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.

Louisville chef makes the cut for new season of ‘Top Chef,’ starting Dec. 1

Annie Pettry is partner and executive chef at Louisville's celebrated Decca restaurant. | Courtesy of Top Chef
Annie Pettry is partner and executive chef at Decca restaurant. | Courtesy of Top Chef

Fire up your television.

Decca partner and executive chef Annie Pettry is one of 16 chefs from around the country who will be vying for the title of “Top Chef” during Season 14 of the cooking competition. The competition is set in one of the country’s best food cities, Charleston, S.C.

“I know I’m a badass, but this is the scariest thing I’ve ever done,” Pettry said in a preview for the season.

This season will be a little different from past ones. Its competitors are a mixture of “veterans,” who have appeared on “Top Chef” before and eight “rookies,” including Pettry.

Eliminated contestants also will have a chance to compete in the “Last Chance Kitchen,” which allows one chef to cook their way back into the competition. Season 14 kicks off at 10 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1, on the Bravo television network, and viewers can watch “Last Chance Kitchen” online after the weekly episode. —Caitlin Bowling

Former antitrust official: Trump won’t derail DOJ’s opposition to Aetna-Humana merger

Humana_logoFederal regulators’ legal challenge of the proposed Aetna-Humana merger is not going to be derailed by the election of Donald J. Trump, a former antitrust official said.

Since the election of Trump on Tuesday, shares of Aetna, Humana and Anthem and Cigna, which also want to merge, have posted solid gains. Shares of Humana were up 7.7 percent at the end of Thursday, while Aetna’s rose 6.3 percent. Anthem and Cigna posted improvements of 5.5 percent and 4.7 percent. The S.&P 500 was up just 1.3 percent.

Of Trump’s election, David Balto, former policy director for the Federal Trade Commission and a former trial lawyer in the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division, said: “Some might speculate that this may lead to the demise of the Justice Department’s challenges to the Aetna-Humana and Anthem-Cigna mergers. They could not be more wrong.”

Aetna and Humana have said that combined they can provide better health care for more people at a lower cost, but the Justice Department argues that the merger would undermine competition, lead to lower quality of care and higher prices, especially for older Americans.

David Balto
David Balto

Balto, a Washington, D.C.-based antitrust lawyer, said that Trump’s election would not reduce the fervor of the DOJ’s opposition to the mergers, for at least four reasons:

  • “Federal antitrust litigation is clearly a nonpartisan sport. Though the officials who run the DOJ are political appointees, the folks who work in the trenches, the talented trial lawyers and economists, are professional civil servants and non-political.”
  • Antitrust has wide bipartisan support. Protecting competition and the marketplace “are bedrock concepts that both Republicans and Democrats agree with. Nothing could be more corrosive for that bipartisan consensus than if the Trump Administration abruptly changed course in these vital cases.”
  • A Trump Justice Department will see the value of the cases. “Indeed, when Trump spoke about health insurance he often emphasized the importance of increasing competition in these markets by eliminating regulatory restrictions preventing firms from entering into each other’s markets. These mergers would be even more harmful than those restrictions in extinguishing competition.”
  • Mainstream Republican antitrust enforcers, such as Tom Campbell, a Reagan-era FTC competition bureau director, support the cases.

“Trump appreciates the simple hard facts that drives the economy,” Balto said in a press release. “And the simple facts here are clear – every past health insurance merger has led to higher premiums and few if any benefits for consumers.”

“These were cases Reagan-era enforcers can support. We should expect the same from Donald Trump’s DOJ,” Balto said. —Boris Ladwig

New York eyebrows-only salon opens in NuLu

Dollface offers mostly on eyebrow-related services. | Courtesy of Dollface
Courtesy of Dollface Brows & Beauty

First came the blowout bars dedicated specifically to styling hair. Now, Louisville will get its first standalone business dedicated solely to shaping the eyebrow.

The profile of the eyebrow has risen along with the career of actresses including Cara Delevingne and Emilia Clarke and has caused some women to ditch the “barely there” eyebrow look for a bushier brow. Traditionally, eyebrow care has been one of many services offered at hair salons, and while eyebrow threading shops popped up in malls years ago, this seems to take eyebrow styling to a whole new level.

Jess Harrison, founder of New York-based Dollface Brows & Beauty and licensed esthetician, recently moved to Louisville and decided to open her second Dollface store in NuLu.

“After spending the last decade building my brand in New York City, I am honored to have the opportunity to become a destination in one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in the city,” Harrison said in a news release.

