Welcome to the May 16 Monday Business Briefing, your private business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.
U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer of D.C. ruled Thursday that federal subsidies that help pay for health insurance people obtain through the Affordable Care Act are unconstitutional.
Without the subsidies, many consumers would not be able to afford health insurance, which means large insurers would lose customers, their premiums and the subsidies, which the government pays directly to insurance companies.
Humana, based in Louisville, has gained about 539,000 customers through the ACA, according to its first-quarter statement, while Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna, which wants to buy Humana, has added about 911,000 customers through the exchanges.
Neither company would tell IL how many of those customers received subsidies, but nationally, the vast majority of ACA customers get some type of assistance. People can get subsidies if they earn between 100 percent and 250 percent of the federal poverty level.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services told IL that 83 percent of the 12.7 million people who signed up on ACA exchanges qualified for assistance, and that the average annual subsidy was $3,480.
If 83 percent of Aetna and Humana’s ACA customers were awarded an average subsidy of $3,480, the companies would receive subsidies totaling about $4.2 billion.
But that’s not all: Without the subsidies, people would not be able to afford insurance, and that means insurers also would lose out not just on the subsidies but also on the premiums those people pay. According to HHS, individual Obamacare customers paid an average of $1,272 in annual premiums, which would amount to another $1.5 billion in revenues for Humana and Aetna.
That means without the individual ACA business, Aetna and Humana would see their revenues decline by about $5.7 billion, or about 5 percent of total company revenues.
Humana and other health insurers have said they’re struggling with the cost of ACA patients, and the Louisville-based insurer said in its most recent earnings report — before the judge’s ruling — that it was weighing whether to exit some state exchanges.
Company spokesman Tom Noland told IL Friday that the judge’s decision “is not expected to change decisions around our 2017 exchange participation in the near term.”
New Thai restaurateur plans to fill void in Louisville food scene
Pavana Tasanabriboon has spent 20 years running Thai restaurants, first in Florida and then in New Jersey.
After her daughter graduated college and left New Jersey this spring, Tasanabriboon said she didn’t want to stay there, and on a visit to see family — relatives own the restaurant 2B Thai in Elizabethtown — she came across the open space at 2206 Frankfort Ave. and decided to take it.
“I love people here,” she said. Louisville is “nice and easy, not rushed” like other cities.
Some may remember the Frankfort Avenue spot as housing TropiCuba, Cubana and Riviera Maya, all short-lived restaurants. But with decades of experience cooking and plenty of her mother’s recipes, Tasanabriboon plans to buck that trend at the restaurant called Time 4 Thai.
“I try to be one of the best. That’s my goal,” Tasanabriboon said. “Nice, simple, clean, good service and the best food.”
Menu items, including traditional fresh seafood, chicken and beef dishes, will be made from scratch and cooked to order. She also will draw on whatever seasonal ingredients are available in Louisville throughout the year, and during mango season in July, Time 4 Thai will serve up specialty Thai Mango dishes, she said.
Tasanabriboon didn’t have much to say about the menu because she plans to adapt it based on customer feedback.
“I have no idea about neighbors, what they like,” she said. “I have to learn. …I want everything to be perfect.”
Her goal is to open by the end of June or July at the latest. Because of her quick timeline, the decor will be simple, Tasanabriboon said, adding that she will add more design touches after the restaurant opens.
With a few exceptions — including Simply Thai in St. Matthews and Mai’s Thai Restaurant in Jeffersonville, Ind. — the area has a dearth of strictly Thai restaurants. Some may have Thai dishes but mostly lean Chinese or Japanese.
Something’s brewing at Butchertown’s ButcherBlock development
Blieden told members of the Land Development and Transportation Committee, a subcommittee of Louisville Metro’s Planning Commission, what businesses would fill six buildings along Main Street near North Wenzel Street — a photography studio, a specialty food shop, a home goods store/interior design business, a Vietnamese restaurant and a doughnut shop.
He casually mentioned that a coffee shop will fill the building at the corner of Wenzel and Main street. When Insider Louisville asked him about the business, Blieden said he could not talk about it yet but confirmed that he is talking to a locally owned coffee shop about opening up in ButcherBlock.
Blieden went before the committee as part of the rezoning process. He wants to rezone three buildings along East Washington Street that are part of the ButcherBlock project from residential to C-2. The nine buildings Blieden plans to renovate are more than 120 years old.
“We’ve had some black eyes when it comes to preservation, and I want Louisville to have a success story,” he said.
Donnie Blake, a member of the committee, praised the efforts.
“I appreciate you saving these buildings. Saving some of these shotgun houses are tough,” he said. “I think it’s a great revitalization.”
A neighboring property owner raised concerns about parking and noise but said overall he’s happy to see the buildings revitalized.
“It’s been an eyesore of the neighborhood for 20 years,” said Tim Bowling, adding: “I am happy about the development, but I am concerned about the parking.”
