Economy & Innovation | St. Louis Public Radio

Economy & Innovation

News about the economy, business, and innovation happening in the St. Louis region.

Genevieve Barlow (left) and Jeff Stevens (right) talk about their craft beer company that only brews non-alcoholic beer.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

A new craft beer is joining the local market to cater to those who enjoy beer but want to train for a triathlon, attend their job’s Taco Tuesday or party Friday night and wake up without a hangover.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about Wellbeing Brewing Company, a local craft beer company that brews non-alcoholic beer.

(L to R) Jacqueline Jefferson, Robert Hawker and Jane Skinner joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

An international program with a presence in St. Louis is helping people with intellectual and developmental disabilities find employment.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with disabilities are much less likely to be employed: only 27 percent of women aged 16-64, and 34 percent of men in that age group. That’s compared with 68 percent of women and 79 percent of men without disabilities.

In addition, The Arc, a disability rights organization, estimates that the employment rate for people with developmental disabilities is even lower.

Opponents to an expansion plan have launched a petition drive and put up signs in yards in the neighborhood around Aberdeen Heights in Kirkwood.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

The debate in a west St. Louis County suburb over the proposed expansion of a senior living community could be over early in the new year. That's when the Kirkwood City Council could make a decision on whether the owners of Aberdeen Heights can move forward with plans to add a multi-story apartment building on its 20-acre complex.

Owners say the expansion is needed to keep up with demand, while a group of neighbors has several concerns about the project.

St. Louis soccer fans will have to wait for the next round of MLS expansion to see if the city can secure a team in the nation's top-level professional league.
Victor Araiza | Flickr

St. Louis is no longer being considered as an option for the current round of Major League Soccer expansion. League Commissioner Don Garber announced Wednesday that Sacramento, Detroit, Nashville, and Cincinnati are the only cities still in contention to land the two new franchises. The revelation did not surprise some St. Louis soccer supporters. 

The Jamestown Mall Dillards in December 2016.
Mike Kalasnik | Flickr

Officials from St. Louis County held an open house Monday night to give north county residents a chance to offer suggestions on what should replace the shuttered Jamestown Mall.

The mall located in Florissant, closed  in 2014. in Florissant, Missouri. Opened in 1973, the mall formerly included Dillard's, JCPenney, Macy's, and Sears as its anchor stores.

County officials said they will soon have complete control of the site. The St. Louis County Port Authority is expected to close on the last two parcels on the property by the end of the year.

(via Flickr/Tracy O)

There will be another attempt to pass a payday loan bill during next year's legislative session in Jefferson City. State Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City, is planning to refile a proposal he submitted earlier this year but did not receive a hearing. It would place limits on how often a payday loan can be renewed and how much money a person is allowed to take out at one time.

File Photo | Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis could become one of the next fronts in the battle between large and small beer companies.

A nonprofit group representing independent brewers is trying to slow acquisitions by larger corporations, like Anheuser-Busch InBev, which has been on a purchasing binge of the past few years, buying several prominent craft beer companies including Goose Island, Breckenridge and Wicked Weed.

Widjaya Ivan | Flickr

Ameren is working to address the rising number of sham calls that have impacted roughly 1,500 of its customers. The utility company has racked up nearly 30 calls a week from people who have reported being on the receiving end of the ruse.

According to Ameren, the scam callers have been impersonating their employees, claiming they will disconnect the customer’s service unless they make an immediate payment.

Although the payday loan industry has come under fire for high interest rates and other business practices, supporters say the operations fill a need for people who might not have easy access to money to help pay bills and cover other expenses.
taberandrew | Flickr

The recommendations of the Ferguson Commission are being touted as a potential roadmap to move forward in the St. Louis region after this year's protests stemming from the not guilty verdict in the murder trial of a former St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officer.  Some of the proposals deal with predatory lending, which often traps low-income earners with very high-interest loans.

Cortex,
TechShop

The same day TechShop announced it was filing for bankruptcy and closing all locations, a St. Louis native decided to step in to save the local makerspace.

Jim McKelvey, the co-founder of Square and Third Degree Glass Factory, as well as the founder of LaunchCode, made a couple of phone calls.

Cortex,
TechShop

TechShop offered a cutting edge workshop for entrepreneurs making prototypes or those who just wanted to make stuff.