The store, at 207 S. Shelby St., opened on Nov. 2. It offers services such as brow wax, brow tint, brow tweeze, lash tint and other facial waxing. Prices range from $10 to $72.

Customers can schedule an appointment online or simply walk in. Its hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Wednesday and on Fridays; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. —Caitlin Bowling

Local businesses mark Veterans Day with special events and offerings

Veterans Day honors the contribution of former and current military members. | Courtesy of Creative Commons
Veterans Day honors the contribution of former and current military members. | Courtesy of Creative Commons

While no one would argue that America’s veterans should be honored everyday, Veterans Day offers a gentle reminder to do just that.

In honor of Veterans Day Friday, numerous businesses are offering special discounts or hosting events to celebrate the men and women who have fought or continue to fight on behalf of the United States.

Here is a roundup of some of the ways locally owned companies plan to celebrate Veterans Day (This is not a comprehensive list.):

  • Pearl Harbor survivor Charles Hocker and Tuskegee airman Frank Weaver will cut the ribbon on the Frazier History Museum‘s new exhibit “Personal Stories of Pearl Harbor” at 1:30 p.m. Friday. Veterans and active military members can view the exhibit free Veterans Day.
  • Dundee Tavern, at 2224 Dundee Road, is offering all active duty military and veterans 25 percent off their meals.
  • Texas Roadhouse is offering free lunch to active and former members of the military, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Military members can choose from one of 10 entrees, including a 6-ounce Sirloin steak. Texas Roadhouse also will donate 10 percent of its proceeds from online gift card sales from now until Dec. 31 to Homes for Our Troops, which supports disabled veterans.
  • Buckhead Mountain Grill is offering a free lunch to all veterans and active duty members, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Veterans and current members of the military can receive free admission to the Louisville Zoo, as well as 50 percent off concessions and 10 percent off items in the zoo’s gift shop.
  • Churchill Downs also is offering free admission and discounted meal tickets  in honor of Veterans Day. For tickets and more information, call (502) 636-4450.
  • YMCA of Greater Louisville is offering a free day to military service members and veterans Friday.
  • The Kentucky Humane Society is waiving its pet adoption fee for dogs and cats that are 4 months or older to veterans and active military today through Sunday, Nov. 13. They will still have to pay applicable Jefferson County licensing fees.

On a related note, Oxmoor Auto Group, along with Progressive Insurance, presented a newly refurbished van to a local military family, the Parrs, who also have a son suffering from Cerebral Palsy. The nonprofit Barren Heights, which offers a retreat for families with a child who has physical or developmental disabilities, chose the family.

“We are very excited to be helping this military family as a way to honor them this Veterans Day. This giveaway is something I look forward to every year,” Del Farmer, chief operating officer of Oxmoor Auto Group, said in a news release. —Caitlin Bowling

Kentucky Distillers’ Association introduces ‘The Barrel Report’ podcast

Adam Johnson | Courtesy of KDA
Adam Johnson | Courtesy of KDA

In late October, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association started a new platform to connect bourbon consumers with behind-the-scenes experiences. “The Barrel Report” is a podcast hosted by Adam Johnson, director of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, which offers listeners a glimpse of the men and women behind Kentucky’s distilleries, both large and craft.

The topics so far have ranged from a discussion with Andrew Buchanan of Hartfield & Co., a small distillery in Paris, Ky., to a chat with Four Roses master distiller Brent Elliott. There have been four released thus far, and they run anywhere from 17 to 29 minutes.

“My job is to get you behind the barrel, behind the scenes of some of your favorite brands and distilleries, bringing you the latest news, stories and rumors from our beloved industry,” says Johnson in the introduction.

He tells Insider the goal of “The Barrel Report” is to spotlight KDA’s member distilleries and provide listening education while people travel from distillery to distillery.

The free podcast can be found at iTunesSoundCloud or Stitcher and will be released periodically. —Sara Havens

Jeptha Creed Distillery opens to the public Friday; Angel’s Envy follows suit next Saturday

Shelby County judge executive Rob Rothenburger overfilled the first barrel of Jeptha Creed bourbon. | Photo by Sara Havens
Shelby County judge executive Rob Rothenburger overfilled the first barrel of Jeptha Creed bourbon. | Photo by Sara Havens

And speaking of that delicious brown spirit that delightfully haunts Kentucky, two new distilleries will open their doors to the public this month.

First up on Friday is the Jeptha Creed Distillery in Shelbyville, which goes down in history as the first distillery in Shelby County since Prohibition.

(It also was featured on KDA’s “The Barrel Report” podcast, mentioned above.)

