GE APPLIANCES workers were to vote yesterday to authorize a strike as contract talks grew more contentious. The move comes about two months after GE Appliances began negotiating a new labor contract with IUE-CWA Local 83761, which represents about 4,000 rank-and-file workers at Louisville’s Appliance Park (WDRB).
PAPA JOHN’S: A man in Omaha, Neb., worried because he couldn’t reach his grandmother in Florida after Hurricane Matthew, turned to Papa John’s to find out whether she was OK. Eric Olsen said his grandmother Claire Olsen’s phone wasn’t working, and cops in Palm Coast, Fla., were “overwhelmed” when he asked them to check on her. Who else could he call in a city where he didn’t know anyone? Papa John’s. He ordered a pizza to be delivered to her house with instructions for the driver to call him on arrival. Some 30 minutes later, the pizza was there he knew she was OK. Delivery driver Lance Tyler described Claire’s expression as “just priceless.” (For her part, Claire told WFTV the pepperoni pizza was “fantastic”) (Fox News).
BROWN-FORMAN has opened the second of three elaborate pop-up Jack Daniel’s-themed “general stores”as part of the company’s ongoing 150th anniversary promotions of the brand. The latest is in Chicago six days ending Oct.22 following a stop in New York City. Next up: Miami. The installation includes local barbers; a virtual reality tour of the distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn., daytime concerts, plus Southern cooking (The Drum). Jack is the No. 1 brand at Brown-Forman, which employs 1,300 workers in Louisville and another 3,300 worldwide.
When Brown-Forman stockholders gathered in July at the whiskey giant’s Georgian Revival headquarters west of downtown, the outcome of a crucial vote — re-electing 12 directors to the governing board — was anything but a surprise.
This has been the founding Brown family’s company for nearly 150 years. Six of the directors were Browns, including board Chairman George Garvin Brown IV — a great-great grandson of the founder — and the rest were unquestionably family loyalists.
Stockholders outside the family knew what Brown-Forman has disclosed for years in an annual statement soliciting their votes: 13 individual Browns and family groups hold 67% of all the voting shares in “a variety of family trusts and entities, with multiple family members often sharing voting control and investment power.”
Much less has been known about the scope of those entities, leaving more than 5,600 other stockholders in the dark about exactly how the Browns divvy up nearly $6 billion in shares among a core group of relatives.
But now, documents filed by the Browns with the Securities and Exchange Commission detail how complex their ownership has grown since the pharmaceuticals salesman George Garvin Brown founded the company in 1870. They shed light on how the Browns have deployed extensive trust accounts, business partnerships, and other legal vehicles to pass down Brown-Forman stock through six generations. That’s an exceptional legacy in American business: Just 12% of family-owned companies survive into the third generation, and a slim 3% survive to the fourth and beyond.
The documents also point to a network of boutique consulting firms and other white-shoe professionals advising the city’s wealthiest families on everything from investments to taxes and charitable giving, hiring housekeepers and gardeners — even organizing vacation travel and family gatherings. Paid tens of thousands of dollars a year in fees, the firms are the backbone of a larger, multibillion-dollar economy serving the area’s uber-rich.
KFC is looking for more bang for its bucks in a just-launched review of its U.S. spending for advertising and marketing across all channels, including print, broadcast, digital and social media. The review, which in theory could end with the chicken-chain keeping its current agency for the work — ad and marketing giant WPP’s MEC unit — doesn’t include creative work now being done by Wieden & Kennedy since 2015; that agency is responsible for the current campaign of rotating actors and comedians portraying a resurrected Colonel Harland Sanders. KFC’s U.S. division said it’s looking for an agency “capable of deploying innovative media strategies while leveraging cost efficiencies and maximizing return on investment” (AdAge). KFC just launched its latest Sanders TV commercials, featuring a fictional Kentucky Buckets pro football team.
PAPA JOHN’S has given up concession rights at Rupp Arena in Lexington starting this fall, and will be replaced by Hunt Brothers Pizza (Herald-Leader).
BROWN-FORMAN‘s Jack Daniel’s has unveiled a new version to celebrate its major birthday this year: Jack Daniel’s 150th Anniversary Whiskey, which is priced around $100 per one-liter bottle (The Whiskey Wash). Jack Daniel’s is the top seller among Brown-Forman’s 19 brands of spirits and wine.
