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Opinion: KY3 layoffs top SBJ.net stories in ’17

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It’s that time of year again for SBJ.net’s most-read stories of the year.

It puts into perspective what Springfield Business Journal readers are passionate about, and how the stories and actions of businesspeople shape our community.

On this list, all but three were breaking news items, led by startling layoffs at KY3.
Take a look back with me at the year in business.

1. “SBJ confirms 37 layoffs at KY3, KSPR”
The full scope of what KY3 and KSPR employees sometimes referred to as “Red Friday” and “KY3’s Black Friday” came out in this breaker and a follow-up news story. Employees estimated some 65 positions were eliminated over a year’s period, culminating in the 37 layoffs, exclusively reported by SBJ, on Aug. 18. Several staff members have rebounded, including former producer Jeff Phillips taking the communications manager job with the Heavy Construction Laborers Union and Scott Puryear’s digital marketing experience going to OnMedia.

2. “Jalilis bringing Black Sheep concept to East Sunshine”
Food news often tops SBJ.net, and this year was no different. The Jalili family of restaurateurs announced plans to open a drive-thru Black Sheep Burgers and Shakes at a former Sonic Drive-In at 2420 E. Sunshine St. The family’s third in the concept, Black Sheep A.S.A.P. opened Dec. 7.

3. “Palace theater building under contract to be sold”
Amid the closure of the 21-year running Palace theater, Life360 Church signed on to purchase the 2220 W. Chesterfield Blvd. property. City Council approved rezoning despite a neighborhood outcry.

4. “Pitt buys back Springfield operations from TSI”
Four years after selling ServiceWorld Computer Center to TSI Global Cos. LLC, Doug Pitt bought back the company he founded in 1991. In so doing, the businessman created Pitt Technology Group LLC as the umbrella for three firms: SyndeoSolutions LLC, NexioTechnologies LLC and Lovo Integrations.

5. “Opinion: Two of America’s largest homes in Ozarks”
SBJ Editor Eric Olson’s column took a look inside Prime Inc. owner Robert Low’s 70,000-square-foot home being built on his 188-acre Primatara horse farm, and compared it to the 72,000-square-foot Chateau Pensmore. Olson found out Low’s residence is larger than Bill Gates’ home in Medina, Washington.

6. “Trust company startup gets state approval”
A team of established certified public accountants, attorneys and financial consultants joined together to earn a rare charter from the Missouri Division of Finance on July 5. Missouri Trust and Investment Co. is now the only independently owned trust company in Springfield, its owners say.

7. “Ahead of opening, Ophelia’s discovers underground cellar”
Tom Muetzel felt a bit like Indiana Jones when renovations to a Commercial Street building unearthed an underground cellar beneath the basement. But alas, the hidden room caused too much of a delay, and Muetzel on Dec. 12 called off plans to reopen Ophelia’s at 300 E. Commercial St.

8. “Corwin Auto buys Friendly Ford”
Corwin Automotive Group cemented its presence in Springfield this year with the buyout of the 50-year-old Friendly Ford.

9. “Harbor Freight leases shuttered Staples building”
As retail faces online e-commerce challenges from the likes of Amazon, California-based Harbor Freight Tools leased the shuttered Staples building on North Kansas Expressway for its second Springfield store. The new business blood on the north side is more than welcome.

10. “Nixa entrepreneur pleads guilty to illegal bitcoin exchange”
The feds sent a message in September when Nixa entrepreneur Jason Klein was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine for conducting an illegal money transmitting business by exchanging bitcoin for cash without a license. Meanwhile, the value of bitcoin continues to increase moment to moment.

SBJ Web Producer Geoff Pickle can be reached at gpickle@sbj.net.

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