Insider first shared the news of the Nethery family’s plans for a 15,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art bourbon distillery in April, and since then has kept in close contact with the marketing manager Autumn Nethery and her mother, distiller and owner, Joyce.

Tours begin Friday, from 2 to 6 p.m., every half hour. And because it’s the grand opening, the $10 regular tour fee will be waived. Insider plans to get an early peek at the distillery in the morning, so stay tuned for a more in-depth look.

And less than a week later, Angel’s Envy, located smack dab in the middle of downtown Louisville, across from Slugger Field, will open its doors to visitors starting Saturday, Nov. 19. The state-of-the-art, $27 million facility will serve as a full-production distillery — one of only two in downtown (the other is Peerless Distilling Co.). You can bet bourbonites near and far will be lining up for tours and a chance see, taste and feel everything about one of their favorite premium bourbons.

Tours are $15, which includes a tasting, and run on Monday and Wednesday through Saturday. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday, from 1 to 5 p.m. Insider also will get a preliminary look of the distillery next week, so stay tuned for more. —Sara Havens

Chef Space business opens standalone store in Louisville

The bakery will ship cookies to your door. | Courtesy of DelectaBites
The bakery will ship cookies to your door. | Courtesy of DelectaBites

Local business Delectabites has moved from online only to a small business incubator in West Louisville to now a bakery cafe in Okolona.

Owner Sarah Allgeier started Delectabites in 2014 with the goal of opening “a cute neighborhood bakery.” Two weeks ago, Allgeier opened her bakery cafe at 8683 Preston Highway.

The store sells the cookies and cakes that Delectabites is known for as well as a selection of sandwiches, salads and soups. Prices range from $2 for potato hash up to $8.50 for a large salad or a combination meal.

“We found this area that really has nothing here about fast food,” Allgeier said. “I am doing everything from scratch.”

In addition to her own creations, Delectabites menu includes drinks from Louisville-based Elixir Kombucha, and fellow Chef Space business Dippin’ Sisters have co-located with Delectabites. Dippin’ Sisters sells items including chocolate-covered pretzels, Oreo balls and Rice Krispies drizzled in chocolate.

The company still takes online orders for delivery of its desserts, but now customer also can dine in or take out food from the Okolona store. The bakery cafe also offers handmade pastries for breakfast, brunch and lunch, which aren’t available online, and can offer a broader variety of sweets.

Through the end of this year, hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday. However, starting Jan. 1, the regular hours of operation will be 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. —Caitlin Bowling

Butchertown store expands its footprint

Work the Metal is a popular shop in Butchertown. | Courtesy of Work the Metal
Work the Metal is a popular shop in Butchertown. | Courtesy of Work the Metal

Eclectic shop Work the Metal has grabbed up more space within Butchertown Market.

The store added 3,500 square feet of retail space, giving it roughly 12,000 square feet to showcase its fashion clothing, accessories, home decor and gifts.

Jack Mathis, owner of Work the Metal, did not return a call for comment regarding changes with the business.

To celebrate the expansion and the holiday season, Work the Metal will host an open house, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Saturday, Nov. 12. The store will be filled with an array of holiday gifts, classic-to-kitschy holiday decor and “snuggly” clothing.

The first 50 people at the open house will receive a gift from Work the Metal. —Caitlin Bowling

Children’s hospital is official renamed

norton childrens hospital-logoThe former Kosair Children’s Hospital has been renamed Norton Children’s Hospital.

Kosair Charities and Norton Healthcare said this summer that they would remove the Kosair name as part of a settlement that ended their two-year-old lawsuit and decades-long relationship.

The name change became official on Thursday, Norton said in a press release. New signs are being installed. Norton said the process would be completed by the end of the year.

The hospital was created in 1981 when Kosair Crippled Children’s Hospital and Norton Children’s Hospital joined forces. It has 267 beds and the region’s only Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center and serves as the primary pediatric teaching facility for the University of Louisville.

The hospital annually treats more than 170,000 children for conditions including heart disease and cancer.

Kosair in 2014 filed a lawsuit that accused Norton of misusing $115 million designated to help charity care patients at the children’s hospital. Norton filed a countersuit, asserting, among other things, that Kosair breached its agreement with Norton and failed to make scheduled payments.

Norton said Thursday that while the hospital’s name is changing, the caregivers would continue their “mission of caring for, healing and serving children and families in this community.” —Boris Ladwig

Correction: The original version of this post incorrectly stated Angel’s Envy would be the first full-production distillery in downtown Louisville, when in fact Peerless Distilling Co. — a full-production facility — opened in 2015.

[dc_ad size="9"] [dc_ad size="10"]