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.
New lifestyle store opening in storefront in NuLu
Storefronts don’t typically sit empty for long in the high-demand neighborhood NuLu.
Just look at the former WHY Louisville space at 806 E. Market St. Amid numerous personal issues, Will Russell announced that he was closing the stores this time last year. By March 1, a new business — a home store and “creative floral boutique” called Mahonia — had opened its doors selling floral decorations and terrariums, among other items.
The two-story storefront at 811 E. Market St. has a similar story. Upscale clothing boutique Bermuda Highway closed in mid-August, and now a new business is moving in to take its place.
43 Industries is a lifestyle store that is expected to open in early December, according to Philip Garber, who co-owns the business with friend Adam Sharp. It will sell men and women’s clothing, sunglasses, shoes, skateboards, swimsuits and snowboards.
Think “younger, hipper West Coast,” Garber said.
Now the signage is up, and the business partners are sprucing up the inside as they wait for inventory to start rolling in. 43 Industries will carry brands including Von Zipper, Oakley, Vans, Adidas and Nike, as well as its own 43 Industries brand of clothing. (Garber has a background a graphic design.)
The goal is to offer unique products at a reasonable price. T-shirts will cost $25 to $30; heavy winter jackets will range from $150 to $200, and lighter jackets will cost around $35, Garber said.
They’d been trying to find a space in NuLu since last year but couldn’t find an available place that worked until Bermuda Highway closed.
“We were like ‘Dude, we need to pull the trigger,’ ” he said.
The pair liked NuLu because Garber said he thinks it is more a destination. Along Bardstown Road, shoppers tend to wonder in and out of stores, but they come to NuLu with a specific shopping list in mind, he said. Plus, it’s just a few blocks from the Dave Armstrong Extreme Park.
“I think it will be a good complement for that neighborhood,” said Amador Delatorre, the Realtor with PRG Commercial Property Advisors who worked with Garber and Sharp to find the space. “I think retail is going to succeed in that area especially more so now, once the apartments come online.”
Across the street from each other on Main Street in NuLu, there are two large-scale apartment complexes planned, one at Main and Clay and the other in the former Service Tanks property. —Caitlin Bowling
The Courier-Journal hires new executive editor
The Courier-Journal announced Thursday that its new executive editor would be Joel Christopher, a Gannett news executive who has worked for the company’s newspapers in Wisconsin for the past 20 years.
Christopher, 45, has served as Gannett’s vice president of news for its USA Today network of daily newspapers in Wisconsin since 2014. He was previously the network’s digital editor, and prior to that, was the digital editor for The Post-Crescent in Appleton, Wis., for nine years.
He will succeed former executive editor Neil Budde, who resigned in October shortly before Gannett laid off a handful of Courier-Journal employees in its newsroom, one of its many papers that had layoffs that month.
Christopher made the rounds in The Courier-Journal offices on Thursday speaking with staff, saying he typically sits in the middle of the newsroom instead of being closed off in his own office. In the wake of years of layoffs within a print newspaper industry struggling to adapt in a digital age, he said wants to help C-J reporters focus on the best use of resources so they can serve as watchdogs on public entities.
“Joel brings a strong track record of solid news judgment, proven digital audience engagement strategies and a highly engaged style of leadership,” said Courier-Journal publisher Wes Jackson in the announcement. “Through his leadership, our organization will serve our customers with unique, quality journalism online and in print.” —Joe Sonka
Spalding raising $30 million for new athletic facility, partners with LG&E and KU on park
Spalding University is making a splash with two new projects that will help green-up and activate two different places downtown.
The first project is a new $30 million undertaking that will include the creation of a new athletics complex, an expansion of a campus green space and the renovation of the Tompkins-Buchanan-Rankin Mansion. So far, the Louisville college has raised $20 million for the project located on a former industrial property near Ninth and Kentucky streets.
The athletic complex will be constructed first and will feature baseball, soccer and lacrosse fields, along with locker room facilities.
“The campaign highlights the Louisville community’s commitment to the university and the South of Broadway (SoBro) neighborhood,” Spalding University President Tori Murden McClure said in a news release.
Several blocks away, Spalding University also is partnering with electricity provider LG&E and KU to turn a 2.2-acre parking lot at 960 S. Second St. in the SoBro district into a new park.
Spalding, which has a 20-year lease agreement with LG&E for the space, will tear up the asphalt and replace it with an open green space that its students can use for intramural sports and recreation. The goal of the project, the release stated, is to beautify the area and help reduce the impact of Louisville’s urban heat island.
