Tag: Highlands

Papa John’s shares at new 52-week high; UPS forecasts 2,500 seasonal workers for 2016 holiday shipping; and 21c Museum Hotel in $250M deal with JP Morgan unit

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 4:34 p.m.

PAPA JOHN’S stock traded at a new 52-week high, $78.49, today before easing back to close at $78.26, up 49 cents. The stock’s all-time trading high was $79.40, on July 13, 2015 (Google Finance). Papa John’s founder and CEO John Schnatter is the pizza chain’s single-biggest stockholder, with about 10.5 million shares, including options — a stake worth $822 million at today’s closing price.

UPS plans to hire about 2,500 seasonal workers in Louisville to handle extra business during the holiday shipping period that begins in November and extends through January. The full- and part-time seasonal positions — primarily package handlers, drivers and driver-helpers — are among 95,000 seasonal workers overall the shipper plans to take on. Seasonal jobs have long been an entry for permanent ones at the company; from the 2012 through 2014 holiday seasons, more than 37% of those hired for seasonal package handler jobs were later hired in a permanent position when the holidays were over, the company says. UPS is the single-biggest private employer in Louisville, with about 22,000 workers at its hub at Louisville International Airport. Around the world, the company has 440,000 employees  (press release and Courier-Journal). More about UPS.


FORD will move all the company’s small-car production to lower-cost Mexico over the next two to three years, CEO Mark Fields told an investor conference yesterday. The automaker produces its Fiesta subcompact in Mexico, but its Focus and C-Max small cars are made in suburban Detroit. The company is building a $1.6-billion assembly plant in Mexico’s San Luis Potosi, and plans to make small cars there starting in 2018 (Los Angeles Times). In Louisville, Ford employs nearly 10,000 workers at truck and auto assembly factories.

In other news, 21c Museum Hotel has sold a minority interest to a real estate investment unit of J.P. Morgan Private Bank. Under the deal, Junius Real Estate Partners will invest up to $250 million in the Louisville-based boutique chain toward building or acquiring new hotel properties.

Rendering of Nashville site.

Their first joint venture will be a 21c Museum Hotel Nashville in the historic downtown Gray & Dudley Building; it’s expected to open in the first half of next year with 124 hotel rooms, more than 10,500 square feet of museum and event space and five rooftop-level rooms, including two suites, with private terraces. 21c will manage the property and have joint ownership.

Launched in 2006 by Continue reading “Papa John’s shares at new 52-week high; UPS forecasts 2,500 seasonal workers for 2016 holiday shipping; and 21c Museum Hotel in $250M deal with JP Morgan unit”

As Louisville’s grocery industry shifts, bare shelves at the Highlands ValuMarket aren’t as ominous as they appear

Empty shelves 1
5:15 p.m. Tuesday, ValuMarket in the Highlands.

By Jim Hopkins
Boulevard Publisher

Updated at 3:15 p.m.

The ValuMarket at Mid-City Mall on Bardstown Road is a Highlands mainstay and one of only three traditional supermarkets in one of the city’s most affluent, foodie-centric neighborhoods. So, it’s been unsettling to see the shelves looking increasingly bare in recent days, with more discount tags than usual.

But James Neumann, whose family owns the small chain, has just assured me the store is simply being reorganized to create more aisle space around the perimeter so it’s easier to navigate with shopping carts, a redesign coming to ValuMarket’s three other locations.

ValuMarket logoAt my suggestion, Neumann said he would ask the store to post signs telling customers what’s going on.

ValuMarket’s forlorn looks come less than two months after the Neumanns announced plans to shutter the Hurstbourne Plaza outlet on Hurstbourne Parkway at Shelbyville Road. The chain gave up the lease when the shopping center’s owners decided to redevelop the site without a grocery store, according to The Courier-Journal. The Neumanns also cited “tightening economics and a shift in local shopping habits.” The Hurstbourne store, there since 1982, had been on a year-to-year lease since the 2008 financial crisis.

