Economy & Innovation

Business
9:43 am
Wed November 28, 2012

As Battery Demand Falls, Can Energizer Keep Going?

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 5:15 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And now, let's turn to today's business bottom line. As more people buy smartphones and other devices that run on rechargeable batteries - this will come as no surprise - sales of single-use, disposable batteries are dropping; and that is not without consequences. Energizer announced this month that the company will close three plants because of decreased demand. That is a 10 percent cut of its global workforce. Vermont Public Radio's Kirk Carapezza reports on one community that is feeling the pain.

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Small Business
5:06 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Vintage Vinyl Owner Among Small Business Leaders At White House Meeting

Vintage Vinyl in The Loop in University City. Vintage Vinyl's owner, Lew Prince, was among several small business owners who met with President Obama on Nov. 27, 2012.
(via Flickr/pasa47)

The owner of Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis was one of 15 small business owners who met with President Obama today.

Lew Prince is a member of Business for Shared Prosperity, an organization that is pushing Congress to end the Bush-era tax cuts for the top two percent.

Prince says the meeting at the White House this afternoon was unusual because no one was asking for anything for themselves.

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Economy
2:20 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Blunt May Ask Obama To Step In To Missouri River Situation

Barge traffic on the Mississippi River could come to a halt by mid-December if water levels get lower.
(via Flickr/The Confluence)

Updated 3:23 p.m. with statement from McCaskill

Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri says if the Army Corps of Engineers doesn’t increase water flow from the upper Missouri River the next move may be to ask the president to step in.

The Corps began reducing the outflow from a dam in South Dakota on Friday.

That means less water for the already-low Mississippi River, which could lead to restrictions or even a halt on barge traffic by mid-December.

Senator Blunt says transportation down the river could be severely impacted if nothing is done.

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Business
7:22 am
Tue November 27, 2012

ConAgra Foods To Buy Ralcorp

Credit ConAgra Foods

Packaged food giant, ConAgra Foods, is buying St. Louis-based food producer Ralcorp for $4.95 billion.  The buyout will make ConAgra the top producer of store-branded foods in the U.S

ConAgra’s stable of brands include the likes of Chef Boyardee, Egg Beaters, and Reddiwhip, to name a few.  The deal creates a packaged food giant with $18 billion in annual sales

Erin Lash is Sr. Analyst at Morningstar.  She says Ralcorp has struggled recently in the face of increased manufacturing and distribution costs, as well overall tightening of the marketplace.

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4:46 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Household Debt In America, In 3 Graphs

Lead in text: 
The Planet Money team shows how mortgage and home-equity debt fit into the financial profile of American households.
U.S. households owe a bit less than they did at the peak of the bubble. But they still owe a lot: $11.4 trillion, give or take a few billion. Mortgage and home-equity debt is still by far the biggest chunk of that debt. Total U.S.
Business
5:16 am
Mon November 26, 2012

Arch Grants: Round Two

Credit Flickr/jdnx

A local organization trying to build successful companies in St. Louis is now accepting applications for round two of its startup competition. During the first round, Arch Grants awarded fifteen lucky startups $50,000.

What's on TV?

Twenty-six-year-old Sergi Turabelidze started his company, Iveria, out of necessity. He’s from Georgia (the country), and when family came to visit, they just couldn’t find anything to watch on TV.

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Business
4:23 pm
Fri November 23, 2012

MO High Court To Hear Northside Case

Next week, the Missouri Supreme Court will hear a legal challenge to Paul McKee's massive plan to remake north St. Louis.

But Mayor Francis Slay is confident development will happen even if the high court rejects the incentives.

A St. Louis judge ruled in 2010 that the legislation approving nearly 400 million dollars in tax incentives for the Northside Regeneration Initiative did not contain enough specific projects.

An appeals court in June agreed, but punted to the Supreme Court because of the interest in the topic.

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St. Louis on the Air
2:09 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Missouri Ranks Among Worst States For Widening Income Inequality

(via Flickr/SodanieChea)

Within approximately the last twenty years, Missouri ranks among the worst states in which the gap between rich and middle-income households has widened.  That’s according to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute.

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, we also take note of the report’s finding in which the gap between the very richest and the poor is even larger with the top 5 percent of Missouri households having an average income 11.7 times that of the bottom fifth.

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Business
5:24 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Hostess Ordered Back Into Mediation With Union

Twinkies
Credit via Wikimedia Commons

A bankruptcy judge in New York has ordered Hostess Brands Incorporated back into mediation with its second-largest union, meaning for the time being the maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread will not shut down.

The company had begun the process of liquidating its assets following a Nov. 9 strike by its bakers' union.   The Hostess plant in St. Louis employed 360 people before it was closed last week.

Dave Douglas has worked for the company for 28 years and says he can’t afford to give up any more in wage and benefits to keep the job.

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Hostess shuts down
5:31 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Missouri Grocers: 'We Expect To Be Out Of Twinkies Within 24 Hours'

(via Flickr/sekimura)

Grocery stores across Missouri are running out of Twinkies and other Hostess products, following today’s announcement that the company is going out of business.

Shoppers had already been snapping up Twinkies, Ding Dongs and other Hostess-made snacks prior to the announcement that the company was closing.  Lori Willis is spokeswoman for the St. Louis-based Schnucks grocery chain.  She says they expect to completely run out of Hostess snack products by Saturday.

“As a retailer, this is the very last thing you want to hear, that you’re not going to be able to meet the needs of your customers, so we’re working very hard with a lot of other suppliers to make sure that we can fill in where we can," Willis said.

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