Day: May 29, 2016

76 years ago today: lunch and dinner for under $1

CJ May 29 1940 larger

The Seelbach Hotel‘s Derby Room was advertising two Wednesday specials in The Courier-Journal 76 years ago today.

  • Lunch: veal loaf, pounded tomatoes, julienne potatoes, new peas, rolls and butter, plus coffee, tea, or milk for 35 cents.
  • Dinner: soup du jour or tomato juice, roast fresh pork ham, apple fritter, baked sweet potato, carrots and peas, rolls, butter, chiffonade salad, ice cream or jello, plus coffee, tea, or milk for 65 cents.

But wait, there was more: old “fashions” for 30 cents, and Seelbach spaghetti, 40 cents.

Fast-forward to today, and here’s what those prices would look like, adjusted for inflation: Lunch would cost $5.95, and dinner, $11.05. (But probably not at any of the Seelbach’s current restaurants.)

Related: use this inflation calculator from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to compare prices going back to 1913.

$1.7B deal to sell Middle East Hut-KFC franchiser collapses

A news summary, focused on on big employers; updated 1:31 p.m.

YUM: A proposed $1.7 billion deal to sell a majority stake in the Middle Eastern franchise rights-owner of Pizza Hut and KFC to a local group of businessmen has been scrapped. Kuwait Food Co. had been up for sale for years, but talks to sell failed amid a diminished appetite for large transactions in a region where low oil prices have dented investors’ confidence (Wall Street Journal).

GE logoGE picked Boston for its new headquarters, but not before the border state of Rhode Island made its case by comparing itself favorably on labor costs. The average R.I. tech worker makes $93,000 per year vs. $109,000 in Massachusetts, state officials said. Gov. Gina Raimondo told The Providence Journal that the state’s final offer to GE was more than $100 million and “competitive” with the Massachusetts package. Providence and New York City were among the finalists before GE chose Boston in January. (Boston Globe).

In other news, over the past four years, the Louisville police have logged more than 9,200 calls for service from six area Walmarts, 33% more than the next-highest location, seven area Kroger stores (WDRB).

In Brown-Forman’s first family, an exceptional tale of beating the odds for 150 years

Boulevard focuses on news about some of Louisville’s biggest employers, nonprofits, and cultural institutions. This is one in an occasional series about them.

The spirits and wine company best known for its Jack Daniel’s, Old Forrester and Korbel brands is one of Louisville’s most storied companies. George Garvin Brown, a young pharmaceuticals salesman, started it in 1870 with $5,500* in saved and borrowed money.

Nearly 150 years later, his fifth-generation descendants sit on the board of directors, which George Garvin Brown IV chairs. And the company employs 4,000 people worldwide, with 1,000 in the Louisville area at the headquarters at 840 Dixie Highway and elsewhere.

Garvin Brown IV
Garvin Brown IV

The Browns control the company through their majority ownership of the voting Class A shares — a stake worth more than $10 billion, making them America’s 20th most-wealthy family, according to Forbes magazine. The Browns and the company are major supporters of Louisville cultural institutions, including the Speed Art MuseumFrazier Museum, and Actors Theatre.

The family’s hold on Brown-Forman is exceptionally rare in American business. More than 30% of all family-owned companies survive into the second generation, according to the Family Business Alliance. But the numbers dwindle rapidly after that: Just 12% make it to the third generation, and a slim 3% survive to the fourth and beyond. With the ascension of three new fifth-generation Browns to the board of directors Thursday, Brown-Forman is now firmly in fifth-generation hands.

To be sure, there are other resilient families. Just last month, Walmart announced a third generation member — Helen and Sam Walton’s grandson, Steuart Walton — was joining the board. The Mars family still owns their candy company, 105 years later. And the Sulzbergers are grooming a fourth generation to run The New York Times.

But other clans are struggling: The Redstones are now embroiled in a jaw-dropping battle over a $40 billion empire that includes Viacom and CBS. A family fight over the future of the Al Schneider real estate fortune has pit sisters against sisters. And we all know about the collapse of the Bingham family’s media holdings amid third-generation infighting in the 1980s.

In Thursday’s reshuffling of the board room, the Browns hope to avoid that fate.

At the Brown, follow royalty’s footsteps (Hollywood and real) for $900 a night

An occasional look at premium travel from Louisville.

The gilded lobby.

The historic 93-year-old Brown Hotel, now undergoing a $750,000 event-space addition to its rooftop, has hosted a glittering array of royal guests of all stripes over the years, including:

Presidential: Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter, George H. Bush, and Barack Obama.

Hollywood: Elizabeth Taylor (photo, above); plus Robert Young, Joan Crawford, Al Jolson and Victor Mature (who worked briefly there as an elevator operator).

The real deal: Queen Marie of Romania was entertained there in 1926 in the Crystal Ballroom, complete with a gold throne on a dais. And the Duke of Windsor, who scandalously gave up the British throne to marry the America divorcée, Wallis Warfield Simpson.

Where: 335 West Broadway St., at Fourth. How much: the top-of-the-line Muhammad Ali Suite can be yours for $900 a night. Reservations.

Related: For more “staycation” options, Airbnb lists more than 300 homes and apartments in the Louisville area starting at $900 a night. Here’s The New York Times’s Louisville travel page, including this just published update to its “36 Hours in Louisville” guide. Don’t forget the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, and TripAdvisor’s recommendations.

Plus, a bonus related! All the latest British royals news from Vanity Fair magazine.

WFPL’s Louisville Public Media announces $7 million capital campaign

Louisvillel Public Media building
Louisville Public Media’s headquarters.

Money raised by the Raise Your Voice campaign will go toward renovating the non-profit’s headquarters and studios at 619 S. Fourth St. in Louisville; technology upgrades, and programming improvements. The building was last remodeled 20 years ago. The campaign has already raised $5.3 million. Here’s the press release.

The campaign committee’s co-chairs are District 8 councilman-elect Brandon Coan and his wife, Summer Auerbach, who manages the Rainbow Blossom natural foods company started by her parents, Rob and Pumpkin Auerbach. The other co-chairs are philanthropist and former Brown-Forman executive Bill Juckett and his wife Barbara Juckett. Other committee members are Tyler Allen, Charlie Barnsley, Todd Lowe, Ron Murphy, Ben Ruiz, Lee Smith and Peter Wayne. Naming rights range from $250 for a coffee station to $500,000 for an entire studio.

Founded in 1950, Louisville Public Media also is the parent of Classical 90.5 WUOL and alternative music station 91.9 WFPK Radio Louisville.