Welcome to the July 17 Monday Business Briefing, your private business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.
Owner: Oscar’s Hardware to get much-needed expansion
Pending city approvals, Oscar’s Hardware in Schnitzelburg will add nearly 4,900 square feet to the locally owned store this year.
The business filed an application with the city noting that it plans to grow from 6,328 square feet to 11,220 square feet. The hardware store, at 1515 S. Shelby St., needs a variance from the city because the addition will sit more than 25 feet off the street. The plans include 24 on-site parking spaces and nine street spaces.
The expansion has been a long time coming, according to owner Paul Fussenegger.
“About 10 years ago, I needed to do that,” he said. “I have got so much stuff in here it’s just on top of each other.”
Fussenegger expanded Oscar’s Hardware back in 1991, he said, and by 1995, the store was running out of room again.
He bought the 0.3-acre property next door at 1501 S. Shelby St. in 2008 with the idea that he would expand the store onto the former gas station property. For years, Fussenegger said, he waited for the government to take out the gas pump tanks from the site, but nothing happened. He eventually decided to incur the expense himself.
Fussenegger is still waiting for final approvals from the city, but should it approve the plan, he said he hopes to finish the expansion sometime this fall. Oscar’s Hardware won’t close during the renovations.
The additional space will allow Oscar’s Hardware to expand on what it currently carries and possibly offer better lines of various products, Fussenegger said. “We are going to have a bigger lawn and garden section, that’s for sure.” —Caitlin Bowling
New NuLu brochure highlights events and businesses
You may be noticing more tourists in NuLu soon, thanks to a new brochure created by Mperfect Design for the NuLu Business Association. Rick Murphy, president of the association, just dropped off a case of the brochures at the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau. He said the bureau’s Concierge Services Manager Denise Clark gave it “high praise.”
The brochure contains a directory of area businesses and an event calendar, and it unfolds into an illustrated map with the businesses clearly marked.
Murphy said that a board member, Ina Miller, did most of the data collection and worked on building and populating the association’s new website.
The association used to have a rip-off map pad that it distributed to attract visitors. Recently, they’d been running low. Murphy told IL, “In addition, there are so many new businesses and developments in the neighborhood, that a complete new design was going to be required, even if we kept the old single sheet format.”
Murphy said that association members would start delivering the brochures to area concierges and hotel desks this week.
Jason Pierce and Megan Mraz from Mperfect worked on the project. Mperfect is a NuLu business located on S. Shelby St. Association members Rabbit Hole Bourbon & Rye purchased the back cover ad space. —Melissa Chipman
Local need for registered nurses high, expected to grow
Louisville needs registered nurses, wholesale and manufacturing sales reps, and software developers, according to the latest quarterly labor market report.
Registered nurses saw by far the highest number of job postings in the quarter, with about 5,000. The region’s employers also posted just below 3,000 job openings for sales reps and about 1,300 for software developers.
Registered nurses also are projected to see the greatest number of retirements. At the same time, the need for nurses also is expected to increase more than for any other occupation.
More good news for nurses and nursing students: Registered nurses are earning above the family supporting wage in the Louisville area, which is $50,190. Excluding the bottom and top 25 percent of income earners in the field, registered nurses in the second quarter were earning between $25.15 and $35.08 per hour.
Employers and the state are responding to the nursing shortage, which is expected to get worse as baby boomers retire and require more medical care: Norton Healthcare last month launched the state’s first apprenticeship program for nurses.
Growth on the horizon for Louisville’s Central Business District
The Louisville Downtown Partnership has released its 2019 “transformation” numbers, which look at growth in the Central Business District.
LDP is an organization that focuses its economic development efforts and research downtown.
The graphic shows increases in downtown Louisville residents, the number of attractions, hotel rooms, and leasable space, among other categories. For example, in 2019, Louisville’s Central Business District is expected to have 22 percent more residents than it currently does, going from 4,842 to 5,917 total residents.
The biggest predicted jump is in the number of hotels. The LDP states that 10 new hotels will come online between now and the end of 2019; there are currently 18 hotels downtown. That’s an increase of 56 percent.
Fond on Frankfort Avenue reinvents itself (sort of)
A small gourmet grocery Fond is now more of a full-time eatery.
Owner and chef Madeleine Dee announced on Facebook that Fond would no longer have regular hours as a grocery and instead she planned to focus on the private dining side of the business. The changeover officially occurred Tuesday as the last freezer left the shop.
Dee has hosted small private dinners at Fond, 2520 Frankfort Ave., since the store opened but also held regular hours during the week and weekends for people to stop in and grab farm fresh eggs, a sweet treat, local jams or other goods.
Back in May, Dee posted to Fond’s Facebook about the planned change, noting that customers still would be able email or text her if they wanted to come pick up an item as she will continue to carry Fond Original products and local items.
“I hope that closing the shop to the public won’t break too many hearts,” she wrote on Facebook. “It’s been a tough decision, but the store was only ever meant to be a safety net in case no one took a chance on my dinners!”
Dee also offers private brunches and lunches by reservation. The limit is 12 people per meal.