Blieden said he has a gentleman’s agreement with the owner of a nearby plumbing business to use their parking after hours and has other plans in the works to help alleviate any problems.
GLI opens nominations for Inc.credible awards
Since 2000, Greater Louisville Inc. has been honoring small businesses with Inc.credible awards. Local businesses with 100 or fewer employees can nominate themselves for an award in six categories. Or, of course, you can nominate your favorite small business (cough, cough).
“The Inc.credible Awards are a chance for Greater Louisville to really celebrate all the small businesses that make our region unique and vibrant,” Kent Oyler, president and CEO of GLI, said in a press release. “We are always excited to see the innovative business solutions that are being pioneered by the smaller players in our community.”
Here are the categories:
- Very Small Business of the Year Award (1-9 employees): The winning company must exemplify both business and civic leadership. Community involvement, management practices and overall financial performance are the primary criteria for this category.
- Small Business of the Year Award (10-100 employees): The winning company must exemplify both business and civic leadership. Community involvement, management practices, and overall financial performance are the primary criteria for this category.
- Advance Manufacturing and Logistics Award: This award will go to the manufacturing company that best demonstrates the use of effective, lean methodologies and techniques that focus on improvements in: quality, cost, productivity, physical waste reduction and non-value adding activities, customer service, and safety.
- Arts, Culture & Community Award: This award is presented to the small business that is seen as a leader in the Greater Louisville community. This business has made significant contributions to advancing arts and culture in Greater Louisville and sees community investment as a core part of the company’s values.
- Innovation & Creativity Award: This award recognizes a small business that executes business initiatives which demonstrate innovative solutions for new and existing business needs. Initiatives can include but are not limited to projects, programs, processes, services, systems, technologies, developments, ventures, and undertakings.
- Lifelong Wellness & Healthcare Award: This award recognizes a business that is taking steps to increase overall wellbeing, whether by introducing innovative solutions to the healthcare field or by implementing an organization-wide health and wellness program. The company must be committed to improving lifelong wellness for individuals inside and outside of their organization.
To nominate a small business for an Inc.credible Award, visit www.greaterlouisville.com/
Economy Inn passes its first unannounced health inspection in years
Last month, the notorious Economy Inn on Bardstown Road passed its first unannounced regular health department inspection in over a decade, receiving a score of 90 percent.
The Economy Inn had its operating permit suspended twice last year for repeated failed inspections that nearly resulted in its revocation, until it finally received a passing grade in its last-chance inspection in November. However, the Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness put the motel on six-month inspection schedule at that time – more frequent than the typical annual inspection – due to its decade-plus history of failing because of issues with sanitation, insects and fire code violations.
The April 14 inspection found unclean conditions in several of the Economy Inn’s rooms, but it was able to pass easily due to having no critical violations.
The Economy Inn also has steered clear of running afoul of new public nuisance rules enacted by Metro Council last year, largely spurred by the high number of crimes and arrests at that motel. Under these new rules, a hotel can be cited and possibly have its permit revoked by Metro Codes and Regulations if there are at least 5 arrests on its premises for certain felonies per 100 units in a 60-day period.
The nearby America’s Best Value Inn & Suites was thought to have passed this threshold earlier this year, but Codes and Regulations later found that they had not, as some of the offenses there were not covered by the ordinance. Council members David James and Pat Mulvihill have been in discussions with the LMPD and County Attorney’s Office on possible amendments to these public nuisance rules, as some serious crimes such as robbery and rape do not appear to be explicitly covered under it.
City records show there have been 17 charges filed for arrests at the Economy Inn since the beginning of February, most of which are drug charges, but also including motor vehicle theft, first-degree rape, first-degree robbery, first-degree domestic violence, first-degree terroristic threatening and prostitution. —Joe Sonka
MOVE Louisville public forums scheduled
Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government will host four public input session to give residents the opportunity to weigh in on its MOVE Louisville plan.
MOVE Louisville is a $1.4 billion, 20-year transportation improvement plan unveiled earlier this year. To read more about the plan, click here.
Officials from the Transit Authority of River City (TARC), Public Works and Advanced Planning will attend each meeting and present an overview of the plan, followed by breakout sessions.
The meetings are all at 6 p.m. on the following dates and locations:
- Monday, May 16, at Southwest Government Center, 7219 Dixie Highway
- Tuesday, May 17, at TARC Headquarters, 1000 W. Broadway
- Monday, May 23, at Newburg Library, 4800 Exeter Ave.
- Tuesday, May 24, at Crescent Hill Library, 2762 Frankfort Ave.
Those unable to attend any of the meetings can provide input online. —Caitlin Bowling
Kroger adding online grocery shopping at Louisville stores
Got kids? In a rush? Have trouble getting around?
Kroger is trying to eliminate the need for some customers to enter the grocery store and making the experience more convenient for shoppers by adding its online grocery shopping system called Clicklist at a growing number of stores in Louisville.
