Welcome to the March 26 Monday Business Briefing, your business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.
Jeffersonville shipbuilder to shut down
Citing a massive decline in the shipbuilding industry in the last few years, Jeffersonville-based Jeffboat, a staple in the community for decades, will shut down, the shipyard’s labor union said in a statement on Facebook Saturday.
“While this cycle has occurred in decades past, this time it was unfortunately too much for the company to bear,” the Teamsters Local 89 said.
The company could not be reached Saturday. Jeffboat occupies about 80 acres, with a one-mile front of the Ohio River. The company builds inland barges, towboats and oceangoing vessels and provides repair and machining services. According to its website, the facility was founded in 1834 and is the “longest continually operated shipyard in the U.S.”
Jim Kincaid, the union’s business agent, who used to work at Jeffboat, said the news of the shipyard closing was “heartbreaking.”
“I worked beside a lot of these folks for many years through the most extreme weather anybody can imagine,” Kincaid said in the Facebook post. “They always delivered the best barge or towboat in the industry. They poured their heart and souls into it. They took pride in their work and built some of the best vessels on the rivers and oceans.
“Words can’t express how saddened we are that this historical ship yard is closing its doors,” he said.
The shipyard operator recently had said it would cut 226 jobs, citing “a decrease in the demand for the vessels that Jeffboat manufactures,” according to a WARN notice filed with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development in February.
At the time, Dawn R. Landry, senior vice president and general counsel, said the cuts would continue at a minimum through April. However, she said the company did “not currently intend to close the facility.”
The company said that it was cutting jobs including welders, truck drivers, mechanics, pipe fitters, electricians, machine operators and salaried employees. —Boris Ladwig
Providing the caveat that she only spent two days in the city, Lynn Richards, president and chief executive of Congress for New Urbanism, called Louisville “a city on the brink of coming back, on the brink of revitalization.”
Richards came to the city to speak last week ahead of the Congress on New Urbanism hosting its annual gathering for the first time in Louisville in 2019. She said the Congress on New Urbanism is “about building places people love.”
in mid-February or March next year, design and planning experts will start work on projects aimed at improving the walkable and livable of areas in Louisville.
The specific projects are expected to be announced in the fall and will be chosen by a local committee, led by developer and Planning Commission member David Tomes. The projects must be ones that can continue after members of the Congress on New Urbanism leave following their annual gathering in June 2019.
“Is there a champion? Is there desire to take the next steps? Is there a social infrastructure to move forward?” Richards said.
Louisville has a lot going for it, she said, noting Waterfront Park, the Main Street facades and Park DuValle’s Hope VI development, which provides mixed-income housing.
“What I really see is a pride in what Louisville can become,” Richards said. “The biggest issue you all face is ensuring that Louisville has affordable housing.”
People like places with urban characteristics including multiple options for housing (apartments, single family homes, condominiums) and multiple options for transportation to get where they need to go (walking, driving, biking, riding public transit), and as neighborhoods improve, the cost of living in them can become exclusive.
“That is one of the largest issues facing the 21st century,” Richards said. “No cities has done a great job in it, and many cities will say ‘I wish 10 years ago we had done x, y and z.’ ”
Housing affordability has become a hot topic in Louisville in the past few years, with advocates calling on the city to fully fund initiatives like the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which aids low-income housing. Louisville Metro Council also has required some apartment developers in and near the Central Business District to incorporate workforce housing into their project in return for tax incentives.
The city still has demand for about 60,000 affordable housing units. —Caitlin Bowling
For another year, master milliner Jenny Pfanenstiel of Formé Millinery has joined forces with national brand Vineyard Vines to make the city’s biggest event, the Kentucky Derby. Pfanenstiel has name hats for former First Lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Madonna and Neil Diamond, among others.
She and her six-person team have made just under 1,000 fascinators for the Derby season. Two of Pfanenstiel’s designs are on sale on Vineyard Vine’s website and in stores. They are $108 each.
Formé Millinery Hat Shop is located in Suite 111 at Mellwood Arts and Entertainment Center. Its hours of operation from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and noon to 3 p.m. Saturdays. —Caitlin Bowling
Louisville Metro Council voted to strike a 2011 law that prohibited food trucks from operating within 150 feet of any brick-and-mortar restaurant or food establishment that serves similar food. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is expected to sign the ordinance repealing the ban.
The move came roughly nine months after Institute for Justice filed a lawsuit against the city challenging the law in federal court. The suite was filed on behalf of Troy King, owner of POLLO, and Robert Martin, owner of Red’s Comfort Food.
