Missouri Minute: St. Louis restaurant restrictions relaxed; CBS stations sold in Meredith deal

Hello, MBA readers,

A degree of normalcy returned to the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County on Monday, when officials announced they are lifting curfews on bars and restaurants and allowing those businesses to operate at near full capacity. Businesses still must enforce mask use and maintain social distance between patrons. Restrictions were lifted under a joint order by St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page. Jones called the move “a new normal, not a return to normal.” In Kansas City, a startup that makes safety and compliance software has raised $73 million, pushing its valuation to $1.6 billion. SafetyCulture, which has its North American headquarters in Kansas City, has seen an uptick in demand for its products because of the increased emphasis on workplace health safety driven by COVID-19. And, as part of larger shifts in the media landscape, Missouri television stations are changing hands. CBS affiliates KMOV in St. Louis and KCTV in Kansas City are being sold from Meredith to Gray Television as part of $2.7 billion deal.

Stay alert

Gray Television to acquire Meredith stations for $2.7 billion
The Atlanta-based company will buy Meredith’s local media group, which owns KMOV and KCTV, the CBS affiliates in St. Louis and Kansas City, respectively. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Medline to expand in St. Peters
The medical supply manufacturer is building a $75 million, 840,000-square-foot facility in the St. Louis area that’s expected to create about 100 jobs in the first year. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Hoffman Family of Companies buys Missouri manufacturer 
Hoffman, which recently purchased multiple Missouri wineries, is diversifying its portfolio in the state with the acquisition of Washington-based NOA Medical Industries, which makes nursing home and hospital beds. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Lebanon utility equipment maker plans $5 million plant in Buffalo
The Durham Co. intends to build a 45,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in the southwest Missouri town, adding more than 50 jobs.(Springfield Business Journal)

HBE Corp., Adam’s Mark hotel founder Kummer dies at 92
St. Louis hospital builder and hotel chain founder Fred Kummer had a reputation of being authoritative and transparent. His donation of $300 million last year to his alma mater, Missouri University of Science and Technology, is the largest single gift to a university in state history. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Made in KC Marketplace to open new location in Lenexa
The boutique featuring products from Kansas City vendors will expand its footprint with a new location in the suburb’s city center. (Startland News)

Say that again

“You don’t have time to think about it. In less than 24 hours, you have to make an offer.”

That’s Vicky Harper, who’s in the market for a home in the St. Louis area. Homebuyers like Harper have to be quick on their feet as the St. Louis region has become a seller’s market, inciting bidding wars for houses, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Houses in the region averaged 34 days on the market in March, compared to 48 days for the same month last year. With mortgage rates low and a squeeze in supply, the demand for houses is extremely high, which has sent prices skyrocketing. Nationally, average home sales prices have surged 17.2% to a record $329,100, according to the National Association of Realtors. In St. Louis, sale prices have jumped 16.2% to $303,955, according to data from St. Louis Realtors. Facing cutthroat competition, buyers are bidding from $30,000 to $50,000 more than asking price and buying houses “as-is,” without repairs.

Go figure

$1.6 billion

SafetyCulture, a technology startup that has its North American headquarters in Kansas City, is valued at $1.6 billion after raising a $73 million funding round, Startland News reports. The Australian startup makes software designed to help businesses train and track employees for workplace safety and quality. After the COVID-19 pandemic struck, SafetyCulture launched an initiative to help businesses return to work. The pandemic has driven high demand for the company’s technology in sectors such as construction, mining and manufacturing. New York-based Insight Partners led the new funding round, which also included investment from Tiger Global, Index Ventures and Blackbird.

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Citing a decline in COVID-19 cases and an increase in vaccination availability, officials announced that the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County will allow restaurants to reopen at near full capacity without any curfews, St. Louis Public Radio reports. Bars and restaurants are still required to space tables 6 feet apart from one another. After the health orders were lifted, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones tweeted asking St. Louis residents to wear masks, maintain 6 feet of distance and be mindful of the staffing shortages faced by restaurants.

Hello, my name is

Taj Suleyman

The city of Springfield has hired Suleyman as its first director of diversity, equity and inclusion, the Springfield News-Leader reports. Suleyman has led diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in the public sector and for nonprofits. Most recently, he served as director of equity for Dubuque Community Schools in Iowa. Suleyman moved to the U.S. as a refugee two decades ago, and he said his experiences have helped shape his understanding of immigrants and other marginalized communities.


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