“We believe being a good community steward means supporting initiatives like this that benefit the environment and education,” John Malloy, LG&E’s vice president of customer services, said in a separate news release. “Partnering to transform this property accomplishes both of those goals and creates a more visually appealing space that the entire community can be proud of and enjoy.”
Butchertown Grocery reinvents its upstairs bar
The upstairs bar at Butchertown Grocery has undergone an image makeover.
While the downstairs will remain a restaurant, the upstairs was renamed Lola, and the food menu was changed to offer a different experience from Butchertown Grocery. Both have the same owners.
Opening Nov. 23, Lola will feature a smaller and cheaper menu than its downstairs counterpart.
The menu includes fries, spinach artichoke dip, a Cuban sandwich, fish and chicken sandwiches, beignets and a Florentine panino, with fried eggplant, peppers, goat cheese, pepita pesto and chips. Prices will range from $8 to $15.
Those items will be available any time, but Lola’s also will serve a late-night cheeseburger available only after 12:30 a.m.
Lola’s will continue to serve the same Tom Waits-inspired cocktails, offer a private dining room and provide a space for live music and other events.
Horseshoe Casino investing $13 million in renovations
The casino will spend $13 million to upgrade its hotel lobby and rooms, it announced. Work will start soon and be completed in April 2017.
General manager Brad Seigel said he’s “very excited to be launching this project as I think it is going to provide a renewed and rejuvenated hotel space for our guests.”
The hotel will remain operation as Horseshoe Southern Indiana take only a portion of its 503 guest rooms and suites offline for renovation at one time. Since the casino opened in the early part of this century, the rooms have received small renovations, including new carpet and furniture, “things to stay fresh but nothing coordinated like this one,” Seigel said.
The renovations will include a whole new look, pictured at right, as well as upgrades to the Wi-Fi system and the inclusion of newer features, such as phone charging plug-ins closer the bed and desk — something that wasn’t the standard in 2001.
The lobby will be reconfigured to help “activate” the hotel bar, as well as get new decor, Seigel said.
Although it’s a little bit of a drive outside of Louisville, as the only casino around, Horseshoe Southern Indiana draws residents and visitors from the Louisville area and expects that the economic boom locally will impact its business as well.
“I think it is a really exciting time to be in Louisville and see all the exciting growth going into the greater Louisville area,” he said. “We are excited to be making our own investment into our hotel.” —Caitlin Bowling
Jack Daniel’s donates $100,000 to help kick off Operation Ride Home campaign
For the past five years, Jack Daniel’s has been helping active duty military get home for the holidays by co-sponsoring the Operation Ride Home campaign with the Armed Services YMCA. And on Tuesday, Nov. 15, Jack Daniel’s representatives presented a check for another $100,000 at Brown-Forman Corp. to the initiative.
Since the organization’s formation, 2,083 junior enlisted single service members and those with families — a total of more than 4,600 people — have gotten to travel from base to home for the holidays.
The campaign urges others to give what they can as well, because for every family that’s been helped by Operation Ride Home, there are 10 families waiting for assistance. —Sara Havens
BLōFISH to open pop-up shop in Oxmoor Mall for the holidays
BLōFISH, Louisville’s first unisex clothing store, is opening a pop-up shop in Oxmoor Mall on Saturday. The company, which is one year old, has a flagship store in NuLu. The mall store will be near Yang Kee Noodle and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
BLōFISH offers hats, T-shirts, tanks, underwear and pants. It also donates to a different charity each month and is on track to donate $20,000 in its first year. This month’s charity is Gilda’s Club.
This year the company initiated a Kickstarter campaign for its pants and underwear first run. It raised $25,322, exceeding the $25,000 goal.
Bourbon Barrel Foods only Kentucky finalist in Good Food Awards
Bourbon Barrel Foods has landed on the Good Food Awards finalists list with its Hot and Spicy Kentuckiyaki. The awards are given by the Good Food Foundation and the list of categories are an indication that the items are hipster foodie gold. Awards will be given to winners in 14 categories: beer, cider, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, confections, honey, pantry, pickles, preserves, spirits, oil and preserved fish. (Preserved fish? My lands!)
But, 2,069 companies entered the awards and 291 were honored for “creating vibrant, delicious, sustainable local food economies,” according to the Good Food Awards website. Out of 291 companies, Bourbon Barrel Foods was the only one from Kentucky.