“This is great news because I don’t have to worry about Louisville Metro playing favorites anymore,” Martin said in a news release. “I can run my business, just like any business owner should be able to do.”
The Institute for Justice plans to dismiss its lawsuit as a result of the vote, the organization announced.
“The repeal of Louisville’s unconstitutional 150-foot ban marks a victory for the economic liberty of every entrepreneur in this city,” Arif Panjus, attorney and lead counsel for the Institute for Justice, said in the release. “It’s great to see the Louisville Metro government encourage healthy competition, which creates jobs, instead of using government power to pick winners and losers in the marketplace.”
Even if a food truck was park on private property with permission from the property owner, it could not operate if it as within 150 feet of an establishment serving similar food.
King, whose POLLO food truck sells mostly chicken, said last year that he was prevented from parking outside National City Tower because Cravings a la Carte, located in the basement of the building, also serves chicken. With the ordinance change, that will no longer be a factor. —Caitlin Bowling
Less than a month after Papa John’s dropped its NFL sponsorship, the company picked up a new sponsorship, the Thunder Funder program.
The program helps raise funds for Thunder Over Louisville, the opening event for the Kentucky Derby Festival. This year, Thunder Over Louisville is set for April 21.
As part of the sponsorship, participating Papa John’s locations are donating $1 of every The Works pizza purchased to help support the fireworks extravaganza. The Works pizza, which Papa John’s has temporarily renamed the Thunder Fireworks pizza, must be ordered online using the online promo code THUNDERPIZZA.
The promotion will last from now through May 6, the day after the Kentucky Derby.
“Without the support of community-minded partners like Papa John’s, we couldn’t produce the show fans have come to expect and anticipate,” Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO Mike Berry said in a news release.
The partnership with the Kentucky Derby Festival for Thunder Over Louisville also includes new Papa Wi-Fi Zones with charging pods for people attending the event.
“Papa John’s has been a proud Kentucky Derby Festival sponsor for the past 15 years. For the first time, we’re excited to be the title sponsor of the Thunder Funder Program,” Hillary Simmons, Papa John’s community project specialist, said in the release.
The theme of this year’s show is “A Disco Thunder” celebrating disco music. —Caitlin Bowling
The 25th annual Old Louisville Garden Tour will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 9-10. The tour provides a glimpse at the gardens of mansions in the nation’s oldest Victorian neighborhood.
Registration, will-call table and vendor tables will be located on the lawn of the Conrad-Caldwell House Museum, 1402 St. James Court. Tickets purchased before 5 p.m. on June 8 cost $15, and day-of tickets cost $20, though people 65 or older pay $15 no matter when the tickets are purchased.
The DuPont Inn Bed and Breakfast will once again host Art in the Garden featuring local artists selling their work between noon and 4 p.m. all weekend.
The event also includes a silent auction in the air-conditioned Haskins Hall, with garden-related items, Father’s Day baskets and entertainment packages.
Proceeds from the event pay for improvements and upkeep, such as planting trees and maintaining period lights and benches. —Caitlin Bowling
Since 2014, Brandon O’Daniel has been working behind the scenes at Copper & Kings American Brandy Co. making innovative gin, brandy and absinthe products for the distillery’s equally innovative owners, Joe and Lesley Heron.
O’Daniel’s title up until now has been head distiller, but as of Friday, he will now take on the role of master distiller.
“Brandon has mastered his craft,” said C&K founder Joe Heron in a news release. “This is not an empty honorific but reflects the skills and leadership of someone who is among the finest distillers of brandy in the world, and we can’t discount his excellent palate, his leadership of a full production team through example and education.
“We would be remiss in not recognizing him as an inventive alchemist when it comes to innovation — gin, Destillaré cordials, absinthe, bitters and more to come,” continued Heron. “We certainly breathe rare air when it comes to relentless innovation, with Brandon making the complex, and arcane, come to life in spirit form.”
O’Daniel started his career as an award-winning winemaker and viticulturist. Distilling in Kentucky goes back four generations in his family, as his great-grandfather distilled in the 1920s, and his grandfather worked in the Kentucky wine industry in the ’80s. And his father also works in the Kentucky wine industry today.
The master distiller earned his bachelor’s degree in horticulture and master’s degree in plant and soil science with an emphasis in viticulture and oenology from the University of Kentucky. —Sara Havens
Family Scholar House, working with Metro United Way, has introduced LouieConnect.com, which “links Louisville-area users to free services, from all around the city, that offer support and resources for everyday and urgent needs,” according to a news release.