UPS: Utah is giving UPS $5 million in tax incentives for the shipper’s plan to build a $200 million regional package operations center at a yet-to-be-determined site in the state that will create nearly 200 jobs (Salt Lake Tribune). UPS is the single-biggest private employer in Louisville, with 22,000 workers at it Louisville International Airport hub.
TEXAS ROADHOUSE is opening a Bubba’s 33 in east of Dallas in Mesquite as the Louisville-based steakhouse chain expands its new sports bar division. First launched in Fayetteville, N.C., in 2013, there are now a dozen Bubba’s locations, including outlets in Houston and Waco (Culture Map Dallas).
In other news: the University of Louisville board of trustees, escalating its battle with the independent UofL Foundation, today approved a threat to sue the foundation unless it accedes to demands to clean up its act. Board of Trustees Chairman Larry Benz said as many as 70 donors have called the university over the past few days to say they won’t give any more money unless the foundation shows that it is “clean” (Courier-Journal). Those donors’ threats followed similar ones last week by the James Graham Brown Foundation and the C.E. & S. Foundation led by Humana co-founder David A. Jones Sr.
PAPA JOHN’S CEO John Schnatter sold another 4,736 shares of company stock for $360,000, at around the same per-share price he’s been fetching since he began selling aggressively in early August: $76, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing this afternoon. The latest sale, which was on Friday, brought to $10.9 million his total proceeds over the past month (SEC document). Papa John’s PZZA stock closed at $75.96 a share today, up 21 cents.
PIZZA HUT: Private equity investor Allegro and three local fast-food management veterans are taking over Pizza Hut’s 250-unit master franchise in Australia; terms, including a price, haven’t been announced. Pizza Hut has about 10% of the $4 billion takeaway food market in Australia, according to industry analyst IBISWorld. The deal will “accelerate growth and deliver Pizza Hut to more consumers across Australia,” says outgoing Pizza Hut Australia General Manager Graeme Houston. Corporate parent Yum will retain its KFC outlets in the country (Business Insider). The deal is the latest foreign market shift for corporate parent Yum, which last week said it agreed to an advance sale of a $464 million slice of its China operations to a prominent Chinese deal maker and the financial affiliate of Chinese Internet giant Alibaba ahead of next month’s planned spinoff of the China Division.
KFC: In a U.K. court, a former 30-year-old KFC worker was spared jail time after admitting he stole $14,700 from a KFC franchise by processing thousands of fake customer coupons for popcorn chicken. For more than a year starting in January 2015 James Anderson of Basildon, 32 miles southwest of London, pretended to hand money back to customers for the $2.65 snacks, but pocketed the cash instead. He said he wanted the money to contribute to his upcoming wedding. Anderson’s supervisors became suspicious after noticing a high number of refunds being processed under his cash-register ID number (Halstead Gazette).
BROWN-FORMAN will inaugurate new, higher-profile free-standing exhibition space at this year’s TFWA World Exhibition & Conference next month in Cannes. The new Brown-Forman area is more than double the size of the Louisville spirits and wine giant’s former stand and has informal gathering space as well as a large number of meeting tables and four meeting rooms, said Marshall Farrer, vice president and managing director for global travel-retail. The company will join more than 3,000 other brands at the annual duty-free travel-retail meeting Oct. 2-7 at Canne’s Palais convention center (DFNI).
If Lawrence, 26, were a Kentucky county based on annual income, she’d be a brand new one — nudging back Owsley ($37 million total) and making Robertson ($24.6 million) a No. 121, according to the latest available Census data. Owsley (pop. 4,755) and Robertson (2,282) are in historically impoverished eastern Kentucky.
Here in Jefferson County, the actress’s $46 million paycheck is strikingly big from a different perspective.
Imagine everyone got paid once a year, and stood in line at the bank to deposit their paychecks at one of two teller windows. Lawrence could stand in a line all by herself to deposit one huge, oversized check, like you see in Publishers Clearing House TV commercials. And 1,738 other people earning the county average $26,473 a year would stand in one very long line for the other teller. It would take their combined earnings to equal Lawrence’s $46 million.
Today’s the Brown-Forman founder’s birthday. Born in Munfordville, Ky., on Sept. 2, 1846, Brown moved to Louisville in 1862, where he attended Male High School. He worked as a pharmaceuticals salesman until starting the future whiskey giant in 1870 with the original Old Forester brand, when he was 24 years old. Brown married Amelia Bryant Owsley in 1876, and they had two children, Owsley and Robinson. George died Jan. 24, 1917 and is buried in Cave Hill Cemetery.
His death at age 70 was front-page news the following day in The Courier-Journal: