Haier completed its $5.6 billion purchase of GE Appliances and its 6,000-employee Appliance Park in the south end in June. From baby boomers to millennials, the story of GE Appliances’ rise and decline is a tale of Louisville’s middle class.
By Jim Hopkins
The 1967 Summer of Love was in full sway: 100,000 visitors converged in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in bell-bottoms and tie-dyed tops to drop acid, protest the Vietnam war, and listen to Scott McKenzie‘s recording of “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” on transistor radios.
In Louisville 49 years ago today, The Courier-Journal captured the Zeitgeist in stories about that increasingly unpopular war on the other side of the globe; opposition to factory growth in the east end, plus air pollution and the perils of barbecuing. This was the news that Wednesday morning.
‘Bright and white’
Cmdr. Ed Lighter of Louisville, stationed on the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany off the coast of Vietnam, flew a Skyhawk in a successful bombing run on a North Vietnamese truck convoy. Lighter, 38, said the sortie used 800-lb. bombs to destroy eight trucks. “They burned bright and white,” Lighter said, “so we figured it was magnesium going up.”
Ford unveiled plans to spend as much as $100 million to build a new truck factory, even as a group of residents tried to raise $15,000 for a lawsuit to block it.
Non-farm July employment in the area rose to 297,000 — 200 more than in June, and 12,000 more than July 1966. The unemployment rate was 3.2%.
The Will Sales Optical shop at Fourth and Liberty and at the Bacon Shopping Center in Shively appealed to a different sort of hippies in an advertisement on page 16: “All the hep cats are talking about Will Sales Teen Scene glasses, and on credit, too!”
The weather forecast called for highs of 89 degrees as the CJ’s editorial board bemoaned the city’s polluted skies — and a new medical study about that all-American pastime: backyard grilling.
Stoking up the grill
“Just as we had finished reading about Louisville’s 16th-place finish in the air-pollution sweepstakes, came a weekend to put troubled minds at rest,” the unsigned editorial said. “The clear, azure skies and the moderate temperatures helped us forget the besmirched air, even those invisible gases and fly-ash particles floating around us. We stoked up the outdoor grill and watched in delight as the steak turned charcoal-colored. The repast that followed was a reward.
“But no! It wasn’t a reward at all, we learned the next morning. Continue reading “49 years ago today: in the Summer of Love, Vietnam came home to Louisville; dirty skies and risky steaks, and hep cats”
A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 1:01 p.m.
YUM: Two activist groups filed a shareholder proposal today requesting that fast-food giant Yum quickly phase out harmful antibiotic use in its meat supply, taking particular aim at the KFC unit’s nearly 15,000 restaurants, according to Reuters. The request from the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia and As You Sow of Oakland, Calif., say KFC lags rivals McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, Subway and Wendy’s in setting policies to curb routine use of antibiotics in chicken production.
In a statement issued after reports of the shareholder proposal, KFC said its “position on antibiotics is currently being reviewed to determine the viability for our suppliers to go beyond the FDA guidelines for antibiotic usage,” according to The Courier-Journal.
Yum’s 6,500-Taco Bell chain has agreed to stop using antibiotics for humans in its chicken supply early next year. The 14,000-unit Pizza Hut division has made a similar promise for pizza topping chicken. But KFC, which buys far more chicken than the other two brands, hasn’t budged (Reuters and Courier-Journal). Buy a boxing nun hand puppet at eBay for just $35.99 (auction listing).
BROWN-FORMAN named Marc Satterthwaite as new managing director for Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands, taking over from Michael McShane, who’s retiring Oct. 31 after 17 years with the company. Satterthwaite has held several leadership positions, including division director for the U.S. central states and Canada, director of North America Region sales operations, and as the interim country manager for India. Most recently, he’s been chief of staff to the U.S. commercial director (The Shout).
TEXAS ROADHOUSE competitor Logan’s Roadhouse — founded in Lexington in 1991 — has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware. The Nashville-based steakhouse chain said Monday in its petition that it will close 18 under-performing restaurants; it has 250 overall. Logan’s was easily confused with Louisville-based Texas Roadhouse because of their similar formats, including encouraging patrons eat buckets of free peanuts and drop the shells on the floor (Lexington Herald-Leader). Texas Roadhouse shares recently traded for $45.48, up 1.3%, or 59 cents.
AMAZON founder and CEO Jeff Bezos sold one million of his company shares last week, raising $757 million, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. That’s a record for Bezos, exceeding the $671 million he sold in May (Fortune). Amazon’s stock closed yesterday at $766.56, near its all-time high of $770.50 (Google Finance). Say yes to this dress: The retailer’s best-selling wedding gown is gorgeous and a bargain to boot: as little as $16, a steal when the average bridal dress costs $1,357 (Refinery 29). Amazon employs 6,000 workers at distribution centers in Jeffersonville and Shephardsville; more about its local operations.
GE: Twisting the knife in the back of all the cities that didn’t land GE’s new headquarters, the conglomerate has unveiled renderings of its planned, new, high-tech 2.4-acre corporate campus in Boston. The design shows a 12-story building with a giant, sail-like veil and GE logo on top. The former owner of GE Appliances is moving from Fairfield, Conn., its corporate home since 1974 (Boston Globe and Seattle Times).
GE sold GE Appliances to Haier for $5.6 billion in June. The maker of refrigerators, dish washers and other “white goods” employs 6,000 workers in Louisville’s Appliance Park.