to improve the hospital’s outpatient care and women’s health services. It will serve as a teaching hospital for the University of Missouri-Kansas City. (Kansas City Star)

Bamboo Equity Partners expands out-of-state presence
The St. Louis-based real estate investor has bought a four-building portfolio in Charlotte, North Carolina, for $6.8 million. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Clayco creates new subsidiary in St. Louis
The Chicago-based construction firm has established a design and engineering business to reach out to more industrial customers. It will be based in St. Louis, where Clayco already has a substantial presence. (St. Louis Business Journal)

KC beer expert introduces certification process for top taps
Neil Witte has made a career in the brewing industry and has achieved one of the highest designations for beer expertise. He recently launched TapStar, which certifies establishments for serving quality draft beer. (Kansas City Business Journal)

MSU, Springfield Public Schools break ground on agricultural magnet school
The $6.7 million project will be built at Missouri State University’s William H. Darr Agricultural Center. (Springfield Business Journal)


Say that again

“As one of my colleagues said, ‘If you don’t save them now, you can’t save them later.'”

That’s Peter Raven, president emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden. As natural history museums, botanical gardens, universities and other institutions across the country face stressed finances during the pandemic, some observers fear that the biological collections they keep will suffer permanent losses, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Biological collections could include specimens of plants, animals, insects and more. Many of the institutions that hold these collections have been hit hard by budget crunches, and that could mean a corresponding toll on scientific efforts, ranging from the study of disease to agriculture experiments to climate change research.


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6

In Missouri, six businesses were approved for $10 million loans through the Paycheck Protection Program. That was the maximum amount available through the Small Business Administration coronavirus relief program. Details on those PPP loans were released last week as a result of a lawsuit seeking additional information on the recipients of the $659 billion program. The Kansas City Business Journal reports the Missouri businesses that received the maximum loan amount were Drury Hotels, ProEnergy Acquisition Co., Superior Bowen Asphalt, 4M Building Solutions, Russell Cellular and Kellen Restaurant Management.


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Visits with Santa Claus this year may look different, as some venues are offering virtual meetings with Kris Kringle, The Kansas City Star reports. In the Kansas City area, the Zona Rosa retail district will have in-person and virtual meetings, as will Oak Park Mall. But many in-person Santa setups require reservations and include barriers to maintain distance between St. Nick and the children there to meet him. Don White and Mary Rogers, two performers who have played Mr. and Mrs. Claus in the Kansas City area for years, are offering 10-minute Zoom chats with Santa for $49.


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The Sterionizer

This is the name of an air purification device that has been in high demand because of the coronavirus pandemic. A bipolar ionizer, the Sterionizer releases positive and negative ions into the air to attach to and neutralize bacteria, viruses, spores and fungi. The product was created in Israel, but Anton’s Air Conditioning and Heating in the St. Louis area has become a dealer for the product. Since the onset of the pandemic, increased interest in air purification has caused a spike in business for HVAC companies like Anton’s, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The industry saw 24% growth in June, and business has remained strong since. As many companies have felt financial strains and reduced workforce during the pandemic, HVAC service businesses have been in such high demand that many have added employees.


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



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