Welcome to the Jan. 7 Monday Business Briefing, your weekly business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.
Roadrunner Kitchen moving New Albany locations
New Albany cafe Roadrunner Kitchen is moving across the street to Underground Station.
The restaurant, which serves sandwiches, salads, soup
“The cost here is much more conducive to what we are doing,” the owner Stacie Bale said in a phone interview. Bale’s name may be familiar as she formerly ran vegan-friendly restaurant Earth Friends Cafe.
The cafe is open Monday through Friday for lunch, and most of its customers are taking food to go, though there will be indoor seating for six to eight people at the new space, in addition to seating on a shared outdoor patio at Underground Station.
With the move will come some menu changes, Bale said. Roadrunner Kitchen’s chicken will now be baked, not grilled; it won’t serve smoothies anymore but will still have espresso drinks, and it will have a conveyor oven to quickly heat up wraps and sandwiches.
“Our focus will still be the local fresh and fast,” she said.
Prospect farm may become new subdivision
The owner of Sutherland Farm is expected to sell the 49-acre property in Prospect to a developer, who plans to construct a new subdivision called The Breakers at Prospect.
A notice sent to nearby residents from Mulloy Properties states that the property is under contract with an unnamed buyer who wants to build 81 houses on the land. The current owner is Majorie McCall, and the buyer is Stephanie Gilezan, a real estate broker and developer.
“I took a chance and gave her a phone call, and we came to a deal,” Gilezan told Insider in a phone interview. She declined to disclose the purchase price.
The Breakers at Prospect will be “custom-built homes with a classy and timeless architecture with brick and stone and cedar shake,” Gilezan said, noting that new residential development hasn’t been constructed in Prospect since early this decade. “Prospect deserves to have higher end single-family residences.”
If everything goes as planned, she said, she hopes to put infrastructure in this summer with first home construction sometime in the fall.
Already at least a few neighbors have raised concerns about density given the size of the property and the increase in traffic that will result. The property is sandwiched between the Garvin Brown Preserve and the Innisbrook Estates subdivision.
“Obviously, there is always going to be some sort of pushback,” Gilezan said, adding that the density is far better than had a multifamily or patio home developer bought the land.
Kentucky voters express support for e-cigarette tax
Most Kentucky voters support the idea of placing an excise tax on electronic cigarettes.
That’s according to poll results released Jan. 2 by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.
Mason-Dixon Research and Polling conducted the telephone poll of 625 registered Kentucky voters in mid-December, with funding assistance from the foundation.
Voters were asked, “Do you support or oppose placing an excise tax on the sale of e-cigarettes so that e-cigarettes are taxed at a rate similar to a pack of cigarettes.”
They also were informed that Kentucky places both a sales tax and a $1.10-a-pack excise tax on traditional cigarettes. A bill from the last legislative session raised the excise tax by 50 cents but did not affect e-cigs, according to the foundation.
In the new poll, 73 percent of people said they support the idea of an excise tax on e-cigarettes.
The poll also found strong support among Republicans and Democrats for such a tax. There also was majority support from a wide range of age groups, from ages 35 to 64. There was lower support (56 percent) in the 18-34 age group.
Health advocates, including the U.S. Surgeon General, have been voicing increasing concern about e-cigarettes in recent months because of growing use by high school students and other youths.
“This explosive growth is erasing years of progress in reducing tobacco use among adolescents and teens and creating a whole new generation of Kentuckians who will have to deal with the expensive, debilitating and often deadly diseases tied to tobacco consumption,” the foundation’s chief executive, Ben Chandler, said in a news release. “The research shows that one of the most effective ways of reducing tobacco use — especially among youth, pregnant women and those living on low incomes — is raising the cost of the tobacco products.”
The poll found that 16 percent of Kentucky adults said they had tried e-cigarettes. The highest rates were among 18- to 34-year-olds (41 percent) and Eastern Kentucky adults (21 percent). —Darla Carter
City doled out almost $2.3 million in small business loans in 2018
The city’s Metropolitan Business Development Corp., or METCO, awarded nearly $2.3 million in loans to 30 Louisville small business last year, according to the mayor’s office.
The loans represented a total of roughly $12 million in investment, a news release stated.
The most loan funding went to Michael and Barbara Sivells, owners of the Shack in the Back BBQ, 10706 Manslick Road. The couple received three loans totaling $320,000 to move from Mt. Holly Road to a large space on Manslick, build out the kitchen, renovate and add ADA-complaint bathrooms.
The majority of the loan money is used to renovate
Consignment shop hosting grand opening
A new consignment shop — this one focused on mom, dad and baby — debuted quietly in Douglass Loop in November and is now ready to celebrate its opening.
Lady Bear Resale Boutique, located at 2206 Dundee Road, is hosting a grand opening celebration from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sat., Jan. 19. The event will include chair massages, live music, crafting, story time, treats and deals on store purchases.
Ford sales fall 9.6 percent in December
Ford Motor Co. sales in December were down 9.6 percent from a year earlier, and the automaker said total sales last year, at nearly 2.5 million, fell 3.5 percent.
Despite the decline, Mark LaNeve, the company’s vice president for U.S. marketing, sales and service, said in a news release that December sales “capped another strong year for Ford and the industry.”
The auto website Edmunds said that although overall industry sales fell slightly in 2018 and are projected to fall again slightly this year, they “will remain at a historically high level because of positive economic factors such as low unemployment, high consumer confidence
Demand for the Ford Escape, made exclusively at Louisville Assembly Plant, declined 23.3 percent in December and 11.7 percent for the year, to about 272,000 units
Ford said late last year that this spring it plans to move 500 full-time production workers from LAP to the Kentucky Truck Plant, which primarily makes the Super Duty truck but also the Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, most of which have been selling well.
The F-Series truck, which includes Super Duty, saw demand fall 1.8 percent in December, but for the year, sales improved by 1.4 percent, to more than 909,000 units.
Consumer interest in the Expedition improved 14.6 percent in December and 5.4 percent for the year, at about 55,000 units. Demand for the Navigator was up 43.6 percent in December and nearly 70 percent for the year, although, at fewer than 18,000 units sold in 2018, it remains a niche product that costs about three times as much as an Escape. — Boris Ladwig
Tony Schreck is the new CFO of Kentucky Venues, which manages the Kentucky Exposition Center and the Kentucky International Convention Center. Schreck most recently served as Kentucky Venue’s accounting director.
Correction: This post was updated to correct information about which vehicles are produced at Kentucky Truck Plant.