The Cincinnati-based grocery chain last week premiered Clicklist at its store at 3039 Breckinridge Lane in McMahan Plaza and plans to introduce it at eight other Louisville stores in the next few months, according to a news release.
Customers can use their phone or computer to create a shopping list and set a pick-up time. A Kroger employee bags the grocery order and loads it into the customer’s car when they arrive. If an item is unavailable, the employee will offer an alternative.
Orders must be placed before midnight in order to be picked up at a specific time the next day, and the service is available from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Customers pay when they pick up their order. Clicklist has a $4.95 service fee per order but is waived for customers’ first three orders.
Clicklist will be available at the store at 279 Hubbards Lane in late May; at the stores at 4501 Outer Loop, 5001 Mudd Lane and 311 Boone Station Road in June; at 6900 Bardstown Road in July; at 9151 U.S. 42 in late summer; at the new Dixie Highway Kroger Marketplace in the fall; and at the store in Holiday Manor in October. —Caitlin Bowling
Quest Outdoors hosting grand opening for new Shelbyville Road Plaza store
The Louisville outdoor gear store Quest Outdoors is marking the expansion of its Shelbyville Road Plaza store with a grand opening celebration from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m on Saturday, May 21.
For the grand opening event, representatives brands including Patagonia, The North Face, Osprey, Columbia, Keene and Sherpa will offer special promotions and prizes for customers.
Quest combined its three former Louisville stores into one large 25,000-square-foot shop with everything from backpacks and casual clothing to big wall climbing gear and kayaks.
“This will not be a normal store by any means,” owner Ryan King said in a news release. “With three floors, the new store will be huge but retain the spirit of the smaller Quest stores, especially our commitment to personalized, knowledgeable customer service.”
Thousands of jobs available at upcoming career fair
Need a job? Papa John’s Stadium will be the site of a massive job fair featuring more than 65 companies with over 1,000 available jobs.
Unlike many job fairs, the news release, this event will feature openings at various levels, from entry-level service industry gigs to corporate management jobs. Industries include: manufacturing/production, accounting, health care, sales, administrative, industrial, skilled trades, printing, IT, marketing, retail, hospitality, collections, customer service, financial planning, transportation, management, education/faculty, security, warehouse, technicians and more.
Some of the employers scheduled to attend include Baptist Health, UPS, Trilogy Health Services, Horseshoe, US Bank, Dawn Foods, Amazon, Kentucky Farm Bureau, Kentucky Department of Corrections, LMPD, FedEx, Marriott, Lowes, Valvoline and Airserv.
The fair is from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18. Dress professionally, bring lots of résumés and be prepared to be interviewed on the spot. Parking is free, as is the event. Good luck! — Melissa Chipman
Hack for Change IV
It’s once again time to use your hacking skills for the civic good. Code for America’s National Day of Civic Hacking is on June 4, and once again, Civic Data Alliance is hosting Hack for Change Louisville, where they will celebrate by using their collective big brains and coding skills to develop software using open public data.
This year, the locals didn’t get very much money from the national organization, so they will be charging $15 a ticket — but that includes food, beverages, prizes, swag and what have you. They’re also looking for event sponsors.
Applications now open for summer classes with Etsy Craft Entrepreneur Program
Earlier this year, IL looked into the city’s Etsy Craft Entrepreneur Program, which helps people sell their arts and crafts in the online marketplace, and we talked to instructor Jordan Kavuma, who has run a successful Etsy shop, Thistle and Thread Design, for two years.
Now applications are open for the three-week program that provides micro-business training to underemployed, low-income adults.
“We want to give crafters the tools needed to participate and thrive in an online marketplace, like Etsy,” Mayor Greg Fischer said in a press release. “Small businesses start with an idea, and the success we’ve seen with this program is a testament to the creative and innovative ideas that make Louisville a dynamic city.”
So far, the program has graduated 40 artists in five classes.
Two program sessions will be offered to residents in June and July. All classes meet on Mondays and Wednesdays at the Nia Center, 2900 W. Broadway, from 4-6 p.m.
RE/MAX Advantage opens new regional offices
Real estate company RE/MAX Advantage is opening its new offices next week in Floyds Knobs at 300 LaFollette Station South, Suite 300.
The company contracted Floyds Knobs-based AML Inc. to build a more than 8,400-square-foot, two-story brick office building, according to a news release.
The project cost more than $1.4 million. In addition to REMAX/Advantage’s office, it includes a 2,200-square-foot space, which is being used by The UPS Store.
“An energetic real estate market and our agents’ consistent sales volume made the decision to build a logical choice,” Linda Finney, owner of REMAX/Advantage, said in the release. The company’s vision to “provide an environment for people to flourish personally and financially” was the catalyst for the expansion.
RE/MAX Advantage has continued to add real estate agents since 2013 and is ranked third in the Southern Indiana market with $30 million in sales since January. —Caitlin Bowling