Welcome to The Closing Bell. This is your last stop for biz scoops and big news before the weekend — a roundup of stories that can’t wait till Monday.
Brown-Forman expands parental leave
Louisville distiller Brown-Forman Corp. this month began offering expecting mothers 12 weeks of paid leave — or about twice as much as the most generous maternity leave plans of the area’s 10 largest employers..
Insider Louisville this week had reported that about half of the area’s largest employers offer at least four weeks of paid maternity, paternity and adoption leave, though the other half offered little to none.
General Electric had the most generous maternity leave policy, offering up to eight weeks, though the University of Louisville, Humana and UPS also offered at least four weeks of paid time off.
Brown-Forman notified IL that on May 1 it began a new policy that provides 12 weeks of fully paid leave for childbearing mothers and six fully paid weeks for spouses, adoptive and foster parents.
The company said it implemented the policy in recognition “that today’s families come in all shapes and sizes.”
Kirsten Hawley, Brown-Forman’s senior vice president and human resources officer, said in an email, “Bringing a new child into a family is one of the most challenging yet rewarding times in a parent’s life. With these changes, B-F parents can take comfort in knowing that they have the time and support they need to focus their attention on their family without having to make difficult decisions about the length and type of leave they can take.”
Village Anchor owner opening third concept this summer, with more in the works
Kevin Grangier isn’t slowing down. If anything, he’s planning to pick up steam when it comes to restaurant openings.
The Louisville restaurateur said he wants to develop five to seven “unique and successful brands” under the umbrella company Belle Noble Entertainment Group, which Grangier owns, according to information he emailed to Insider Louisville.
In a follow-up interview, Grangier said he doesn’t think his timeline is too aggressive. After opening the steakhouse Le Moo, “I better understand the learning curve.”
He’s calling his latest concept PICNIC. It’s a cafe and bar in the old train depot building next to The Village Anchor, which Grangier also owns.
Although the two restaurants will be neighbors, Grangier told IL he isn’t worried about cannibalization.
“I was actually looking for something to leverage the success of Village Anchor,” he said. “It is a lower price point. It’s much more casual.”
The restaurant will employ 20 and have an estimated average ticket cost of $12.
The menu will include pastries, breakfast sandwiches, soups, sandwiches and a large salad bar with local, organic produce and grilled-to-order proteins such as blackened shrimp, salmon, chicken, steak and country ham, the email states. PICNIC also will serve coffee, champagne cocktails, beer and wine.
“I’ve for a long time wanted to do a healthy offering,” he said in the email. PICNIC “meets my personal objectives to deliver a healthy option to folks in Anchorage and on the east side.”
Hours of operations will be 6 a.m. till 10 p.m daily. PICNIC is expected to open around July 4.
PICNIC will be Grangier’s third restaurant. The Village Anchor was his first, and he opened Le Moo at 2300 Lexington Road in September. He also recently opened Blue Moo, a jazz/blues club in the back of Le Moo.
He is actively working on an unnamed Italian concept as well, which he hopes to open in Middletown, but he hasn’t found the right location yet.
“That is where I want to be. It is just difficult to find a space big enough with parking,” Grangier said in the interview, adding that he doesn’t want to be in a mall-type environment.
On top of the Italian restaurant, Grangier also wants to open a sushi bar, a breakfast restaurant, a seafood concept and another “mainstream dining” establishment. He already has names picked out, but those he wasn’t ready to share. —Caitlin Bowling
Report: Health care exchange volatility typical for new markets
While insurers including Louisville-based Humana have signaled that they’re leaving some Affordable Care Act exchanges next year, industry experts said disruptions in the new industry are to be expected.
Humana, UnitedHealth Group and others have reported that medical costs of the individuals who have signed up for insurance on the ACA exchanges are higher than the health insurance premiums those customers are paying. The losses have prompted some of the companies to reevaluate on which exchanges they’re participating and how.
ACASignups.net has reported that Humana is withdrawing from health exchanges in at least five states next year — though they make up only a small portion of the company’s more than 500,000 exchange customers.
