Last October, Echo Lake Foods announced plans to reopen its fire-damaged plant at 1017 Locust St. this year.

Last week, the company picked up a building permit for a $2.9 million construction project there.

• And Swedish Match is starting on a $139,642 addition to its plant at 1121 Industrial Drive for its popular ZYN product.

• Food trucks have become increasingly popular in recent years — especially with the pandemic.

The U.S. Census Bureau says the number of food trucks in the country increased from 3,281 in 2013 to 5,970 five years later.

In 2018, it said, food trucks employed 16,210 people and reported an annual payroll of $320.6 million.

Sales that year topped $1.2 billion for an average of $226,291 per truck.

• American Eagle Outfitters said last week that it plans to close 40 to 50 stores this year.

It had 1,098 stores at the end of the quarter — including the new one in Gateway Commons.

• Last week, the state approved a grant of $120,082 for the Owensboro Riverport.

The money is to be used for the purchase of a front-end loader “for daily handling of bulk products, including corrosives such as fertilizer and ammonium nitrate,” the news release said.

The new loader will replace “an unreliable 11-year-old machine,” it said.

• Home Depot announced last week that it isn’t participating in Black Friday this year.

Instead of deep discounts on one day, it said, it will offer Black Friday discounts for two months, beginning in early November.

With the pandemic still hanging on, expect a lot more stores to do something like that. says Kentucky is the ninth-worst state for internet connectivity with 18% of the population having no internet.

Mississippi was the worst with 24% not connected.

Washington state was the best with only 10% not connected.

• Three companies with local offices made the annual Best Places to Work in Kentucky list for 2020.

Independence Bank was the only Owensboro-based company, ranking eighth among medium-sized businesses.

Limestone Bank, which has a local presence, was No. 24.

Edward Jones, which has several local offices, was No. 1 among large companies.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301

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