Maplewood’s ‘essential’ businesses, especially Lowe’s, come through for the city

Maplewood businesses that remained open throughout the stay-at-home order — ‘essential businesses’ — did well enough to offset losses from the closed businesses, so the city is projecting flat sales tax revenues for the remainder of the year, interim city manager, Anthony Traxler said in an email to 40 South on Wednesday.

Traxler said in an online City Council budget work session meeting Tuesday that sales for Lowes were better than ever for April — “booming” even. Lowe’s sales numbers are usually higher later in the spring, he said, so it’s good to see April sales so high.

Following Lowe’s, sales from other essential businesses, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Aldi and Schnucks filled in for the city.

He also said in the email that the city is down seven employees but expects to slowly rehire the employees as the workload increases as things start opening again.

Council members also discussed masks being worn in stores. One said customers at Lowe’s and Walmart aren’t generally practicing social distancing or wearing masks, though at Menard’s, in Richmond Heights, masks are required. If a customer doesn’t have a mask the store will sell them one for a dollar.

Interim city manager, Anthony Traxler, Council Member Ray Crader, Mayor Barry Greenberg and Council Member Sandi Phillips on the Zoom meeting Tuesday night.

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