The Closing Bell: NuLu church to house apartments, commercial space; source says Anthem deal in trouble; Brexit lowers value of local companies by billions; and more
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.
Apartments, commercial space planned for NuLu church
The former church at 218 S. Clay St. in NuLu is slated to become apartments and commercial space.
A company called The Holy Goat — a reference to the church and nearby Nanny Goat Strut and Billy Goat Strut Alley — bought the property for $500,000 in January from former owner William Marzian. According to Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government documents, Brooklyn-based Creighton Mershon owns The Holy Goat.
He also is a partner at a graphic design company called Workshop in Brooklyn. The company has completed branding, web design, information graphics, illustration and motion graphics for organizations including Google, UNICEF, Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls and the New York Philharmonic. He is co-founder of an event called Brooklyn Derby, basically a New York City Kentucky Derby party, as well.
It seems as though Mershon and his wife/Workshop co-founder Jessi Arrington are looking to spend some more time in Louisville. The couple plans to renovate the Clay Street church and divide the 6,300 square feet into one owner-occupied apartment, two 1,200-square-foot apartments, one 400-square-foot apartment and two commercial spaces, according to documents filed with the city.
Renovation work includes repainting selected sections of the brick exterior, restoring the original wood and replacing the non-original windows with something similar to the original, the documents state.
Work Architecture + Design is drawing up plans for the renovation, and Marian Development Group is the general contractor. Mitchell Kersting, partner and co-founder of Work Architecture, said he couldn’t talk about the project just yet because they are still finalizing the design. —Caitlin Bowling
Source: Anthem-Cigna deal in trouble
The planned Cigna acquisition by Anthem is on life support, according to an anonymous source cited by Bloomberg.
“The Justice Department has told Anthem Inc. that the health insurer’s planned takeover of Cigna Corp. threatens competition and probably can’t be fixed by selling parts of their businesses, according to a person familiar with the matter,” Bloomberg reported Wednesday night.
The DoJ is investigating whether mergers among four of the five largest health insurance companies — Aetna also wants to buy Louisville-based Humana — will materially reduce competition, in which case the regulators might file suit to block the deals.
Bloomberg said that while the DoJ is willing to listen to proposals that Anthem and Cigna have to save the deal, the department’s skepticism “raises the likelihood that the U.S. will sue to block” the deal.
A person familiar with the matter told the news agency that the DoJ “is on track to make a decision by around mid-July.”
Investors of Anthem and Cigna — but also those of Humana — did not like the news.
Bloomberg posted the story after markets closed on Wednesday, and on Thursday morning, shares of Anthem, Cigna and Humana started sliding with the opening bell. On a day that saw the S&P 500 gain 1.36 percent, Anthem shares fell 0.11 percent, Cigna’s declined 0.65 percent, and Humana’s dropped more than 2 percent. According to investors, the big winner of the development is Aetna, which saw its shares rise 0.78 percent. —Boris Ladwig
Post-Brexit crash lowers value of local companies by $5 billion
Think Brexit doesn’t affect you? Have you looked at your retirement accounts? If you haven’t, you probably shouldn’t. It’s been pretty painful.
Reuters reported that within two days of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, the value of the UK-based FTSE100 stock market index fell by about $130 billion.
The value of local companies suffered, too.
The market capitalization of Humana, Brown-Forman and Yum! Brands, all based in Louisville, fell by a combined $5.2 billion. Thanks England and Wales!
The value of Yum’s outstanding shares dropped by nearly $2.8 billion from Thursday, the day before the vote, to Monday’s market close. Humana’s declined by $1.6 billion, and Brown-Forman’s by nearly $800 million (and that’s just the Class B shares).
Smaller companies, too, suffered: Kindred’s market cap fell by about $94 million, down about 9.5 percent. PharMerica’s declined by about $42 million.
The market cap of Ford Motor Co., which employs about 12,000 in Louisville, fell by $4.8 billion.
And while stocks have rebounded, the long-term damage remains unclear, with analysts telling Insider that market volatility likely will continue for months as the UK tries to figure out how to disentangle itself from the EU.
Doo Wop Shop opens new store for music lessons
A former comic book and gaming store now houses operations for the Doo Wop Shop.
