Welcome to the June 4 Monday Business Briefing, your business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.

POLLO owner creates food truck park

Before winning his fight with the city over where food trucks in Louisville can park, POLLO food truck owner Troy King was already thinking about another alternative — a food truck park called Bus Yard.

“I just said ‘I am going to have to figure out another situation where food trucks can thrive,’ ” King told Insider Louisville.

Ultimately, King did win. King and Red’s Comfort Food owner Robert Martin had filed a lawsuit against the city with help from the national Institute for Justice, but before a ruling was made in the case, Louisville Metro Council repealed a portion of its food truck ordinance prohibited food trucks from operating within 150 feet of any brick-and-mortar restaurants that served similar food.

King told Insider that he decided to move forward with the plans for the food truck park because he believes it is a crucial part of truly being a food truck city. Places like Austin, Texas and Asbury Park, N.J., have had parks where hungry customers can find a regular gathering of food trucks for years.

Plus, King already had the property at 1519 Petunia Ave., near Poplar Level Road and Interstate 264, which he rents for another venture — building food trucks.

On Thursday, June 7, Bus Yard will open with chicken-focused food truck POLLO and four other trucks — Chew On This, All Thai’d Up, Slicin ’N Dicin and Copper Kitchen — selling food from 5 to 8 p.m. The food truck park also features a sand pit with toys for children and seating for up to 100 outside and in a refurbished bus. Musician Kevin Cummings will provide live entertainment.

King also hopes to debut another refurbished bus that will serve as a bar in the future.

Starting Friday, Bus Yard’s regular hours of operation will be 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. While POLLO will be a consistent presence at the food park, the other trucks will rotate. —Caitlin Bowling

Another lobbying spending record set during 2018 session of General Assembly

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Businesses and organizations spent $10.67 million lobbying state legislators during this year’s session of the Kentucky General Assembly, continuing the recent trend of record-breaking spending to influence public policy in the state.

The total for the 2018 session is 11 percent higher than the lobbying spending record for even-year sessions set in 2016 and 19 percent higher than the total spent in the 2017 short session.

According to the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission, tobacco giant Altria led with $379,760 in lobbying spending for the 2018 session — mostly in opposition to a tax hike on tobacco products — which is three times more than the company’s average spending in the previous four legislative sessions.

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, a nonprofit health care advocacy group, finished fifth in spending with $110,766 as it lobbied for increased taxes on tobacco products, which is 30 times more than it spent on lobbying in all of 2017.

The state House originally passed a revenue bill to increase the tax on cigarette packs by 50 cents, but this tax was later stripped out by the Senate. A compromise bill passed by both chambers reinserted this tax and came into law after the legislature overrode the veto of Gov. Matt Bevin.

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce finished second in lobbying spending with $187,103, and LG&E and KU Energy finished third with $126,858. — Joe Sonka

Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Malt on shelves in June

Meet the Malt. | Courtesy of Woodford Reserve

During Derby Week, we shared the good news of a new Woodford Reserve product that was coming soon, a Woodford Kentucky Straight Malt. The malt whiskey uses the same three ingredients that all Woodford products use — corn, rye and malted barley — just in different ratios.

The whiskey should be on shelves in early June, according to a news release, and it’ll be sold at 90.4 proof for a suggested retail price of $34.99.

Although most associate malt whiskeys with Scotland, it was actually distilled here in Kentucky before Prohibition. In fact, the federal government approved malt as one of four whiskey categories, the others of which include bourbon, rye and wheat.

Insider was fortunate to taste the product at the initial media launch, and we found it to be pleasantly sippable and robust in flavor — with notes of pecan, brown sugar and chocolate.

“This is the first of its kind since before Prohibition,” said Woodford Master Distiller Chris Morris during the tasting. “It’s different, it’s versatile, and it’s delicious whether sipping neat or in a cocktail.”

Keep an eye out for that dark blue label. —Sara Havens

Stock Yards CEO to retire, be succeeded by president

David Heintzman

Louisville-based Stock Yards Bancorp announced that its CEO David P. Heintzman will retire from that position and be succeeded on Oct. 1 by the company’s president, James A. (Ja) Hillebrand.

Stock Yards Bancorp is the parent company of Stock Yards Bank & Trust Co.

Heintzman, 59, joined the company in 1985 and has served as CEO since 2005. During his tenure, the company’s total assets, at $3.3 billion, have increased 171 percent, while total stockholder equity, at $338 million, has risen 190 percent, the company said in a news release.

The company’s stock price has risen 159 percent under Heintzman’s leadership, while the annual cash dividend, at 92 cents per share, is up 268 percent.