Supermarket profit margins are notoriously razor-thin — 1.5%, according to the FMI trade group — and shifting competition only adds pressure. Costco is opening a mammoth warehouse store near the end of this month in the 3400 block of Bardstown Road just south of the Watterson Expressway. The $300 million Omni Hotel project downtown will include a grocery store when it opens in spring 2018. Developer Kevin Cogan is planning a huge hotel-apartment complex at Grinstead and Lexington roads, with 50,000 square feet of retail space; it’s still in the very early planning stage.

Fresh ThymeFresh Thyme is already planning a second location as an anchor tenant in the proposed Bardstown Pavilion center in Fern Creek, a project city planners are reviewing; the Chicago-based chain opened its first store last spring in St. Matthews on Shelbyville Road. On the other hand, the Kroger-occupied property in SoBro was recently put up for sale, raising questions about the store’s future. And it’s anyone’s guess whether Amazon Fresh grocery delivery will ever come to the area.

In the Highlands, ValuMarket’s other chief general merchandising competitors are two Krogers, one on Goss Avenue, the other on Bardstown Road near Taylorsville Road. To be sure, there’s a Rainbow Blossom natural foods store at Gardiner Lane Shopping Center. But you won’t find Tide detergent, Kellogg’s cornflakes, and other popular consumer basics there. And Rainbow’s prices are out of reach for many young and elderly shoppers on a budget.

Winn-Dixie store
Winn-Dixie soon after mall opened in early 1960s.

ValuMarket is at least the third supermarket at the nearly 60-year-old Mid-City Mall, which this year completed a $1 million renovation of the facade that took far longer than planned, hurting tenants during the all-important holiday shopping period.

It’s unclear when the Highlands store opened, although it appears to be around 2005. The previous tenant, Buehler’s Market, lasted a year after it replaced a Winn-Dixie that closed when that chain pulled out of the Louisville market in 2004, according to Wikipedia.

After the Hurstbourne store shuttered, ValuMarket was left with just four other locations: Mount Washington; Outer Loop Plaza; Iroquois Manor and the Highlands. A sister store, First Choice Market, serves West Louisville on Wilson Avenue in Park DuValle. ValuMarket employed 450 workers when the Hurstbourne store closing was announced; about a third of them were full-time. The Hurstbourne store employed 67, according to the CJ.

Mid-City tenants took a financial hit when the mall’s renovation dragged on after asbestos was discovered in the roof, delaying completion until past the holidays. “It’s been a disaster to my tenants,” majority owner Sandy Metts told Louisville Magazine in the June issue. Metts, whose family bought the Bardstown Road property in 1976, had to reduce rent, and plans for renovating the Baxter Street side were put on are hold.

Empty shelves 2
Employees say ValuMarket’s empty shelves are due to a store redesign underway.

Walmart’s $3B Jet buy hurting Amazon? (Wall Street says nope); a Humana DOJ loss could be Louisville’s gain; and Baxter Avenue Theatres plans big upgrades

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 4:28 p.m.

Amazon vs. Walmart
Amazon’s stock (blue) rose and Walmart’s stock (red) fell today on the Jet deal.

AMAZON: Walmart’s $3 billion bet on discounter Jet may reinvigorate growth in its online shopping business, which has slowed in recent quarters even as Amazon’s overall sales have rocketed above $100 billion annually (CNN). Wall Street’s not holding its breath; Amazon’s stock rose a smidge and Walmart’s fell a bit by the time trading closed at 4 p.m. ET (Google Finance).

Jet logoEarlier today, news emerged that Amazon’s office has been searched by Japan’s Fair Trade Commission over its dealings with merchants who sell goods through the retailer, a person with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg. The antitrust agency is looking into whether Amazon sought deals with sellers that gave it more favorable conditions over other e-commerce companies in one of its biggest foreign markets. It wasn’t immediately clear when the JFTC inquiry took place (Bloomberg).

The retailer’s shipping costs are skyrocketing, underscoring why it just unveiled its first branded Prime Air cargo plane. Amazon’s shipping expenses soared 43% vs. a year ago during the first half of the year. In 2013-2015, those costs were rising 29% to 32% annually. This year, it’s already on track to spend nearly $6 billion on shipping.

