The Closing Bell: New tool calculates local salary info; KFC taps Louisville-born Colonel; Vietnamese eatery opening soon; 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.

Career Calculator lets you check out jobs and salaries in Louisville

MoneyFor local Louisville students, job seekers and career changers exploring the job market, there’s now an online tool for that. Career Calculator lets you look up the latest jobs and salary information in the area.

The tool is the result of months of work by KentuckianaWorks’ Market Intelligence team. It lets you see how many jobs are available in a particular field or to a particular college major and gives you the average salary range for each.

That’s how I found out that in this region, philosophy majors make a little more than English majors. Who knew? English has fallen out of fashion — among my peers, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting an English major. Last year in Louisville, only 156 people graduated with an English degree.

If you want to make $100,000 a year, you should set your sights on being a financial manager; there are apparently 2,500 or more financial managers making that kind of scratch in the city.

The site uses Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics; Burning Glass online job postings; EMSI Analyst; Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics; O*NET Online; and U.S. Census Bureau PUMS data to update the site regularly. –-Melissa Chipman

China investor speaks to CNBC, deal could bump up Yum China’s stock price

A KFC store in Shenzhen, China | Wikimedia Commons

A new multi-million deal with two China investors may boost confidence in Yum’s ability to perform in China. | Wikimedia Commons

Following last Friday’s announcement that Louisville-based Yum Brands had finalized a $460 million deal to sell a stake its China operations, analysts have heralded it as a potential brand and stock booster.

The two Chinese companies buying shares in Yum China Holdings are prominent investment firm Primavera Capital Group and Ant Financial Services Group, which has ties to the popular eBay-like website Alibaba and runs an online payment platform called Alipay. Both will bring different expertise to the table that can help make Yum China more successful.

Two heavy hitters backing Yum China also could bolster confidence in the new company and result in a higher stock price when Yum China Holdings starts trading on the New York Stock Exchange in November, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

Yum decided to spin off its China operations following calls from activist investors to do so, a move that analysts have applauded given the challenges the company has faced in there. Yum has bounced back from avian flu scares and a food supplier scandal during the last several years, but is facing increased competition from China-born fast food and fast casual restaurants.

After the multimillion-dollar deal was announced, Yum’s stock price hit a high of $91.91 last Friday morning. However, the price has steadily declined this week. As of close Thursday, the company’s stock sat at $88.89.

Both CNBC and The Wall Street Journal have estimated that Primavera and Ant Financial will end up with anywhere from a 4 percent to a 6 percent stake in Yum China Holdings.

Fred Hu, founder of Primavera and former chairman of Goldman Sachs Group Greater China, spoke exclusively to CNBC this week. He told CNBC that he didn’t want to run Yum’s China operations.

“Our point is not to control this company,” he said. “This is a very big company. We position ourselves to be a trusted partner, being an engaged shareholder and a value-add shareholder.”

However, it is clear that Hu’s opinions on the direction of Yum China will care quite bit of weight since he was appointed the nonexecutive chairman of Yum China Holdings.

Hu also said his company would be looking to invest in other American businesses.

“The consumer sector, the services sector, technology sector … there is just a lot more opportunity in the U.S. maybe than in China or Asia more broadly,” he told CNBC. —Caitlin Bowling

Pho Ba Luu opening next week on Main Street

Pho Ba LuuReady your stomachs. The new Vietnamese restaurant, at 1019 E. Main St. in Butchertown, is set to open next week.

Pho Ba Luu will debut at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13, for lunch, according to Jessica Mach, the restaurant’s managing partner. The eatery will ease into opening, only serving lunch Tuesday through Thursday next week, but it will be open for lunch and dinner Friday and Saturday.

Starting the week of Sept. 19, its hours of operation will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, Mach said. Pho Ba Luu’s menu includes banh mi sandwiches, pho and vermicelli bowls.

The restaurant is part of developer Andy Blieden’s Butcherblock project, which also includes Stag & Doe, FoodCraft, First Light Image‘s studio and gallery, and Hi-Five Doughnuts. —Caitlin Bowling

Building association reveals the sites of 2017 Homearama

Poplar Woods also was a Homearama site back in 2009. | Courtesy of BIA

Poplar Woods also was a Homearama site back in 2009. | Courtesy of BIA

The Building Industry Association of Greater Louisville will shine a light on two conservation subdivisions during its Homearama event next year.

Catalpa Farms, in eastern Jefferson County, and Poplar Woods, in Goshen, each have dozens of acres of open space, with homes built among mature trees and natural water features, according to the association. Developer Signature Green Properties owns and manages both developments.

“With two distinct price points starting in the mid-$300,000 price range at Catalpa Farms and the mid-$600,000 range at Poplar Woods, there will be home designs that please everyone,” Pat Durham, the BIA’s executive vice president, said in a news release.

Homearama in Greater Louisville is celebrating 50 years of showcasing custom-built, furnished homes. This year, the event drew more than 50,000 people to Norton Commons and River Crest. —Caitlin Bowling

KFC introduces its seventh new Colonel

Former “The Daily Show” correspondent Rob Riggle is the latest actor to suit up at KFC’s Col. Harland Sanders.

With the NFL season starting this week, Riggle’s Colonel is all about football. In a spot promoting the KFC’s $20 Family Fill-Up deal, he introduces his new professional football team, the Kentucky Buckets, who wear chicken bucket-shaped helmets. With all but a wink and a nod, he assures the viewer that the team isn’t some marketing ploy to promote KFC.

The Louisville-based chicken restaurant even set up a Tumbler page with Kentucky Buckets memorabilia as additional evidence of the team existences.