Business Insurance reported this week that exits from Humana, UnitedHealth Group and others pose problems for the ACA and customers, especially in rural areas where they have few to no options to secure insurance. However, BI also said other companies are expanding their offerings, and the volatility merely reflects “how the marketplaces are still in their formative years.”
Deep Banerjee, health care director at Standard & Poor’s, told BI, “The proces is slowly seeing new entrances, but clearly you are seeing it because it’s a more viable market (than before the ACA.)”
“You can’t start an insurance company from your garage,” Banerjee told the publication.
For example, while UnitedHealth is abandoning Kansas, insurers that are selling plans on the Kansas exchange include Medica, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and Aetna, the Hartford-based company that wants to buy Humana.
Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini has said the exchanges remain a good business opportunity, in part because insurers can gain hundreds of thousands of customers with relatively little effort and cost.
And, BI points out, insurers have a good incentive to figure out how to make the exchanges work for them: “Federal law bars insurers from re-entering the marketplaces for five years, assuming they discontinue all types of individual policies. That incentivizes plans to stay in and compete for market share, especially if they already went through the trouble of getting regulatory approval and building capital reserves and provider networks.” —Boris Ladwig
Fortune 500 company acquires Harry K. Moore
Louisville’s oldest operating real estate firm Harry K. Moore was acquired this week.
Chicago-based JLL purchased Harry K. Moore for an undisclosed amount to bolster its industrial and office real estate brokerage services, according to a news release. It also helps JLL grow its presence in the e-commerce trade area between Louisville, Indianapolis and Columbus.
“Adding Harry K. Moore’s local expertise to JLL will provide better, expanded and more comprehensive services to our clients in the fast-growing Louisville area,” market leader and managing director JC Pelusi said in the release. “This acquisition will establish a broader leadership position for JLL’s industrial and healthcare services and complement the entire platform in the area.”
Powell Spears, managing partner of Harry K. Moore, will continue to run the Louisville office as JLL’s managing director. Stephen C. Lannert, Douglas H. Owen and Robert W. Moore Jr. also will remain part of the team, taking the roles of senior vice presidents at JLL.
“Louisville is a central hub for the nation’s e-commerce business, and we’re confident that by joining JLL we will help our clients maximize the opportunities in the market,” Spears said.
VIA Studio rolls out new Waterfront Park website
An experience that’s different for everyone.
We’re a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city. We’re a natural haven for quiet reflection. We’re an ongoing festival of sounds and sights. We’re your favorite band blasting into the night sky.
And we’re right here, accessible to all.
That’s the lead-in to the lovely new Waterfront Park website created by VIA Studio. The site has a Wes Anderson aesthetic — kind of cute, kind of twee. But it’s super user-friendly and makes good information easily accessible — like the fact that you can rent a tandem bike for a half-day for $25. (Question: If you put two people who don’t know how to ride a bike on a tandem bike, does that work out? Asking for me and my also bike-averse boyfriend.)
The independently operated and maintained public park has a storied history neatly outlined on the site. The FAQs are especially illuminating; Did you know it’s free to dock your boat at the boat docks and you might even be allowed to stay overnight if you contact them in advance?
The events page is very clear. Speaking of, here’s a cool event coming up this weekend: On Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the base of the Big Four Bridge, a waffle food truck will be handing out free waffles, as well as other giveaways, while supplies last. The purpose is to promote the FX show “Fargo.” Free waffles! —Melissa Chipman
PharMerica CEO to present at UBS conference
Louisville-based pharmacy services provider PharMerica Corp. announced this week that its CEO will give a presentation at a conference in New York City next week.
Gregory Weishar will present at the UBS Global HealthCare Conference at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
UBS, an investment bank, said the three-day conference will include more than 200 companies in the health care services and life sciences sectors.
A live webcast of Weishar’s presentation will be available on the Pharmerica website.
The company this month reported that its first-quarter profit fell 57 percent, as the company struggled with rising litigation and restructuring charges.