A week after closing its Hurstbourne store, the Louisville music shop opened a new store in the Highlands. The Doo Wop Shop is hosting music lessons at 1950 Bonnycastle Ave., near its existing Bardstown Road store.
Owner Bill Himbaugh said the company signed an eight-year lease, started renovating the space in April and gave its first lesson earlier this week. The space was needed because the Bardstown Road store is too small for lessons, he said.
The Doo Wop Shop is currently offering a free month-long instrument rental with enrollment. Classes are taught by an experienced instructor with music degrees and individualized to the student’s needs, Himbaugh said. The space has a large group music room and six private lesson rooms.
Its instructors teach people how to play the bass, guitar, viola, piano, drums, ukulele, cello and woodwind instruments, among other instruments, according to the Doo Wop Shop’s website. People can call 502-456-5250 to check appointment availability.
The space now occupied by the Doo Wop Shop was formerly home to Role of the Die, which moved to 2902 Bardstown Road last year. Owner Michael Dennis said the new storefront offers the company better visibility along the busy road. —Caitlin Bowling
UPS, pilots reach tentative agreement on 5-year contract
UPS Airlines and its pilots union have reached a tentative agreement on a new five-year contract after years of tough negotiations that included threats of a strike last fall.
The parties announced the tentative agreement in a joint statement Thursday afternoon but declined to provide details until the Independent Pilots Association has shared the contract with all of its roughly 2,600 pilots. About 1,800 of the pilots are based in Louisville.
Contract talks began in 2011. Federal mediators have been helping since 2014. In October, UPS pilots voted overwhelmingly in favor of a strike, citing concerns over workload, compensation and benefits — though the company said the vote was symbolic and meant to put pressure on UPS during prolonged contract negotiations.
The parties said Thursday that the new proposal “provides for improvements across all sections of the contract.”
UPS is, by far, Louisville’s largest employer, with nearly 20,000 employees.
If the pilots approve the new contract, it would take effect Sept. 1.
IPA President Robert Travis said the agreement was unanimously approved by the union’s executive board and the negotiating committee.
“Over the next month, we will present it to our members with an unqualified recommendation for ratification,” Travis said.
UPS Airlines president Brendan Canavan said the company was pleased with the agreement.
“This contract rewards our crewmembers for their outstanding contributions and contains provisions that protect UPS’s ability to deliver competitive service to our global customers,” Canavan said. —Boris Ladwig
Southern Indiana coffee shop adding new location
Those who live on the Sunny Side are familiar with Coffee Crossing, the subtly Christian coffee shop that has slowly continued to grow in Southern Indiana.
The company is adding its third location along Grant Line Road in New Albany, according to a social media post. The new store will be located near University Commons, a student apartment complex adjacent to Indiana University Southeast that is still under construction.
Owner Allan Butts started Coffee Crossing with a single shop on Charlestown Road in New Albany. Last year, he opened his second store at River Ridge Commerce Center in Jeffersonville. The new Grant Line Coffee Crossing is expected to open sometime this fall.
Jeffersonville-based ARC Construction Management has designed and will build the new Coffee Crossing. The company also is working on University Commons. —Caitlin Bowling
Downtown road closings for Fourth of July celebrations
Workers driving home Friday evening may need to adjust their route as a few roads downtown will be closed this weekend.
Starting at 11 a.m., two primary downtown roads will close, reopening again on Sunday, July 3. Jefferson Street between Fifth and Third streets and Fourth Street between Jefferson and Market streets will be blocked off following morning rush hour.
The closures will accommodate various events taking place downtown this weekend, including the two-day “Derby City Jazz Festival,” the First Friday Trolley Hop sponsored by Republic Bank, and the Fourth of July activities hosted Sunday at Waterfront Park, according to the Louisville Downtown Partnership.
In addition, Third Street between Jefferson and Market streets will close at 6 a.m. on Sunday, July 3, and won’t reopen until 6 a.m. July 8. That will accommodate the Evangelical Free Church of America Convention, which LDP said will have a significant economic impact on the city.
For updates on traffic and road closures, click here. —Caitlin Bowling
Americans expected to spend $6.77 billion on food this Fourth of July
Nowadays, the Fourth of July holiday weekend is just as much about food as it is fireworks. After all, America’s Independence Day has become more about consuming and president Bill Pullman than freedom and liberty.
