CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - New businesses are marking their mark in Cape Girardeau, which also means new job opportunities.
Restaurants have set up shop, and buildings are being renovated into new hotels or retail shops.
That includes Laughing Gas Comedy and the N2O Lounge, a new comedy club being built at the Towne Plaza in Cape by Jeff Johnson and his wife Kara.
He says the comedy hot spot will fill an entertainment niche that the city doesn't have.
"There is no reason for Cape Girardeau not to have a comedy club, it's the largest city between Memphis and St. Louis," he said. "Why should people have to drive two hours to be entertained? Now they won't have to do that, and I think people will appreciate the convenience."
When the comedy club opens this Fall Johnson says it they will hire between 10 and 20 people.
"Cocktail servers, bartenders, there are some administrative staff because we have a box office," he said. "So I'm going to make sure people are making a fair wage. I'm hoping those clerical positions will be in the $10 an hour range."
John Mehner with the Cape Chamber of Commerce says the number of new jobs in Metropolitan Statistical Area rose by about two percent in 2017, which is the third highest increase compared to other MSA's in the state.
The co-founder of Codefi, Chris Carnell, says he not surprised.
"There was a research study done around 2009 about where new net jobs come, and they come from entrepreneurs, startups and new companies," he said. "Codefi itself has doubled over the past year. I think we added five to seven jobs just last year."
Carnell says they're setting an example of how to launch and continue growing an innovative company for the tech district they've been fostering at the Marquette Tower in Downtown Cape.
Codefi's goal is to help new technology companies get started through their 'first 50k programs' and instructional code labs.
"Just in the past three and a half years our community has launched over 40 startups which is pretty incredible," Carnell said. "Most of them are technology driven and within the past year over 50 jobs have been created within those companies as well."
Other companies like Slumberland Furniture, which has been in Cape for 15 years, is expanding into its new location on William street.
Owner Jack Ford says they hired seven people to advertise during their moving sale, and created temporary jobs to build the new space and several full time positions to staff the new facility.
"The carpeting people, the electricians, there were sometimes 20, 30, 40 people here working in a single day," Ford says. "I've hired some extra warehouse guys and another person for the office. I went from 11 staff to 14, so almost a 30 percent growth."
Ford says the new location opens this Saturday and hopes business continues growing so they can hire more people..