Amazon logo“Bottom line,” says ZD Net, “Amazon has no choice but to become more efficient than UPS and FedEx. If Amazon can use its own air fleet to even come close to its shipping vendors, it’ll potentially save billions of dollars simply by cutting out the middleman.”

Here’s a time-lapse video showing the new Prime Air Boeing 767 being readied for its debut this weekend at the annual Seafair air show in its corporate hometown of Seattle; more news coverage about Prime Air.

Amazon and UPS are both big employers in the Louisville area; UPS has 22,000 workers at its Louisville International Airport hub, and Amazon employs 6,000 at distribution centers in Jeffersonville and Shephardsville.

KINDRED has just filed its detailed quarterly 10-Q report with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The hospital and nursing giant reported strong earnings on Thursday (SEC document).

HUMANA could lose its Justice Department battle to win approval for the insurer’s proposed $37 billion merger with Aetna, but Louisville’s economy could wind up a winner — if the history of GE Appliances’ auction is a guide (WDRB).

In other news, the Baxter Avenue Theatres is adding powered reclining chairs and a full bar to the seven-screen Highlands complex at Mid-City Mall, an approximately $500,000 upgrade that will start in October (Insider Louisville).

Taco Bell’s new Cheetos burrito looks like ‘Donald Trump exploded’; Jack’s Chris Fletcher recalls distillery as a ‘magical place’; and why Goldman downgraded Ford shares

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 1:29 p.m.

The new $1 sandwich will be tested in Cincinnati next month.

More than two weeks before Taco Bell even starts testing a new Cheetos-stuffed burrito in Cincinnati, social media is having a field day — and handing the Yum division a public relations bonanza. Attorney Marcy Wagman Rauer told Huffington Post the $1 sandwich looks like “Donald Trump exploded.” And everyone was retweeting San Diego musician Danny Ellis’ marijuana-inspired conclusion that it looks  “like a stoner’s dream date with death.” The chain had tested the “Cheetos Crunchwrap Slider” earlier this year in Canada, but this is the first time the snack’s being used on its menu in the U.S. (Huffington Post).

Cheetos and Trump
A hairy comparison?

In the Ohio test market, the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Ben Goldschmidt says to forget the November elections. “Sure,” he wrote yesterday, “we’re in a swing county in a swing state in a bonkers election year, but . . . we will decide for the nation if the cheesy powder of Cheetos successfully meshed with molten queso, or if it’s just an uninspiring, soggy lump in a burrito.” Much more news coverage.

Sadly, Taco Bell ranks only fourth of 10 places for potheads with the munchies, according to Stoner Days. The line-up:

  1. In-N-Out
  2. Del Taco
  3. Jack in the Box
  4. Taco Bell
  5. McDonald’s
  6. Burger King
  7. Arby’s
  8. Starbucks
  9. Chipotle
  10. Subway

Road warriors take note: Google says there are 10 Taco Bells in Cincinnati.

Taco Bells Cincy map

To be sure, it wasn’t all good news yesterday for the Yum division. In California, Taco Bell is investigating reports employees taunted a Bakersfield police officer Thursday night by making “oink, oink” sounds and laughing at the cop in the drive-thru. “Taco Bell does not tolerate discrimination in any way,” the company told 23 ABC. “We are deeply appreciative of the men and women who have taken the oath to serve and protect our communities” (23 ABC).

The chain is still smarting from an incident two weeks ago in Alabama, where a cashier refused to serve two sheriff’s deputies; the chain apologized and fired the employee, but not before it was slammed across the Internet.

Chris Fletcher

BROWN-FORMAN: Jack Daniel’s assistant master distiller Chris Fletcher remembers long weekends walking through Continue reading “Taco Bell’s new Cheetos burrito looks like ‘Donald Trump exploded’; Jack’s Chris Fletcher recalls distillery as a ‘magical place’; and why Goldman downgraded Ford shares”

The only $345 men’s swim shorts you’ll need this summer at Lakeside Swim Club. (Unless you want to spend $595)

Boulevard is always on the prowl for cool, locally available products that set Louisville apart. But every now and then, we run across an item so achingly beautiful, we break my solo-local rule. For the first time, here’s one:

British clothing company Orlebar Brown’s signature Bulldog mid-length swim shorts. They’re the latest in a collection based on society photographer Slim Aarons‘ pool photos taken in the 1960s and ’70s in Palm Beach, the Riviera, and other resorts made famous by that era’s jet-setters. (Keep reading for more about Aarons.) This pair is from a 1975 photo of the Princess Hotel in Acapulco. It’s $345, not including sales tax.