“It’s time for Fond to be recognized as a restaurant, and it’s time for me to give the dinners every bit of attention that they deserve,” she wrote. “Though the restaurant has always done well, it’s been lapping the shop for quite a while, and Fond has sold out completely in advance for two months in a row with no signs of stopping — June and September are almost full. I have larger tables now, and the space is more elegant but no less cozy.” —Caitlin Bowling
No solid news (yet) on Clifton Center’s fate, but organizers are prepping for Taste of Frankfort Ave.
When the Insider news desk received a press release about the upcoming Taste of Frankfort Avenue, which helps raise funds for the nonprofit Clifton Center, we wondered if there were any new developments with the fate of the venue. As we reported in April, the Archdiocese of Louisville, which owns the building at 2117 Payne St., has decided to reclaim the venue for another use at the end of this year.
We reached out to Don Burch, board chair of the Clifton Center, who said nothing is solid yet, but he is optimistic about the organization’s future and says plans are in the works to keep hosting events either at the center or at various venues in the Clifton/Crescent Hill area. When the deals are done, he will let us know.
In the meantime, Clifton Center staff are preparing for the 25th annual Taste of Frankfort Avenue fundraiser on Aug. 13. Interim executive director Cindy Adelberg told Insider everyone is staying focused on the upcoming events that are planned, including Taste.
New art gallery, Quappi Projects, to open in Portland
Painter, poet and avid golfer John Brooks has worked out of a studio in Portland for some time now, and when his studiomate decided to vacate his space, Brooks decided it was time to take a leap and open his own gallery, at 1520B Lytle St.
“As an artist and someone generally interested in art, opening a gallery has been something I’ve been interested in for a number of years, but it never seemed feasible or realistic,” he told Insider.
Brooks said he and his partner moved around a lot in recent years but have decided to plant their feet in Louisville. In August, he will open Quappi Projects gallery that’ll feature contemporary art reflective of the zeitgeist.
A description on the gallery’s website explains further:
“Because we believe the highest function of art is to allow human beings to know ourselves more deeply, we are interested in exhibiting challenging, even discomforting, work as a way to explore and understand the mysteries of the human experience.”
The name comes from the 20th-century German painter Max Beckmann’s second wife, Mathilde “Quappi” Beckmann, whom her husband described as “an angel sent to me so that I could accomplish my work.”
The 850-square-foot gallery will host about four shows a year, said Brooks. The first exhibit — “Instant Gratification” by Brooklyn artist Adam Chuck — opens Friday, Aug. 18.
Insider reached out to developer Gill Holland to see if there was any other Portland news to report, and he was happy to mention he closed on two deals recently — part of a warehouse at 1427 Lytle St. and the triangle lot that sits north of Heine Brothers’ at 1301 W. Main St. He’s not sure exactly what will be going in, but he’ll keep Insider informed. —Sara Havens
Six Louisville restaurants make Wine Spectator’s list for best restaurants for wine
Each year, Wine Spectator magazine releases its list of restaurant awards that recognize the best eateries for oenophiles.
The list features nearly 3,600 restaurants in the United States and more than 75 countries internationally — and six restaurants from Louisville made the cut.
The restaurants include The English Grill at The Brown Hotel on Broadway; Ruth’s Chris Steak House on Dutchmans Lane; Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse and Morton’s, The Steakhouse, both on West Main Street; and Z’s Oyster Bar & Steakhouse on Fourth Street. LouVino, which is based out of Louisville, also made the cut, however Wine Spectator lists LouVino’s Fishers, Ind., location in the awards.
Jeff Ruby’s received the “Best of Award of Excellence,” while the other five were given the “Award of Excellence.”
Notably, the Z’s Oyster Bar & Steakhouse location on Fourth Street is currently closed while the Kentucky International Convention Center is under construction. The fate of the remaining Z’s near Hurstbourne Parkway is up in the air, as the property owner plans to demolish the building the restaurant is in and construct new retail and restaurant spaces. —Caitlin Bowling
Urban Archers announced on Facebook that it would be closing at the end of the month. The indoor archery range in the Highlands opened just over a year ago. The post said that the range would remain open for the next two weeks during regular hours before closing on Sunday, July 30.
Visitors to Greater Louisville Inc.’s website landed on a page with this message on Friday: “Big things are on the way. Come back soon.” Chamber officials told Insider that the site was in the middle of a redesign by PriceWeber.
Look up! WDRB Media said the FAA has granted it approval for drone use in Louisville. Media News Director Barry Fulmer said in a press release, “WDRB has been using drones for several months, but with this waiver it now becomes the first TV station in Kentucky that is approved to fly in restricted air space.”
For a second year, Kentucky Utilities ranked No. 1 in the midsize utility segment of the Midwest region for J.D. Power’s electric utility residential customer satisfaction study, with a score of 761. Louisville Gas & Electric claimed second place in that segment with a score of 743.
Louisville-based LDG Development sent a letter to residents near Newburg Middle School notifying them that the company planned to build a 144-unit apartment complex at 5300 Green Garden Way. A spokeswoman for LDG Development said it expected to include some affordable units but that other details were not available at this time.