Missouri Minute: Big counties relax business restrictions; St. Louis bars expect Cardinals boost

Hello, MBA readers,

In Missouri’s two most populous counties, businesses continue inching closer to how they operated before the COVID-19 pandemic. St. Louis County on Friday announced it’s lifting curfews on bars and restaurants. Jackson County, meanwhile, eliminated capacity limits on businesses. Officials in both counties cited increased vaccination rates in easing rules on businesses and trying to open up their local economies. In the city of St. Louis, capacity restrictions and curfews remain in place, but downtown businesses are hopeful that the return of Cardinals baseball will provide a much-needed boost. Some downtown bars and restaurants did not survive the pandemic downturn, but those that did believe having fans in the stands at Busch Stadium this season will help them begin to recoup steep losses suffered last summer. Plus, power bills could be going up for a large swath of Missouri. St. Louis-based utility Ameren has proposed a rate hike as it looks to raise revenue by $299 million. That’s around $12 per month for the average residential customer. The proposed increase was spurred by recent investments the utility has made in wind projects and infrastructure upgrades.


Stay alert

Clayco mandates COVID-19 vaccines ‘to set an example’
The St. Louis construction firm is requiring employees to get vaccinated and return to offices by May 10. CEO Bob Clark said he hopes other businesses will be compelled to do the same. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Amazon opening facility in vacant Blue Springs building
The online retailer plans to open a delivery and return center in a 71,000-square-foot structure formerly occupied by Haldex Brake Products. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Volpi Foods eyes growth with opening of fifth facility
The St. Louis-based producer of cured meats will open an 89,000-square-foot facility in Union next week. (St. Louis Business Journal)

KCI announces first art installations for new terminal
Kansas City International Airport has announced the first four public art projects that will be commissioned for its new terminal. The airport committed to spending $5.65 million on artwork for the $1.5 billion terminal. (Kansas City Star)

Springfield art supply store shuttering after five decades
National Art Shop will close this week as its owners retire. The store was started by a husband and wife looking to address a shortage of specialty art supplies in the city. (Springfield News-Leader)

MSU breaks ground on amphitheater named after alumnus actor
Missouri State University has begun construction on a $6.4 million amphitheater featuring a permanent stage and 350 removable seats. It’s named after TV and film star John Goodman, an MSU graduate. (St. Louis Business Journal)


Say that again

“After 40 years of self-employment, we burned through our life savings in 18 months.”

That’s Art Randall, co-owner of Kilroy’s St. Louis, spelling out how much the pandemic has cost the family business, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The downtown St. Louis sports bar usually opens its doors to fans during Cardinals baseball season. But with Busch Stadium closed to fans last year because of COVID-19, Art Randall and his wife, Brenda, shuttered their bar. As the family looks to recoup losses suffered during the pandemic, the Randalls say it could take until 2026 to get back to where they were before COVID-19. But the Cardinals played their first home game Thursday in front of a limited crowd, and the Randalls have re-opened their bar. Busch Stadium plans to operate at one-third of its capacity of 45,538 at least through April under St. Louis city health guidelines. Like Kilroy’s, other bars and restaurants near the stadium plan to open with limited capacity in anticipation of baseball fans bringing more business.


Go figure

$12 

Ameren Missouri’s residential customers would see their monthly power rates increase by an average of $12 under a plan the St. Louis-based utility has proposed to state regulators, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. The suggested rate increase comes as the utility looks to raise revenue by $299 million to cover investments in renewable energy projects. Ameren’s “Smart Energy Plan” includes upgrades to transmission lines, meters and utility poles. Ameren also is looking to fund the acquisition of two wind production facilities in Missouri.


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St. Louis County on Friday lifted a midnight curfew on restaurants, bars and casinos that has been in place since March 8. County Executive Sam Page said in a statement that the decision to roll back the restriction came as more people get vaccinated and the county prepares for a gradual reopening, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. A 50% occupancy limit on those businesses remains in the county. Across the state, Jackson County ended its capacity restrictions on businesses, The Kansas City Star reports, but mask and social distancing requirements remain in place.


Hello, my name is

Ozark Mountain Biscuit & Bar 

Ozark Mountain Biscuit Co., which operates a food truck in Columbia, is planning to open a new full-service restaurant called Ozark Mountain Biscuit & Bar, the Columbia Missourian reports. The restaurant will feature a dining room, full bar and 2,000-square-foot patio and will be ready to welcome guests in June. Business owner, chef and local musician Bryan Maness said the restaurant will help him work with “more delicate ingredients.”


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