Now the St. Louis location and nine others around the country are closed. TechShop announced on Wednesday it’s filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The San Francisco-based company came to St. Louis in 2016. The maker’s space had a prime location in the innovation district Cortex in a new, 60,000-square-foot building at 4260 Forest Park Ave.

“It was a surprise to us,” said Dennis Lower, president and CEO of Cortex.

 This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 24, 2008 - The collapse of some of the nation's oldest financial institutions started on Main Street America with hundreds and thousands of homeowners such as 56-year-old Maureen McKenzie of Kirkwood who in May lost to foreclosure the small ranch house that hadbeen in her family since it was built after World War II. How could this happen? The answer is ... complicated. Over the next three days, the Beacon will unravel the story of how Maureen McKenzie of Kirkwood, Mo., lost her 900 square feet of the American Dream. Part 1

John D. & Catherine T. / MacArthur Foundation

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked to Damon Rich, a designer and urban planner in Newark, New Jersey. He received a 2017 MacArthur Fellowship, which includes a $625,000 stipend – commonly known as a “genius” grant. He was cited for originality and creativity in the field of urban design. In 2015, he co-founded an urban design planning and civic arts studio called Hector. Rich grew up in Creve Coeur.

 

Q: How do you intend to use the $625,000 stipend?

World Wide Technology officials held a ribbon-cutting on Tuesday for the 208,000-square-foot building at Westport Plaza. Nov. 7m 2017
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

World Wide Technology, a privately-held company, has opened its new headquarters in Maryland Heights.

And the seven-story building is filled with cutting-edge technology.

CEO Jim Kavanaugh points to a six-foot iPhone that sits in one of the briefing rooms.

“That’s actually a working iPhone,” he said. “So when we do application development work, we may build it and show it on that iPhone that’s literally the size of a person.”

Ameren, energy production
Daniel X. O'Neill | Flickr

A conversation has been sparked in Missouri about how electricity will be generated, stored and consumed in the future.

The Missouri Public Service Commission, which regulates the state’s investor-owned utilities, is looking for input on what are known as “distributed energy resources” and will hold a workshop later this month in Jefferson City. The Commission’s Staff Director Natelle Dietrich admits the term is a bit of a catch-all.

Food trucks usually stop at businesses and other locations throughout the St. Louis area. Many operators are hoping a more permanent location will help create more stable business.
Frankly Sausages | Facebook

The effort to establish a regular spot for many of St. Louis' food trucks is back in the search phase. Supporters are looking for another potential location after a deal announced last year involving property on south Vandeventer Avenue fell through. They have been meeting to examine options, with the goal of having a new spot selected by spring.

An artist's rendition of what a solar roadway could look like.
Solar Roadways | http://bit.ly/29OOZKM

Updated Nov. 5, 2017 with a statement from Solar Roadways - The Idaho vendor that planned to work with the Missouri Department of Transportation on a solar road initiative is disappointed the pilot project did not work out. In an email, Scott Brusaw with Solar Roadways said it was a complicated contract.

SixThirty Logo
SixThirty

The Chinese investor Fosun Group announced the investment in the financial tech company BondIT on Friday.

BondIT, based in Israel, has created a digital product to help investors in the bond market. The company took part in the St. Louis-based seed investor and accelerator SixThirty last year.

SixThirty Managing Partner Atul Kamra said it’s the latest company to attract follow-on funding.

AT&T employees and T-REX members put together server stacks for the AT&T Open Source Lab at T-REX.
Photo provided | BJ Kraiberg | T-REX

AT&T is reaching out to St. Louis’ tech startup community with a new Open Source Lab.

The company is providing about $70,000 worth of servers, technology services and funding to create the lab, which will be located at the tech incubator T-REX in downtown St. Louis.

Jomo Castro, AT&T's regional director of external affairs, said it will allow for collaboration between startups, researchers and corporations.

There are still some traces of the Jamestown Mall in north St. Louis County. A deal to put all the property under control of the county port authority could help speed up the long-delayed redevelopment of the site.
Provided | St. Louis County

The entire site of the former Jamestown Mall is now under the control of St. Louis County. The county Port Authority has contracts for the final two sections of the property, which has become an eyesore since the mall closed in 2014.

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