Welcome to The Closing Bell. This is your last stop for biz scoops and big news before the weekend — a roundup of stories that can’t wait till Monday.
Rabbit Hole founder selected as Endeavor Entrepreneur
Kaveh Zamanian, the founder of Rabbit Hole Distillery, is having quite the month. During Derby, he and his team opened the $15 million 55,000-square-foot facility in NuLu to great fanfare.
Zamanian, who has a Ph.D., followed that up by being selected into the prestigious Endeavor Global network at the 79th International Selection Panel held in Louisville this week.
“We are proud to welcome Kaveh and his big vision for Rabbit Hole to the global Endeavor family,” said Jackson Andrews, managing director of Endeavor Louisville, in a news release Thursday.
According to Endeavor Louisville, the panel convened business leaders, investors and entrepreneurs spanning 30 countries for three days of interviews, deliberations and networking. Endeavor said ISP is the culmination of “a rigorous search and selection process and represents the heart and soul of the Endeavor experience.”
Zamanian joins a select network of high-impact entrepreneurs from across the globe that in 2017 generated $15 billion in revenue and have created nearly 1.5 million jobs, the organization said.
He was selected by a panel of global business leaders including: Guibert Englebienne (Argentina), David A. Jones Sr. (USA), Mike Hennessey (USA), Gabriel Manjarrez (Mexico), John Willmoth (USA), and Doug Galen (USA), Endeavor said.
One panelist referred to Rabbit Hole as the “Tesla of the spirit industry.” Another noted that: “Kaveh is disrupting a space that 10 years ago people said couldn’t be disrupted because of its history. He’s coming in and creating a new history.”
Rabbit Hole Spirits is the eighth Endeavor Entrepreneur-led company selected into Endeavor Global from the Louisville area, according to the organization. It joins the Rivera Group (Joey Rivera, Ph.D.), Red e App (Jonathan Erwin & Patrick Goodman), El Toro (Stacy Griggs), SkuVault (Andy Eastes & Slav Ivanyuk), Edj Analytics (Sean O’Leary), Healthcare Asset Network (Kyle Green), and MXD Process (Mark Franco). —Mickey Meece
New restaurant opening in former Asiatique
Asiatique’s longtime spot along Bardstown Road did not sit empty for long.
Flavour Restaurant & Lounge is opening today, May 11, at 1767 Bardstown Road, the restaurant announced. Flavour is a mix of traditional Caribbean, Creole and Southern comfort food with an upscale dining room.
The menu includes small plates, ranging in price from $6 to $12. Dishes include Conch fritters with jalapeño cream sauce, slow-smoked baby back ribs, grilled jerk chicken and shrimp marinated in Walkers Woods jerk seasoning, Maque Choux and Trinidadian-style oxtail stew.
The restaurant is owned by Clarence Benboe, Doug Bibby, Elliott Horne and Steve Pennington, and chef Kennedy Thomas, a native of Trinidad, will run the kitchen.
The hours of operation are 5 to 11 p.m., Wednesday through Friday; 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday; and 2 to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Flavour is filling the space left by Asiatique, which was owned and operated by the renowned local chef Peng Looi. Looi said in January that he wanted to spend more time with his family and running two kitchens was simply taking up too much of his time. He continues to operate his Lexington Road restaurant August Moon. —Caitlin Bowling
Kindred Q1 loss narrows
Kindred reported a first-quarter net loss of $1.7 million, reducing the loss from a year ago by about 70 percent, thanks largely to lower operating expenses.
While revenue, at $1.51 billion, fell by nearly $26 million, or 1.7 percent, expenses, at $1.49 billion, fell by 2.7 percent, or about $41 million.
Higher salaries and wages, which increased by $6 million, were more than offset by lower expenses for supplies, down $5.1 million; building rent; down $2.2 million; restructuring charges, down $1.9 million; general and administrative expenses, down $10.1 million; and other operating expenses, which fell $23.1 million.
The company said Tuesday that income from continuing operations, at $26.3 million, rose 155 percent. However, the loss from discontinued operations, at $14.6 million, increased more than 13-fold.
The company lists its skilled nursing facility business as discontinued operations. Kindred said in late 2016 that it was leaving that business to focus on growth in its other business lines, including home health. Kindred said late last year that it had sold 80 skilled nursing and five assisted living facilities for about $658 million.
Earnings not attributable to the parent company were $13.5 million in the first quarter, down about $1.5 million from a year earlier.
Kindred, based in Louisville, provides health care services in nearly 2,500 locations in 45 states.
Shareholders last month approved for the company to be acquired for $4.1 billion by Humana and two private equity partners. CEOs of Humana and Kindred have said that the merger would allow the companies to transform how older Americans, especially those with chronic conditions, get care in their homes. —Boris Ladwig
UofL students could see a tuition increase next year
University of Louisville students could face a 4 percent tuition increase next year, the maximum increase allowed in one year.