Finalists were chosen during a blind tasting in September “where our fine panels of judges determined what’s most delicious in each food category.” The winners will be announced Jan. 20, 2017. —Melissa Chipman
Kentucky Shakespeare says goodbye to 24-year-old stage house in Central Park
The 24-year old vertical stage house at the C. Douglas Ramey Amphitheater in Central Park will be taken down for both safety and aesthetic concerns, Kentucky Shakespeare announced this week. Scenic designer Paul Owen designed the multiuse structure in 1992, and redesigned it again in 2014, to expand the stage area to include neighboring trees and to draw the audience in closer.
Owen is working on designs that will better incorporate and celebrate the natural beauty of Central Park.
“We got many good seasons out of the stage house, longer than intended. Now, with new seating, a new lighting truss and body microphones incorporated, we are no longer limited to the playing area of the stage house structure,” said Artistic Director Matt Wallace in a news release.
“Keep your eyes peeled, though,” said Associate Artistic Director Amy Attaway, “because portions of the amphitheater stage house will have an encore performance on our set for ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead’ in January at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts!” This play is in rehearsal and will premier in January 2017. —Melissa Chipman
UPS to hire 2,500 seasonal workers in Louisville
UPS plans to temporarily hire 2,500 people in the Louisville area to handle holiday shipments, which in the days leading up to Christmas are expected to exceed more than 4 million, or more than double the daily average.
The majority of the hires will sort packages and help delivery drivers. Package handlers will earn $10.10 per hour, with a weekly bonus of $200 per week, while driver helpers will earn $15. Some part-time employees in college can get up to $25,000 in tuition assistance. Those interested can apply at upsjobs.com or 502-359-1877.
The company is hiring 95,000 people across the country to handle higher package volume from November through January. UPS said that about a third of seasonal hires become full-time employees.
UPS also told IL that in the days before Christmas, daily package volume in Louisville would exceed 4 million, compared to a normal daily volume of 1.8 million. To make sure the packages get delivered, UPS will add hundreds of flights in Louisville and around the country.
UPS said its Worldport already is “the largest most technologically advanced facility in our network.” Last year, the logistics giant added 45 truck doors, which increased the company’s ability to process incoming truck volume by 43 percent, to 100,000 packages per hour. The company also added 900 trailer staging positions on the southwest end of the airport.
UPS also announced a year ago that it would invest nearly $310 million in its Louisville package sorting facility through 2018, and create 300 jobs because of e-commerce growth and a need for more modern technology. —Boris Ladwig
UPS aircraft mechanics authorize strike
Speaking of UPS: The company’s aircraft mechanics and other maintenance have authorized a strike, but a company official dismissed the action as a “symbolic gesture.”
The Teamsters Local 2727 and UPS have negotiated for about three years and have been working with a mediator for seven months. Health insurance for early retirees remains a major sticking point.
The union, which represents about 1,200 workers, including about 500 in Louisville, said this week that 98 percent of workers voted in favor of the strike authorization.
UPS spokesman Mike Mangeot told IL via email that the vote was a “symbolic gesture” and that contract talks would continue under the control of the National Mediation Board.
While the union said a UPS aircraft mechanics’ strike would halt the logistics giant’s shipping operation, Mangeot said that it would be “business as usual” at UPS during the holiday season.
Before the union can strike, the negotiator will have to release the parties, and the NMB will have to recommend that a strike be initiated. That process will take at least 30 days.
Tim Boyle, president of Local 2727, told IL last month that he blamed the impasse on the company’s plan to drastically increase prices on critical health care benefit. Some of the mechanics, after working 25 years around aircraft, suffer significant injuries from repeated lifting of tires to the point that their shoulders, backs and other joints leave them unable to continue to work, Boyle said. Others suffer hearing loss because of the noise around planes.
When those union members retire early, they need health insurance to bridge their health care until age 65, when they become eligible for Medicare, the government health insurance for older Americans. Union members have had that health insurance bridge benefit since 1988, and have made concessions over the years to keep it, Boyle said.
Today, that insurance benefit costs a union member and his dependents about $3,700 per year, Boyle said. The company wants to raise the price to an annual $19,401.
The union also is asking for higher pay. Wages for mechanics start at about $21.63 and reach their maximum, $50.31, in the fifth year. Boyle said FedEx pays its mechanics about $56 at the high end, and the Teamsters want UPS to pay competitive wages.
Mangeot said that UPS aircraft mechanics earn $105,000 per year, among the highest wages in commercial aviation. And, he said, Local 2727 members get comprehensive health insurance free, a benefit that costs the typical U.S. family about $4,800.
Mangeot said that contract negotiations in the airline industry often take many years because of the complexity of the Railway Labor Act, the federal law that governs airline contract talks. —Boris Ladwig