How about a workshop on the business of specialty coffee? Or doughnuts? Yes, doughnuts.

The business specialists at Mid-Continent Public Library have done a workshop on the first and are thinking seriously about the second, said Hanna Taylor, business specialist. It’s a matter of keeping up with what local entrepreneurs are doing.

“We’re looking at doing other workshops, but we can’t do that until you tell us what you want,” she said at Tuesday’s Grain Valley Partnership luncheon.

Taylor made a strong pitch for local businesses to use the library system’s extensive – and free – array of services and databases that run from demographics to market research.

“You can be at home, on your couch, building sales for your businesses,” she said.

The business team also will sit down one on one with folks thinking about a startup. They have business plans and other resources. The idea is to get as far along in that process as possible before taking the financial plunge.

“If we can’t help you, we can tell you who can,” she said.

Classes include social media advertising, food businesses and a series on business basics for non-profits. The Small Business Boot Camp – speakers, networking, vendors – is a half day well spent. The next one is March 30 at the Woodneath Library Center on Flintlock Road just west of Liberty. There was one last year in Blue Springs, and Mid-Continent is bringing it back May 4. Stay tuned for details.


Coming and going

East Forty Brewing, which is coming to downtown Blue Springs, got a step closer this week with the issuance of its city liquor license. Three Trails Brewery, coming to the Square, got its license this week, too. … Nuts & Bolts Ace Hardware is closing at Missouri 291 and 23rd Street. That’s a big blow to that strip center. Nuts & Bolts also has a store on Noland Road. … Planet Sub in Blue Springs has closed, but just down the road an IHOP is coming to Coronado Drive near Chipotle Mexican Grill. … No word from Taco John’s about when it opens in the old Krispy Kreme site on Noland Road. … Guthrie Family Dental at 1203 S. Buckner-Tarsney Road on the north side of Grain Valley is having a grand opening from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. March 19.

Quick figures

The state of Missouri says sales and use taxes, a rough measure of retail sales, were $1.46 billion through the first eight months of the fiscal year, up 2.2 percent from the same period a year earlier. Individual income taxes, $4.72 billion, were up 6.1 percent. General revenue overall, $5.97 billion, is up 4.4 percent. … Missouri manufacturing continues to make steady though unspectacular gains, according to the Creighton Economic Forecasting Group at Creighton University in Omaha. It assigns Missouri a 58.0 in its February business conditions index, up from 53.6 in January. Makers of durable goods are showing the strongest growth. Brightest spot: Private-sector wages in Missouri are up 4.5 percent in the last 12 months.

Mark your calendar

Metropolitan Community Colleges – Blue River in Independence is holding a job fair from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 28. The deadline for employers to sign is March 14. Call the Independence Chamber of Commerce at 816-252-4745. … A Jackson County Small Business Expo is set for 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. April 5 at the Drury Inn just off Little Blue Parkway in Independence. Go to for more information.

-- Jeff Fox is The Examiner’s business editor and reporter. Reach him at 816-350-6313 or Follow him on Twitter @FoxEJC.