First-quarter net income was $4.1 million, down from $9.5 million in the first quarter of last year.
West Louisville nonprofit names new president, honors local doctor
As part of a long-range succession plan, Louisville Central Community Centers‘ Board of Directors has promoted Kevin Fields Sr. to president and chief operating officer of the nonprofit.
Located at 13th Street and West Muhammad Ali Boulevard, LCCC is a nonprofit that offers everything from youth development and arts education programs to employment services and job training for adults.
Fields has worked as LCCC’s senior vice president and COO for nearly five years and is expected to become CEO of the nonprofit whenever current CEO Sam Watkins Jr. retires, according to a news release. Fields previously served as vice president of programs at the Louisville Urban League and director of special programs at Louisville Metro Housing Authority.
“He is accomplished and well-respected for his leadership skills locally and nationally. We are also very proud that he is a product of our immediate Russell neighborhood, having grown up in the Beecher Terrace Public Housing development,” Bonnie Lash Freeman, vice chair of LCCC’s board, said in the release. “He is passionate about community change and advancing the aspirations of children and families we serve.”
This week, LCCC also honored Dr. Wayne B. Tuckson of KentuckyOne Health with the Lyman T. Johnson Distinguished Leadership Award. Tuckson, a colon and rectal surgeon, was recognized for his efforts to improve cancer-related outcomes for African Americans and other disadvantaged groups in Kentucky through educational programming on KET. —Caitlin Bowling
New salon for men opening in Westport Village Sunday
Who said pedicures are just for women?
Starting Sunday, a new business in Westport Village called 18|8 Fine Men’s Salon is offering men the spa treatment.
The salon’s services include haircuts, massages, manicures, pedicures and skin care treatments — all while they sip on an ice-cold beer, according to an announcement about the opening. The Executive Haircut package includes a hot towel treatment, two washes and a 15-minute head and neck massage.
Walk-ins are welcome, but customers can book appointments online as well. 18|8 Fine Men’s Salon has more than 70 location across the United States.
It isn’t the only Louisville business looking to make getting a haircut a more unique experience for men. Two female barbers opened a shop called Beards and Beers earlier this year at 514 S. Fifth St.
Bernheim Forest names Scott Turner COO
Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest recently named Scott Turner as chief operating officer. Turner joins Bernheim from Land Between the Lakes where he previously served as business performance manager.
“We are fortunate to add Scott’s expertise and deepen the talent of our Senior Management Team,” said Mark Wourms, Bernheim executive director, in a news release. “I am confident that his addition will strengthen Bernheim’s ability to fulfill its mission of connecting people with nature.”
“Bernheim created many special memories over the years for me and my family, so joining the leadership team is an opportunity that I look forward to.” said Turner. “Bernheim’s mission is unique and the opportunity to play a role in carrying it out is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Turner attended Evangel University in Missouri, earning a bachelor’s degree in public administration and history, then he got a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Louisville.
Turner served in the Georgia Army National Guard and was stationed in Iraq as an airborne infantry soldier.
Petco Foundation awards $38,000 grant to Alley Cat Advocates
Since its start in 1999, Louisville nonprofit Alley Cat Advocates has fixed more than 35,000 stray cats in our city through their humane Trap-Neuter-Return program. The national Petco Foundation recognized their achievements and awarded the organization a $38,000 grant last week to further support the program.
“It is springtime in Louisville, and that means it is kitten season. This gift comes at a particularly important time, because awareness and demand for our services peak as unaltered stray cats give birth to more kittens,” says Alley Cat co-founder and executive director Karen Little in a press release. “We’re honored to receive this generous grant and to be recognized for our success and the progress we have made in Louisville.”
The investment by the retail company will help Alley Cat Advocates reach more caretakers, who provide food and shelter for the stray cats. Since 2011, the efforts of the organization — with the help of caretakers — have contributed to a 61 percent reduction in the intake of cats at local shelters, dramatically reducing taxpayer cost, overcrowded shelters and animal euthanasia.
Now that’s the cat’s meow. —Sara Havens