Charles R. Edinger III, the company’s lead independent director, said Heintzman “leaves an indelible imprint on Stock Yards Bank & Trust for its dynamic and organic growth, guided by his keen eye for minimizing the risks associated with expansion.”

Ja Hillebrand

Heintzman will serve as the board’s executive chairman through the end of the year and as chairman thereafter.

Hillebrand, 49, joined Stock Yards in 1996 to develop the company’s private banking group and oversaw its expansion into Indianapolis and Cincinnati. He now serves as president of the holding company as well as the bank.

Hillebrand holds a bachelor’s in business administration from Bellarmine and serves on the boards of the Kentucky Bankers Association, Boy Scouts of America — Lincoln Heritage Council, St. Joseph Children’s Home and the Fund for the Arts. He previously served as board chair for the Kentucky Derby Festival and the SJ Kids Foundation.

Chief Lending Officer Philip S. Poindexter, 52, will succeed Hillebrand as president.

For the quarter ended March 31, the company reported net income of $13.4 million, up 24 percent from a year earlier. —Boris Ladwig

Baptist Health gets approval for Hardin Memorial purchase

Courtesy of Baptist Health

Baptist Health has received approval from the Hardin Memorial Health board to acquire the system for $361.4 million in cash and investments over 25 years.

The parties expect the deal to close by Dec. 1. The facility will be known as Baptist Health Hardin.

Baptist Health has managed the county-owned 300-bed hospital for 20 years. Hardin Memorial Health (HMH), based in Elizabethtown, includes more than 50 outpatient facilities including the Cancer Care Center and Outpatient Surgical Center. It is associated with more than 400 physicians with more than 40 specialties.

Baptist Health CEO Gerard Colman told Insider via email that HMH is “one of the top 10 hospitals in the state for emergency care, surgery, births, endoscopy and outpatient visits.”

Colman said the deal would allow Baptist to acquire a “valuable asset” whose coverage area borders Baptist’s Kentuckiana region, which includes Baptist Health Louisville, Baptist Health La Grange and Baptist Health Floyd.

In addition, Colman said, the acquisition would allow Baptist to expand along the fast-growing Interstate 65 corridor.

The deal requires Baptist Health to invest at least $150 million into the system in the first five years “to build new facilities, recruit more physicians, upgrade HMH’s information technology and equipment, and strengthen HMH’s position and reputation as the preferred regional health care center,” the hospital said in a news release. “After the first five-year period, Baptist Health will commit an additional $85 million in capital investments to HMH.”

At closing, Baptist Health will pay the county about $60 million (minus about $30 million in pension plan liabilities), plus another $66.4 million over 25 years.

The parties had announced exclusive talks last summer and in November said they had signed a letter of intent for Baptist to acquire and operate HMH.

Baptist leaders have told Insider that rising health care costs and health insurance premiums are continuing to pressure health care providers to get bigger. Baptist bought hospitals in Richmond and Madisonville, Ky. in 2012, and in Floyd County, Indiana in 2016. With HMH, the company will own nine hospitals and its physician network would grow to 3,400.

HMH said the deal calls for the hospital’s senior leadership team to remain, and Baptist to offer jobs to all non-contracted HMH employees at the same level of pay. With 2,700 employees, HMH is Hardin County’s third-largest employer. —Boris Ladwig

In Brief

The 26th annual Taste of Frankfort Avenue has been rescheduled for Sunday, Sept. 9. Its original date was Sunday, June 10. Organizers, which include the Frankfort Avenue Business Association, decided it should coincide with the Mellwood Art Fair since both take place at the same venue — the Mellwood Art and Entertainment Center.

Gladys Lopez has been named senior vice president and chief human resources officer for Norton Healthcare. Selected in a national search, Lopez will bring nearly 20 years of experience to her new job, which involves overseeing human resources activities for Norton’s 14,000-employee organization.

Metro United Way has announced that it would invest more than $21.2 million in its seven-county region that includes Louisville. The money from last year’s fundraising efforts will be used to support programs, nonprofits and charitable organizations across the region in support of United Way’s four key pillars: early childhood success, youth success, financial independence and healthy lives.

One of the partners behind The Hall on Washington told Insider that the beer hall and restaurant will not open until late summer at the earliest after facing delays related to government approvals. The building on Whiskey Row is historic, which requires any renovation plans to go through a more thorough review process.

The Kentucky Board of Education will meet Wednesday in Frankfort for the first time since ousting the former Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt. JCPS only appears once on the agenda when the board is expected to appoint a hearing officer for when the district challenges its potential takeover.


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