Shutdown 2011 Category Archive: Business

Beer here?

Posted at 10:02 AM on July 13, 2011 by Paul Tosto (3 Comments)
Filed under: Business

KSTP last night reported that MillerCoors will have to stop selling beer in Minnesota because it did not get its license renewed before the shutdown:


State officials have told the company, it must come up with a plan to remove its 39 brands of beer from shelves and in bars in a matter of days. The company failed to renew it's brand license with the state before the shutdown. Each alcohol brand needs to pay a 30 dollar brand license fee. That fee is good for 3 years.

The situation, however, is still, umm, fluid.

Wirtz Beverage Minnesota, one of the region's largest beer distributors, just tweeted that the MillerCoors products are still flowing.

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UPDATE: MillerCoors tells the Milwaukee paper that their beer continues to flow in Minnesota.

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BONUS: Unsure who commenter CHS is, but thanks for bringing back all those Smokey and the Bandit memories!

I was 15 when that movie came out and it was awesome!

We're certainly not advocating illegal beer sales. But if you go find that movie trailer online (I did), you will be transported back to 1977 and (arguably) the most fun movie ever!

For folks who haven't seen the movie, it's about driving Coors from Texas to Georgia. Back then you couldn't get Coors distributed legally in the East.

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Few winners, many losers in shutdown

Posted at 9:43 AM on July 13, 2011 by Paul Tosto (0 Comments)
Filed under: Business

MPR's Martin Moylan has a look at the winners and losers so far during the first two weeks of the shutdown.

Read the story below or click on the play bar to hear it.

More than 20,000 laid-off state employees and thousands of Minnesotans going without a variety of state services clearly show who's losing in the state government shutdown. But are there any winners?

Some businesses in the state are hoping for a sales kick, including Pawn America. Company spokesman Michael Deering suspects his company and other retailers selling used goods may get a boost from the shutdown. Laid-off people still keep spending, he said.

"People really at a down time or when they're short on funds actually are looking for more for their money," Deering said. "They're still consumers. But typically they don't want to spend as much."

The shutdown also seems likely to generate a lot of legal disputes and court battles.

Ted Roberts is a lawyer with a firm that focuses on construction-related matters.

"In the short term it may result in more work for us," Roberts said. "The shutdown has resulted in a lot of construction projections stopping or halting. And most contractors when they bid projects, they're really depending and relying on a specified timeline. When that timeline is disrupted, you'll have consequences that just go down the chain."

And that chain may lead to court. But Roberts, who works with Fabyanske, Westra, Hart & Thomson of Minneapolis, said the outcome over the long term won't be good if clients end up going out of business because of the shutdown.

Some businesses know the shutdown is definitely bringing in more clientele.

Doris Palmer is one of the owners of Maple Springs Campground, a half-mile west of the Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park. She estimates to be getting 10 percent more campers at her park than usual.

"We filled last weekend completely," Palmer said. "Right after a holiday weekend, that's usually low. And now we're getting some through the week that we don't normally get." But Palmer is reluctant beneficiary. She wishes the nearby state park were open because the two operations collaborate.

It's not clear how many businesses are coming out ahead because of the shutdown. Augsburg College economist Ed Lotterman said they're out there.

"I think there are far fewer winners than there are losers," Lotterman said. "And the gains for the winners are not as much as the losses for the losers."

The most obvious potential winners are the private campgrounds and resorts and other businesses poised to replace a lost state service, Lotterman said, but it's impossible to estimate how much some parties might be coming out ahead.

Take Ross Freeman, for example, a manager at Hudson Liquor across the state line in Wisconsin. Freeman thinks he's seen an uptick at the store.

"Maybe a small amount from people crossing the border, mainly because Minnesota liquor stores are closed on Sunday," he said. "And I think some of the people were probably buying lottery tickets here instead of not being able to get them there."

The shutdown also means no Minnesota state lottery.

And that may point to the biggest and clearest winners in the Minnesota government shutdown. In the aggregate, lottery players are financial losers. In any given week, they typically part with millions of dollars overall.

But now they can't play. All bets are off.

A University of Minnesota psychology professor, Randy Stinchfield has extensively studied gambling. He doubts most lottery players are shedding dollars on other forms of gambling.

"They're probably holding on to that money they would have spent on the lottery, yeah," he said.

When the lottery does return, there could be a surge in betting as gamblers make up for lost wagering opportunities, Stinchfield said. But the longer the shutdown goes on, the better off they may be.

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Judge skeptical of PolyMet argument

Posted at 5:22 PM on July 11, 2011 by Paul Tosto (1 Comments)
Filed under: Business

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Earlier today, we suggested keeping an eye on the arguments made by PolyMet Mining that, despite the shutdown, state officials working on an environmental review of its proposed copper-nickel mine should be allowed to go back to work.

We wondered aloud: How does a court decide which business-government connections must be sustained in state budget shutdown?

Should it matter if the company and a jobs creating project for Minnesota are put in jeopardy because of the shutdown?

The answer this afternoon appears to be: No.

MPR News reporter Stephanie Hemphill covered the hearing this afternoon. She writes:

A judge hearing requests for exemptions from the state government shutdown appeared to take a hard line today.

Polymet Mining Company appeared before Judge Kathleen Gearin. The company asked that DNR employees working on an environmental study of its proposed copper-nickel mine be allowed to return. The company's attorney said the Polymet is paying for the work, so it should be allowed to continue.

Judge Gearin said she wasn't persuaded by that argument. She said a shutdown means a lot of people are suffering.

"If the other branches of government fail to come to some conclusion about the budget, and they have, business life, personal life, is just not going to be the same in this state for quite a while."

The DNR is not taking a position on the matter, but a spokeswoman told Judge Gearin that two other mining companies are also in the environmental review process.

Gearin predicted businesses won't want to deal with the state after the mess caused by the shutdown. She has not ruled on Polymet's request.

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What's the shutdown doing to your business?

Posted at 10:15 AM on July 11, 2011 by Paul Tosto (0 Comments)
Filed under: Business

We've been pretty focused on the shutdown's effects on state employees and state services. But as we enter business week two of the budget standoff, we want to take a deeper look at the practical effects the shutdown's having on private enterprise.

If you're a business owner, here's a chance to get your voice heard and help our reporting.

Tell us how your business is affected, if at all. What changes have you made to your business plans or operations? Any silver linings to all this? What questions do you want answered?

Post a comment below or use our handy MPR form.

We want to make sure we cover all the facets of this shutdown.

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(Any downtown rainbows visible in the shutdown gloom?)

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