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Business News: GF Boutique Hotel… EGF and Netflix Salary Study

The pace of sales at U.S. retailers was unchanged in September from August, as rising rent and food prices reduced cash available for other things. Retail sales were flat last month, down from a revised release. Growth of 0.4% in August.

What keeps inflation so high? The answer, it seems, is almost everything. Supply chain grunts and parts shortages inflated the cost of factory goods when the economy surged out of the pandemic recession two years ago. Then it was an increase in consumer spending fueled by federal stimulus checks. Then, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine disrupted gas and food supplies and sent those prices skyrocketing. Since March, the Federal Reserve has been aggressively raising interest rates in an attempt to quell the price spikes.

A new study finds that when urban and rural data are combined, the average price of home sales in North Dakota increased by 51%, from $163,144 in 2010 to $246,786 in 2020. In 2021, selling price rose another 8% to $267,404. Rising mortgage interest rates have an additional impact on affordability. Over the same period, from 2010 to 2021, renters have weathered gross rental rates that have increased by 49%, more than double the rate of inflation. The assessment was conducted by the Center for Social Research at North Dakota State University (NDSU).

Grand Forks could have a second boutique hotel downtown. Developers envision an eight-room hostel called The Artisan at 408 DeMers Avenue. The lower level would feature retail storefronts. Restoration work on the exterior of the building and new windows are already underway. The new look also includes roof access and railings. Construction of several other downtown projects continues to progress. They include the larger Olive Ann boutique hotel… The Beacon Resort… and Franklin on Fourth.
(Photo: Beacon-Olive Ann-Franklin on Fourth & The Artisan below)

East Grand Forks plans to update a 2018 city employee salary study. A market analysis with calibration and new compensation plan would cost around $13,000. City administrator David Murphy says wage reviews can be an important tool to stay competitive.

Two of the nation’s largest grocers have agreed to merge in a deal that would help them better compete with Walmart, Amazon and other big companies that have entered the grocery business. Kroger on Friday offered $20 billion for Albertsons Companies Inc. Together, the companies employ 710,000 people.

Delta Air Lines posted a profit of $695 million for the third quarter, which includes much of the peak summer travel season. Delta said Thursday it expects its fourth-quarter revenue to be higher than the comparable 2019 figure, before the pandemic. Delta’s bottom line is boosted by higher average fares and a lucrative credit card business. This helps the airline weather rising fuel prices. Delta serves the GFK.

Netflix will unveil the first version of its video streaming service with ads next month. The move will give cost-conscious viewers the chance to watch most Netflix shows at a great discount in exchange for incurring commercial interruptions. The ad-supported service is set to debut on November 3.

The North Dakota Department of Commerce announced today that four communities have been selected for the 2022 Artists on Main Street program. Applicants receive technical assistance and funding to develop and install artwork in their communities. The communities in this year’s program are Williston through Williston Downtowners Association, Minot through Visit Minot, Hazen through Hazen Chamber of Commerce/CVB and Divide County through Meadowlark Arts Council.

The Empire Arts Center has appointed Matthew (Matt) Ternus as Director of Development and Marketing. Ternus arrives at the Empire Arts Center from the Community Violence Response Center (CVIC) where he worked as a prevention and education specialist. He graduated from the University of North Dakota with a BA in political science. Ternus will take office on Monday, October 17

Bree Maki has been named director of the Minnesota Broadband Development Office. Maki is the Senior Director of Outreach and Director of State Broadband and Telecommunications Outreach for Senator Tina Smith. She will replace former director Angie Dickison.

An online tool from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) to connect current farmers considering retirement with beginning farmers looking for land has received a major update. Minnesota FarmLink, a listing service for Minnesota farms and plots of land for sale or rent, now offers users the ability to post, edit and delete their own listings.

The New Zealand government is proposing a tax on the greenhouse gases that farm animals make by burping and peeing as part of a plan to tackle climate change. The government says the farm tax would be a world first and farmers should be able to recoup the cost by charging more for climate-friendly produce. But farmers quickly condemned the plan.