The potential increase was included in a proposed budget pitched to the board of trustee’s finance committee Tuesday afternoon. Although the committee didn’t vote on the budget and push the increase forward, top leaders at UofL have said they support an increase.
During the meeting, interim Chief Financial Officer Susan Howarth said incoming President Neeli Bendapudi supports an increase, and faculty representative Enid Trucios-Haynes said the same for board chairman David Grissom.
Under state law, schools can increase tuition a total of 6 percent across two years, with no more than 4 percent coming in one year. Since UofL held tuition flat last year, they can impose anywhere up to a 4 percent increase.
If the increase is passed at 4 percent, in-state students would have to pay around $440 more for tuition in the 2018-19 school year. Out-of-state students would see an increase of around $1,043.
A full 4 percent increase could provide an estimated $7.7 million in additional revenue, potentially offsetting a lot of the state’s $8.3 million funding cut.
UofL Foundation refuses to pay Ramsey’s court fees
A University of Louisville Foundation committee said it won’t pay for former UofL President James Ramsey’s court fees in a pending lawsuit between the two.
The special committee focused on the forensic audit of the foundation and its resulting litigation passed a resolution Tuesday authorizing “the denial of requests for indemnity or advancement of expenses for any defendant named.”
Recently, Ramsey asked a judge to make UofL pay those fees, citing foundation bylaws that typically protect its members in lawsuits. Ramsey, along with several of the other named defendants, worked for the foundation in the time frame focused on in the lawsuit. In the resolution, the foundation’s law firm Campbell Guin said those bylaws do not apply in this situation.
Ramsey, along with ex-chief of staff Kathleen Smith and other former foundation officials, are being sued by the foundation and UofL for overspending and mismanagement of foundation funds. —Olivia Krauth
DuPont Manual named top high school in the state
Three Jefferson County schools are among the top 10 public high schools in the state, according to a new U.S. News and World Report ranking.
DuPont Manual High School grabbed the top spot on the list, earning one of five gold medal recognitions. Manual’s national rank is 152.
Atherton High School and Ballard High School, ranked sixth and ninth respectively, earned silver medals.
Three other JCPS schools — Male, Eastern and Brown — made the list’s top 20.
Nearby North and South Oldham High Schools also made the top 10, ranking fourth and fifth respectively. The district’s third high school, Oldham County High School, was 17th on the list. —Olivia Krauth
Donating your change for YMCA summer camp kids
From now through May 22, shoppers at Macy’s Oxmoor Center Mall can donate their change to send kids to summer camp.
In partnership with the YMCA of Greater Louisville, Macy’s is inviting customers to roundup their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar and donate the difference to the Y’s camp scholarship program.
The effort is aimed at helping underserved kids who might otherwise miss out on the camp experience, which includes making friends and discovering new interests.
Susan G. Komen Kentucky awards community grants
The latest recipients of Komen’s Community Grants Program include five organizations in Kentucky and Southern Indiana working to provide breast health and breast cancer services to low-income, uninsured and underserved women and men.
The winners include Norton, which has a Mobile Prevention Center to provide mammograms and other services, and has an outreach program to reach Hispanic and African-Americans; University of Louisville Medical Center, which reaches out to the uninsured and underinsured through the James Graham Brown Cancer Center and the Mobile Cancer Screening Van; Saint Joseph Hospital; Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital; and Flaget Memorial Hospital. —Darla Carter
Derby Dinner Playhouse co-owner Bekki Jo Schneider dies
Bekki Jo Schneider, who served as the co-owner and producer of The Derby Dinner Playhouse since 1985, died on Friday, May 4, after a long battle with cancer, according to a news release.
Schneider was well-known in the theater scene, having worked for the Lexington Children’s Theatre, Metroversity Summer Theatre and the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival. She directed more than 600 productions throughout her career and also taught theater to many students — from kindergartners to those in college.
Staff at Derby Dinner released the following statement:
It is with great sadness we announce the passing of our fearless leader Bekki Jo, who left us after her long fight with cancer. We will honor and celebrate Bekki’s life by carrying on her tradition here at Derby Dinner Playhouse. She built a strong and vibrant theater in Kentuckiana, but she also built a strong family that will carry on her legacy of entertaining and caring for all who come here.
Donations in Schneider’s honor can be made to Kentucky Shakespeare. —Sara Havens
Gravely Brewing wins silver at the 2018 World Beer Cup
Gravely Brewing Co wrapped up an eventful week in Nashville at the Craft Brewer’s Conference last week, winning a silver medal for its German pilsner, Sprockets.
Each year, the conference features the World Beer Cup competition, in which 2,515 breweries from 66 countries submit 8,234 beers to take home a handful of medals across 101 categories.
The German pilsner category is one of the most highly contested categories of the competition, featuring 176 entrants.
Upon his return to Louisville, Gravely Head Brewer Cory Buenning said, “In all of my career, this is the medal I am most proud of. I knew there were German judges on the panel so I strived to craft an authentic, thirst quenching pilsner and was fortunate enough to have the judges agree.”