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Arch Grants Program Sets New Mile Marker

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Macy's Downtown St. Louis Store to Close
ST. LOUIS, (SLFP.com), May 20, 2013 - Macy's, Inc. has announced it will close its downtown St. Louis store in the Railway Exchange Building at 601 Olive St. A final clearance sale will begin on Sunday, June 2, and is expected to run for approximately 10 weeks.

The store (formerly Famous Barr) currently includes about 189,000 square feet of space with a workforce of 94 associates. The company said it is committed to treating these affected associates with respect and openness. Associates displaced by the closings may be offered positions in nearby stores and facilities where possible. Eligible full-time and part-time associates who are laid off due to the store closing will be offered severance benefits.

In addition, about 100 Macy's associates who work in various corporate and district offices on the ninth and 10th floors of the Railway Exchange Building will be relocated to space in existing Macy's office facilities in Earth City in St. Louis County. The planning for that move will begin as the store is closed.

Going forward, Macy's workforce in the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area will include about 3,000 associates in the stores, offices, a distribution center and the credit and customer services hub.

In a release, Peter Sachse, Macy's chief stores officer, said "We deeply appreciate the loyalty of our downtown store customers, the diligence of our associates, and the concern and support of Mayor Slay and his administration over the years. We have worked hard to reinvigorate our downtown business, including remodeling, downsizing and re-focusing the store in 2011. But unfortunately, the level of customer activity we see no longer justifies keeping the store open."

"We respect the rich history of this store and the historic significance of the Railway Exchange Building. We are committed to working closely with RNY-LLC, the building's owner, on an orderly transition of our space to a new use," Sachse said.


Arch Grants Program Sets New Mile Marker
ST. LOUIS, (SLFP.com), May 15, 2013 - Setting a new mile-marker, Arch Grants has now awarded 35 non-dilutive grants in addition providing extensive pro bono support to the highest quality startups willing to locate their headquarters in downtown Saint Louis through its annual Global Startup Competition.

With close to 50 established community partnerships, Arch Grants continues to provide added value to companies looking to start and grow here in St. Louis. In Arch Grants' first inaugural competition, 15 $50,000 non-equity taking grants were awarded to companies who locate their business in the Downtown St. Louis area.

Within the first three quarters of the Arch Grants program (June 1, 2012 - February 28, 2013), the 15 startups generated over $1.8MM in revenues, $1.6MM in attracted capital and 65 jobs were created in St. Louis.

Many of the startups also purchased products and business services from local St. Louis businesses, as well as made many connections allowing for the success of their startup. Follow-on funding was awarded to two 2012 Arch Grant recipients: simMachines and Food Essentials. Both companies have made significant progress over the past year, have a high level of commitment to St. Louis, and have potential for large scale success and reached a number of significant milestones over the course of the initial 2012 program.

The second round of the competition yielded over 700 applications from all over the world including 16 countries (a 68% increase in applications from the first round).

On May 24, Arch Grants announced $1,000,000 in additional funding to 20 startups including: Adarza BioSystems, Inc., Candy Lab, eateria, Immunophotonics, LipoSpectrum LLC, Rockhound, TrakBill, adFreeq, Easytork, EternoGen, Juristat, MMBiosensing, RoverTown, Triflare, Appcropolis, Code Red, Genetix Fusion LLC, Know Ink, Notal Vision and Sparo Labs.

In a release, Sarah Spear, Executive Director, said, "To say that our next round of startups is excited is an understatement. "Thrilled," "honored," and "WAHOO!" were a few of the emotions the entrepreneurs expressed."

"Looking back one year to our last announcement of the 15 inaugural Arch Grant recipients, it's amazing to consider how far we've come through the support of the St. Louis community. YOU, our partners and donors, are why entrepreneurs want to be here in St. Louis. This great place, hash tagged #StartupCity on Twitter, is truly embodying that moniker," stated Spear.


Setting the Record Straight on the Marketplace Fairness Act
ST. LOUIS, (SLFP.com), May 9, 2013 - On Monday, May 6, the U.S. Senate voted to approve the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA), S. 743, legislation that will fix a loophole that unfairly allows remote businesses to have a price advantage over local businesses. The bill also returns the ability of states to enforce their own laws.

"We hear story after story from small business owners who spend time with potential costumers only to see that customer walk out the door to buy the same product online tax free. You see firsthand how this federal loophole is allowing government to pick winners and losers. I would like to see an opponent of this bill tell one of these main street business owners that the Marketplace Fairness Act, which simply levels the playing field for all retailers, isn't the common sense thing to do," stated Neal Osten, director of the NCSL Washington D.C. Office.

Opponents of the legislation have been spreading misinformation. It's time to set the record straight.

Myth: MFA is a new tax that violates the Americans for Tax Reform's pledge. Truth: It is not a new tax or a tax increase and clearly does not violate the pledge. Consumers already owe this tax, though few choose to remit it. This legislation removes consumers from the liability of having to remit the taxes they already owe, in turn, removing the chance of being audited by departments of revenue because of their unmet tax liability.

"I'm a co-signer of the pledge. I'm a co-signer of the legislation. We have to collect the taxes that are due," said Representative Austin Scott (Ga.-R).

Myth: MFA will hurt small business.

Truth: The small seller exemption exempts 99 percent of online retailers from having to collect. Not only will this legislation not hurt small business, its passage is in fact vital to protect the main street retailers around the country who provide jobs in our communities. Main street businesses comply with the laws in their states. If out-of-state retailers want to conduct business and make money from the same constituency, it is only fair that they comply by the same laws. Nothing more, nothing less.

Myth: The Marketplace Fairness Act is too confusing for small businesses to comply.

Truth: The legislation requires states to provide software to businesses that instantly calculates the correct rate. 21st Century software has made collection and remittance of sales taxes from any jurisdiction in the country seamless. Myth: MFA is a cash grab for states.

Truth: States only want the ability to enforce their own laws. The ability to collect taxes that are already owed would give states the option to reduce existing taxes, avoid a new tax or pay for services without raising taxes.

"This legislation boils down to two words: states' rights," Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander said on the floor of the Senate on April 22. "We ought to support states' rights by letting Tennessee and other states decide whether they want to collect taxes that are already owed, and how to treat businesses fairly in the marketplace. Tennessee wants to avoid a state income tax and treat businesses fairly in the marketplace, and it shouldn't have to play 'Mother, May I?' with the federal government to do so."

In a release, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) thanked the president for his support. Strong support from the president comes in addition to the already strong bipartisan support for the bill in the Senate, beginning with the bill's lead sponsors Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and its 26 other bipartisan sponsors.

From the statement released by the Executive Office of the President:

"The administration strongly supports S. 743, which will level the playing field for local small business retailers that are in competition every day with large out-of-state online companies." The statement goes on to say that "The administration looks forward to working with the Congress on this bipartisan legislation to support state and local priorities."

NCSL is a long-time champion of the Marketplace Fairness Act and encourages the Senate to pass the legislation. In 2012 alone, it was estimated states lost out on a collective $23 billion as a result of not being able to collect sales tax revenue on remote sales.


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