Minnesota businesses feel pressure from trade war on two fronts

REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger

From the front lines of the trade war. MPR’s Mark Steil reports: “Minnesota businesses are starting to feel the impact of the trade war. And they’re feeling pain from two directions. Exports are declining, and the cost of some key imported materials are rising. Some are looking for federal help to offset the tariff impacts. … One group feeling the trade disputes is Minnesota dairy operations. … ‘Our farm is losing $4,000 a month roughly,’ said Steve Hoffman. … Hoffman and his wife operate a 140-cow dairy farm near New Ulm in southern Minnesota. He said many factors affect the price farmers get for their milk. But he sees a clear link between a roughly 10 percent drop in the market and the ramp up in tariffs and counter tariffs that began last spring.”

Shakeup at MPR. The Star Tribune’s Neal Justin reports:Minnesota Public Radio has dismissed three employees with long, deep ties to its landmark show ‘A Prairie Home Companion,’ including the son of former host Garrison Keillor. … ‘I treasured my 22 years working in public radio but the business has changed,’ said Jason Keillor, who held a variety of jobs on ‘PHC’ and its new offshoot, ‘Live From Here,’ including the assembly of repeat programs. ‘I think right now, MPR is promoting their new brand and it’s very expensive. They’re running a tight ship despite their deep pockets.’ … Also dismissed Friday were Prairie Home Productions managing director Kate Gustafson, who rose to be Keillor’s second-in-command, and publicist David O’Neill, who started working on the show when he was 12. Both declined to comment.”

Election … 2019. The Pioneer Press’ Frederick Melo reports: “Nelsie Yang, an organizer with TakeAction Minnesota, has announced her intent to run for the Ward 6 seat on the St. Paul City Council next year. … The seat is currently held by Dan Bostrom, a former St. Paul police sergeant who has represented the ward since 1996. The ward spans the northeast corner of the city — the Greater East Side neighborhoods of Frost Lake, Hayden Heights, Hazel Park, Payne-Phalen, Phalen Village and Prosperity. … In a written statement, Yang described herself as a ‘grassroots organizer and social justice activist’ and ‘renter, millennial, and working-class neighbor.’”

Want to buy a record store? The Current’s Andrea Swensson reports: “Laura and Dave Hoenack could not have picked a more precarious time to buy a record store. … The year was 2009, at the height of the real estate crisis and recession. Dave, a special ed teacher, and Laura, who worked in school administration, didn’t have any retail or business experience to speak of, and their personal lives were already at capacity: they had a one-year-old child at home and Laura was eight months pregnant with their second, and Dave was still grieving the sudden loss of both his brother and childhood friend, who died within a week of one another in 2008. … Despite all odds seemingly stacked against them, something told the two of them that it was the exact right moment to purchase Hymie’s Vintage Records, then a two-decade-old record store on East Lake Street, and dive into a new life feet-first. … The longer Dave and Laura talk, the more that their love of the space they’ve created becomes apparent. They speak about their customers with tenderness, and look around to the various bins and posters on the wall with starry eyes. So why then, after nearly a decade of running their dream store, are the Hoenacks putting Hymie’s up for sale?

In other news…

Whoops:Cellphone tower paint job makes a big mess” [KARE]

Interesting timing:Duck boat-style tours coming to the Twin Cities” [KARE]

Congratulations:Cloquet woman wins Tour Divide” [Duluth News Tribune]

Heartbreaking:Ailing Mpls. musician Peter Ostroushko inspires supporters at fundraiser” [Star Tribune]

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