Looking back at 2010's big business stories

Monday, January 3, 2011

In Thursday's Southeast Missourian we published the top news stories of 2010, several of which were business stories.

Isle of Capri's new $125 million casino development topped our list of 2010's general news stories and tops the list of business stories in Southeast Missouri, too.

Cape Girardeau Mayor Harry Rediger has called it a "game-changer" for the city, and I look forward to reporting the changes that will come as this project moves forward.

Isle is one of several companies that announced new jobs in Southeast in 2010. Sabreliner's expansion of its aircraft painting operations at the Perryville Municipal Airport promise to bring 400 jobs over the next five years. Also in Perry County, TG Missouri and Gilster-Mary Lee announced expansions this year.

Big River Telephone in Cape Girardeau was awarded $24 million in federal stimulus funds to install a seven-county wireless broadband network expected to create 75 jobs at Big River and spin off as many as 1,300 more as a result of the project.

Popular retailer TJ Maxx also added local jobs when it opened a new store here in October.

While these stories were about bringing jobs to Southeast Missouri, I also reported on companies cutting jobs in 2010, including Anthem Blue Cross, MedAssets and General Sign.

In an ironic turn of events, General Sign was later purchased by Canedy Sign and Graphics of Sikeston, Mo., managed by a former General Sign employee, Ellis Bradshaw. The briefly empty building on Nash Road is now buzzing with activity again.

Another building with a chance to spring back to life this spring is the former Thorngate LTD building on Independence Street. The city of Cape Girardeau is seeking a $430,000 Community Development Block Grant to help bring in two companies, yet to be named by the city publicly, that have expressed interest in the property. Officials had hoped to hear this project was approved before the end of the year, but another Community Development Block Grant became the focus of the entire state as 2010 came to a close.

Hometown Holding Group, headed by Weaver Dickerson, who was previously convicted of writing more than $90,000 in bad checks, lost more than $2 million in state economic development incentives, including a $750,000 Community Development Block Grant. As a result, the city's economic development agency, Magnet, will now conduct background checks on applicants in the future.

The ramifications of this story are still developing.

I hope 2011 will bring good news to Southeast Missouri's business community and that you'll remember to look for it in the pages of this paper, online at semissourian.com/business and twitter.com/semissourianbiz.

* Cotner Electric acquires Dutch Electrical: Dutch Enterprises of Jackson has sold a division of its company, Dutch Electrical Contractors LLC, to Cotner Electric of Cape Girardeau. Cotner Electric has added seven employees to its staff for a total of 15 as a result of the acquisition. "The opportunity became available, and I felt it was a positive move for us with combining their staff, customer base and reputation," said Ron Cotner, president of Cotner Electric. The company was started 45 years ago by Cotner's father, Harvey Cotner and Norval Green. Cotner Electric specializes in commercial and industrial electrical service work as well as traffic signals, highway and street lighting.

* DirecTV and KFVS12 negotiation: KFVS12 and Direct TV's retransmission agreement expired Friday, but all stations owned by KFVS's parent company, Raycom Media of Montgomery, Ala., remain on DirecTV. There is no signed agreement, but neither side has pulled the signals, said KFVS general manager Mike Smythe. Raycom Media has been negotiating with DirecTV for retransmission of its 30 local news stations. Raycom has provided DirecTV a signed copy of an agreement that will allow DirecTV to continue to carry of the station into 2014, Smythe said. Raycom is awaiting DirecTV's officials' signatures. Smythe said the negotiations aren't just about money. Stations are also vying for channel position, the carrying of additional sister stations, etc. "We don't want to lose our DirecTV viewers," Smythe said. "We hope this will not happen." Not so many years ago, satellite providers just took local broadcast station's signals and sold them as part of their subscription packages, but that is no longer allowed by the FCC, Smythe said. A phone call to a DirecTV spokesman was not returned.

* Premier Rehab opens second clinic: Premier Rehab physical therapy will open its second clinic in Jackson today at 2408 E. Main St., in the new Main Street Station building. The new clinic offers aquatic and hand therapy. Premier Rehab also has a clinic at 1405 N. Mount Auburn Road in Cape Girardeau.

Southeast Missourian business reporter Melissa Miller may be contacted at 388-3646 or mmiller@semissourian.com.

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