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.

Turning Point Brands shares tumble on third-quarter results

Shares of Louisville-based Turning Point Brands fell 11 percent Wednesday after the tobacco products company reported poorer-than-expected third-quarter results.

Net sales, at $83.3 million, were up 13.6 percent from a year earlier, but the cost of sales jumped 16.8 percent. The company incurred higher selling, general and administrative expenses, primarily because of costs related to two acquisitions. Gross profit rose nearly 10 percent, to $36.2 million.

Consolidated net income, at nearly $8 million, was up 7.9 percent but would have fallen if not for much lower income tax expenses, which fell by nearly 54 percent.

Shares on Wednesday closed at $37.33, down 11 percent but recovered some of that loss on Thursday. In late afternoon trading Thursday, Turning Point Brands shares were up nearly 3 percent.

The company’s NewGen products segment, which includes vaping products, saw sales rising 33.1 percent, to a record $33.5 million. The smoking products unit generated sales of $28.1 million, up 4.5 percent, and the smokeless products segment reported sales of $21.7 million, up 2.1 percent.

President and CEO Larry Wexler said in a news release that the sales growth in all three segments demonstrated “the continuing success of our focus brands.” —Boris Ladwig

New affordable housing development accepting resident applications

Bristol Bluffs is located southeastern Jefferson County. | Courtesy of LDG Development

Louisville-based affordable housing developer LDG Development cut the ribbon on its latest apartment complex, Bristol Bluffs, this week and expects to move the first residents in later this month.

Bristol Bluff is a $35 million, 216-unit apartment complex located at 6203 Gellhaus Lane between Billtown and Chenoweth Run roads. The development including a clubhouse with free Wi-Fi, a community center, computer lab, a playground and on-site financial, education and career sessions through a partnership with the Louisville Urban League.

The units are two and three bedrooms, anywhere from 1,072 square feet to 1,185 square feet, and its rental rates range from $849 to $1,199 per month depending on whether they are affordable apartments or market rate. The complex includes 42 market-rate apartments.

The other units will be affordable to families earning no more than 60 percent to 80 percent of the area median income, or $42,900 to $57,200 annually for a family of four, according to LDG.

The project received $4 million from Louisville CARES and $500,000 loan from the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Chris Dischinger, co-founder of LDG Development, said that the company’s goal is to build affordable apartments throughout the city.

“Based on the community’s initial reaction to our plans, we know that there is an interest and a need for more affordable housing throughout the city,” said Dischinger. “Bristol Bluffs is an ideal location for families who want to be located close to their workplace, schools and other services they need to support an active lifestyle while achieving some of their long- and short-term goals.” —Caitlin Bowling

Women-only gym opening in St. Matthews Station

Ambition Fitness website

Sorry, guys, ladies only.

A new gym called Ambition Fitness will join a small group of Louisville area fitness centers that only allow women to become members when it opens on Dec. 1 in Suite 15 of St. Matthews Station, 3900 Shelbyville Road. Gyms like Ambition Fitness, Fit Lou Bootcamp and others aim to provide a place for women to feel comfortable while working out, as well as offering exercises specifically for women’s physiology.

“We deliver fat-torching, muscle-building workouts for total body conditioning, all in the privacy of our new state-of-the-art studio. Our workouts are backed by research-proven training methods that we have meticulously designed for the female body,” according to Ambition Fitness’s website.

Ambition Fitness offers classes around weight training with classes focusing on upper body, lower body, cardio, core and glutes. Membership levels range from $22 for a single class to $69 for four classes per month to $159 a month for unlimited classes. Memberships are month to month and include an initial activation fee of $15.

In other fitness news, Bella and Rick Kueber, who Insider recently reported are opening another Topp’t Pizza & Chopped Salad near the University of Louisville, are also opening a 15,000-square-foot Planet Fitness location in Gardiner Lane shopping center.

The space was formerly occupied by Rite Aid and Rocky’s Italian Grill. The target opening, Rick Kueber said, is early spring. —Caitlin Bowling

Access Ventures invests in game for drivers

Impact investment firm Access Ventures is known locally for investing in Louisville businesses and property, but it also funds new technology.

Most recently, it contributed an unnamed amount to a $4 million seed fund to launch a game for drivers, according to a news release. Don’t think Grand Theft Auto. The mobile application called Drivetime is entertainment specifically for people driving to and from work or on long road trips.

The application uses voice recognition to let drivers compete against family, friends and others in trivia during the drive while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, Drivetime’s description states. New trivia episodes are added daily and include categories such as music, literature, film, history and science.

“Our mission is to bring fun and laughter into the car through interactive social games, and with the capital we have raised and the partners we have rooting for us, we are very well-positioned to go after the blue ocean opportunity that is interactive entertainment in the car,” Niko Vuori, founder and CEO of Drivetime, said in a news release. —Caitlin Bowling

Center for Interfaith Relations announces Festival of Faiths 2019 theme

Next year’s annual Festival of Faiths conference will tackle the “Sacred Cosmos: Faith and Science,” the Center for Interfaith Relations announced Thursday evening.

“The festival will explore the rich vein of thoughts and practices where faith and science intersect and perhaps even where they serve together to help us comprehend the unfathomable,” Sarah Riggs Reed, managing director of the Center for Interfaith Relations, said in a news release. “Both disciplines apply rigor and intellect to try and answer the questions of how things work and how we, as a human species, relate to the cosmos.”

The event will take place April 25-27 at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts.  Passes for the 24th Festival of Faiths will go on sale early January 2019. —Caitlin Bowling

Gilda’s Club Louisville auction hopes to raise more than $500,000

One of the featured bottles in the collection

Gilda’s Club Louisville’s annual “Gilda’s Night” benefit will be held Friday, Nov. 9, at the Louisville Collegiate School, and organizers are hoping to make more than $500,000 with some high-end items like rare bourbon, vacations and private dinners by local chefs.

Since its start 14 years ago, “Gilda’s Night” has raised more than $5 million for cancer support.

One highly coveted auction item is available to anyone who wants to bid, regardless if they attend the actual event. It’s the entire 20-bottle collection of Woodford Reserve’s special Kentucky Derby releases, featuring unique artist-drawn images. Each bottle is signed by Master Distiller Chris Morris.

At the moment, the first bid is at $1,100. Click here if you’re interested in participating, or just watching to see how high it goes. —Sara Havens

In brief

Former JCPS Superintendent Don Ingwerson died of natural causes on Nov. 4, WHAS reported, at age 85. Ingwerson was superintendent for 12 years, from 1981 to 1993.



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