Red State Business Owners Applaud Passage of Ballot Initiatives to Raise the Minimum Wage

Erin Musgrave, (530) 864-7014,
Bob Keener, (617) 610-6766,

Business owners in Missouri and Arkansas celebrate passage of minimum wage ballot initiatives because higher wages will be good for businesses and their state’s economy

Nov. 6, 2018 —Business owners in two red states where minimum wage initiatives were on the ballot celebrated passage of the initiatives today because they believe stronger wage floors will be good for businesses and the economy.

In Missouri, more than 700 businesses in the Missouri Business for a Fair Minimum Wage coalition supported Proposition B to gradually raise the minimum wage from $7.85 an hour to $8.60 next year, and then increasing it each year until it reaches $12 an hour in 2023.

In Arkansas, business owners backed Issue 5, which would gradually raise the state’s current minimum wage of $8.50 an hour to $9.25 on Jan. 1, 2019, $10 in 2020, and $11 in 2021.

Business owners supporting the initiatives agree that raising the minimum wage will help workers afford the basics, significantly boost consumer spending, lower employee turnover, reduce hiring and training costs, increase productivity, and improve customer satisfaction.

“Business owners in two red states came out strongly in support of raising the minimum wage. That speaks volumes,” said Holly Sklar, CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. “Business owners know the minimum wage has been too low for too long, which erodes consumer buying power. Workers are also customers. When customers have more money to spend, businesses grow and local economies are stronger.”

Numerous business owners supportive of raising the minimum wage are available for comment, including:

Maxine Clark, Founder and former chief executive of Build-A-Bear Workshop, in St. Louis, said: “As the founder and former chief executive of a business that has grown into a major national and global company, I know that happy employees make happy customers. Unfortunately, too many Missourians are earning too little – from the cashiers at the grocery store to the classroom aides helping educate our children to the people who care for our aging parents. Raising the minimum wage will demonstrate to working people that we value their work and it will help businesses succeed.”

Bob Goodrich, President of Goodrich Quality Theaters including Capital 8 in Jefferson City and Forum 8 in Columbia, MO, said, “We couldn’t have built our business without great employees. Missourians can’t make ends meet on the current minimum wage. Raising the minimum will be good for business and the economy.”

Howard Hanna, Owner of The Rieger in Kansas City, MO, said, “The minimum wage just hasn’t kept up with the cost of living, and paying higher wages has real bottom-line benefits. I’ve seen lower turnover and less kitchen waste, which saves us money, and better customer service that helps turn guests into regulars. Raising the minimum wage will raise everyone up and give the economy the jolt we need.”

Joe Edwards, Owner of Blueberry Hill restaurant and music club, the Moonrise Hotel, the Pageant and Delmar Hall concert nightclubs, Peacock Diner, Flamingo Bowl, and Pin-Up Bowl in St. Louis, MO, said, “Paying fair wages is one of the smartest business moves I’ve ever made. We don’t have nearly the employee turnover of others in the restaurant and service industry. That translates to better customer service and saves us time and money in recruiting and training costs. Raising the purchasing power of low-wage workers by raising the minimum wage will spur a virtuous economic cycle that leads to local business growth.”

Capi Peck, Owner of Trio’s Restaurant in Little Rock, AR said, “I’ve seen firsthand how paying fair wages is good for business. It’s why I support raising Arkansas’ minimum wage. Our low turnover is invaluable from a bottom line and customer service perspective. Increasing the minimum wage will give needed raises to workers who will then have more to spend as customers.”

Meg Sebastian, CEO of Sebastian Tech Solutions in Jonesboro, AR, said, “As one of the few defense contractors here in Jonesboro, my goal is to bring jobs here by building a defense and technology sector in Jonesboro. If we want Arkansas to have more STEM jobs and encourage companies to invest and reinvest in our state for the long term, we need to have a strong, productive workforce – and raising the minimum wage is a key building block.”

Aaron “Blake” Ralston, Owner of Ralston Agency with offices in Little Rock and Fort Smith, said, “Raising the minimum wage is important insurance for businesses as well as workers. It will enable many more workers to make ends meet and it will boost the consumer spending that businesses depend on to survive and grow.”

Missouri and Arkansas business owners who supported raising the minimum wage are available for comment.

To schedule an interview, contact Erin Musgrave at or (530) 864-7014 or Bob Keener at or (617) 610-6766.


Business for a Fair Minimum Wage is a national network of business owners and executives and business organizations that believe a fair minimum wage makes good business sense.

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