Each pair is individual, and expertly mapped to work 360° around in extraordinary detail, as you can see in this side view:

Bulldog 2 side

Although I like this model best, there are plenty more to choose from.

About the designer
Adam Brown

Photographer Adam Brown launched Orlebar in London in 2007. It got a big publicity boost in 2012, when producers of that year’s James Bond film Skyfall confirmed star Daniel Craig was wearing Orlebar poolside. You can’t buy any of the company’s clothes locally, unfortunately; the closest retailer is in Birmingham, Ala. (Weird, yes.) Of course, you can mail-order direct from the company.

But here’s what’s truly handy: the lovely Lakeside Swim Club in the Highlands’ Belknap neighborhood. It’s open to members and their guests all summer until 9 p.m.; opening times vary. Operating hours.

Lakeside opened in 1924 at the site of a former rock quarry, according to Wikipedia. It’s known for its steep, 40-foot rock walls and huge quarry “lake” — actually, a 3.2 million gallon swimming pool, with a flat concrete bottom and depths ranging from 3-20 feet:

Looking northwest across Lakeside’s main pool.
About Aarons
$59 at Amazon.

He published his photographs in Town & Country and other society shiny sheets, as well as a series of books. He died in 2006 at 89, following a career made out of what he called “photographing attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places.”

Now, if you think your pool photos are even better than Aarons’, Orlebar let’s you design your own suit based on a photo you supply via the company’s #snapshorts app from the Apple and Google Play app stores. But it’ll cost you $595!

Catch 007 wearing Orlebar:

Amazon sweetens Prime Day with extra-speedy delivery; no criminal charges in Edsel Ford II’s domestic violence arrest; and KFC India says ‘friendship utni kamal ki hoti hai!’

A news summary, focused on 10 big employers; updated 10:01 a.m.

AMAZON customers in more than 25 U.S. metro areas will be able to get near-immediate delivery of more than 500 items during the e-commerce giant’s second annual Prime Day, a 24-hour extravaganza of extra savings over the retailer’s usual discounts set for July 12. Louisville isn’t one of the eligible cities; the closest is Cincinnati. 😦 Amazon also announced yesterday that first-time Prime Now customers will get $10 off their order when they use the 10PRIMENOW promotional code on orders placed between today and July 12. They will also receive another code later for another $10 off Prime Orders placed later in the month (Cnet and press release).

Prime Day is a big deal in Louisville. The retailer employs 6,000 workers in the Louisville area at mammoth distribution centers in Jeffersonville, and in Bullitt County’s Shepherdsville. Plus, one of Amazon’s biggest shippers is UPS; with 22,000 workers at its Louisville International Airport hub, it’s the city’s single-biggest private employer.

FORD family scion and director Edsel Ford II won’t face criminal charges after being arrested for suspected misdemeanor domestic violence involving his wife Monday night at their Grosse Point Farms home, according to several news media reports this morning. 

Edsel Ford II
Edsel Ford

Ford, 67, great-grandson of founder Henry Ford, spent the night in jail after his arrest, but was released yesterday after the city prosecutor’s decision to not bring charges, according to the Detroit Free Press. He was arrested at about 11:30 p.m. Monday after police were called to the suburban Detroit home he shares with wife Cynthia Ford; alcohol was involved.

Late last night, Cynthia Ford issued a statement denying the incident amounted to domestic violence. “I stand behind true victims of domestic violence and I am not one of them,” she said, the Free Press said in a separate story. “My husband and I ask that you respect our privacy and that of our family. We are working in the right direction to heal from this experience and move forward.”

Continue reading “Amazon sweetens Prime Day with extra-speedy delivery; no criminal charges in Edsel Ford II’s domestic violence arrest; and KFC India says ‘friendship utni kamal ki hoti hai!’”