Americans are expected to spend $6.77 billion on food alone for the Fourth of July, according to information from WalletHub, a personal finance management website. Nearly 65 percent of U.S. citizens will attend a July 4 party, where they will consume an estimated 150 million hot dogs.
Locally, grocery stores have been stocking up on everything barbecue-related in preparation for the three-day weekend.
At Kroger’s Louisville division stores, grocery merchandiser Vickie Oliver said the company will see the sale of some items spike 20 percent and others jump as much as 500 percent or 600 percent around this time.
One of the biggest sellers is hydration items such as bottled water and sports drinks, Oliver told Insider Louisville.
“It’s like you need everything you can get in the house,” she said. “We send out truck loads of just hydration items.”
WalletHub noted that July 4 is the biggest beer-drinking holiday of the year. And while Budweiser may pander to American consumers year-round with its American flag can, Oliver said all different brands of beers sell well leading up to the holiday.
“You’ve got your craft beer consumer, but you’ve got Buds and Coors and the Miller. Those are all big brands of course, but you always got the craft consumer that is looking for something new,” she said, adding that Kroger also sees a jump in wine sales.
Other items that sell well for Kroger ahead and during Fourth of July weekend include hot dogs, ground beef, steaks, ribs, chicken, watermelon, corn, chips and dips, ice cream, apple pie, any kind of cheese, buns, sun tan lotion, charcoal and patio furniture.
“People have cookouts and all the sudden, they want to spruce up their patios,” Oliver said.
Another local business is warning people to stay safe while shooting off fireworks this year. According to WalletHub, more than $324 million worth of fireworks are imported to the United States from China each year, many of which are used at one of 15,000 estimated fireworks shows each Fourth of July.
Each year, seven people die from firework-related incidents and 690 go to the emergency room with fireworks-related injuries on July 4. (Though presumably some individuals wait a day or two.)
“For those who choose to keep the fireworks at home, be sure to wear protective eyewear. This includes both those handling the fireworks and bystanders. Everybody is familiar with the saying “go big or go home,” however, safety is more important especially with children involved,” Dr. Mark Lynn, who owns more than 85 Visionworks locations in the region, said in a news release.
Should something go wrong and someone nearly shots their eye out, Lynn advises that people not rinse, rub or apply pressure to an eye injury. Don’t try to remove objects possibly stuck in the eye, which can cause further damage and sightlessness, and seek immediate medical attention. —Caitlin Bowling
CompleteSet joins Techstars Chicago
Gary Darna, CEO of CompleteSet, has announced that the company has been invited to Techstars Chicago, a top-ranked national accelerator program. The accelerator also gave the company $120,000 in investment capital. Prior to acceptance, the company launched its online marketplace and added Brian Powell as Chief Technology Officer.
CompleteSet allows users to archive pop culture collectibles, share them, and buy and sell them. While CompleteSet hails from Cincy, we’re going to claim them anyway, as the company graduated from the now-defunct Velocity accelerator.
“Being accepted to Techstars Chicago is a terrific milestone for us on our mission to archive the world’s collectibles.” Darna said in a news release, adding that it wasn’t the first time he had applied to the program.
CompleteSet raised $1.1 million from investors in Louisville and Cincinnati including Cincytech, Connetic Ventures, and KTECH Capital. The company has nine full-time employees at its Over-The-Rhine headquarters. —Melissa Chipman
Hex Head Art moves to Bluegrass Industrial Park
Industrial art manufacturer Hex Head Art has moved to Louisville’s Bluegrass Industrial Park to accommodate the space needs of the growing business. Hex Head makes steel wall art and can do custom corporate work as well.
But it’s their collegiate business that’s really taking off — logos and mascots cut from steel, perfect for any man cave.
“Our Collegiate Art products have really taken off. We started with just a few schools, and we were so inundated with orders for existing items and requests for other schools, that we quickly realized we would need more space and equipment. This move will help us not only complete orders faster, but will give us room to expand our product line.” the owners/artists Jamie Watts and Cory Lay said in a news release.
They started with two collegiate licenses in 2014 and plan to have over 30 by the end of 2016.
The new space will be open to the public. They also make military signs and professional sports team signs. —Melissa Chipman