Riggle — who was born in Louisville — is now the seventh person to portray the Colonel. Other Colonels included actors Darrell Hammond, Norm Macdonald, Jim Gaffigan and George Hamilton, as well as wrestler Dolph Ziggler and football broadcaster Jimmy Johnson.

Portland, Ore.-based advertising firm Wieden & Kennedy is behind the multi-Colonel campaign.

KFC’s chief marketing officer Kevin Hochman told Business Insider this year that the changing lineup of Colonels is intended to grab the consumer’s attention and help the brand build trust as it pushes the message that its chicken is well-prepared “the hard way.”

The Colonels also have a different focus. Hamilton’s Colonel sold the Extra Crispy Chicken, while Gaffigan’s Colonel pushed the restaurant’s new Hot Chicken. —Caitlin Bowling

Who’s been funded? August Edition

GLI_Logo_Bug_Blue_RGBIn short: shrug.

It’s a bit of a semantics game, but the two “who’s been funded?” announcements made by Brittain Skinner from EnterpriseCorp at this month’s Venture Connectors Luncheon don’t really fit the bill.

Each of the Vogt Award winners received an investment of $25,000, as IL reported last month. But that’s an accelerator program.

The second announcement was that local investors had given OneJet $400,000 to get started on new routes to new cities. Sure, it will benefit Louisville and sure, it’s from local investors, but the money is going to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the OneJet HQ is.

So, the answer to “Who’s been funded?” is no one in August. –Melissa Chipman

‘The Louisville Knot’ to tie together the city at the Ninth Street divide?

The I-64 exit crossing over Main Street, between Eighth and Ninth Street

The I-64 exit crossing over Main Street, between Eighth and Ninth Street

It’s hard to guess what the city and Downtown Partnership are imagining for the Ninth Street Underpass, but its designers and installers have been announced and it makes for an interesting mix of people.

According to a news release, the multidisciplinary team is led by Interface Studio Architects, based in Philadelphia, and includes Shine Contracting, Louisville; Core Design, Louisville; Element Design, with offices in Lexington and Louisville; and LAM Partners, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

ISA primarily designs super modern houses with lots of wacky shapes and angles, but they have done some public art. Shine is a contractor best known for restoration projects, a big player in the Portland neighborhood and often partners with Gill Holland on projects. Core Design does shipping container installations, including the ones at Copper & Kings and the ones at ReSurfaced. Element Design is landscape architecture and LAM is exterior lighting design.

“The design team’s concept, titled ‘The Louisville Knot,’ proposes to recreate the Ninth Street underpass as an engaging and enticing public space tied together by local influences and traditions, providing a destination for exploration, commerce, and play,” according to a news release. “Metro is seeking a project combining art, design and infrastructure that activates and promotes public use of the space, and considers the surrounding neighborhoods, community assets, and people served by the area’s infrastructure and amenities.”

Some of the designers and some of the designs will be available at the Louisville Mini Maker Faire on Main Street this Saturday. –Melissa Chipman

Docks now open at River House and Levee

Dock and dine at River House and Levee. | Courtesy of Levee

Dock and dine at River House and Levee. | Courtesy of Levee

Good news for Ohio River boaters looking for a place to dock and dine. River House Restaurant and Raw Bar and Levee at the River House just completed its new wooden boat slips and illuminated stairway up to the restaurants.

The construction took about two months and $125,000 to complete, and according to chef and owner John Varanese, everything is going well at both new restaurants, which opened last spring.

“It’s exciting to be able to invest our profits in both of these concepts,” said Varanese in a press release. “Owning a riverfront dining option has always been a dream of mine, and so far, it seems to be going pretty well.”

Varanese said he plans to work on a few more improvement projects next year, including resurfacing the parking lot, extending the River House patio and bar, and building a deck closer to the river. —Sara Havens

Bevin launches apprenticeship initiative

Gov. Matt Bevin

Gov. Matt Bevin

State leaders have launched a new apprenticeship campaign to fill Kentucky’s skills and worker gaps.

Gov. Matt Bevin and Labor Secretary Derrick Ramsey announced the “Kentucky Trained. Kentucky Built.” initiative at Voestalpine Roll Forming Corp. in Shelbyville this week.

“In our efforts to make Kentucky the manufacturing hub of excellence in America, we recognize the value of apprenticeships and their ability to help us achieve this goal,” Bevin said. “While a significant number of employers in Kentucky already realize the potential in apprenticeships, this initiative will seek to devote more resources and identify new industries where apprenticeships can play a pivotal role.

“This will be essential in addressing the workforce needs of employers in the Commonwealth,” the governor added.

Some Louisville employers, including Ford and GE Appliances, have said they’re struggling to find qualified workers for open positions, and the shortage is hampering economic growth. Greater Louisville Inc., too, has said the city needs more people to fill its 31,000 open jobs. However, some economists also have told IL that the skills gap also is a wage gap, meaning employers wouldn’t struggle as much to find workers if they paid them more.

The state said the new initiative “will commit new energy and resources to providing technical and marketing expertise toward this initiative and enable the Labor Cabinet to better identify and bring together key stakeholders who might benefit from a local apprenticeship pipeline.”

About 1,100 Kentucky employers have registered apprenticeship programs and employ about 3,000 apprentices, according to the state. —Boris Ladwig

Jewish Hospital unveils new ER

Jewish Hospital unveiled its $5.3 million expansion Thursday afternoon. | Courtesy of KentuckyOne Health.

Jewish Hospital unveiled its $5.3 million expansion Thursday afternoon. | Courtesy of KentuckyOne Health.

Jewish Hospital has opened a $5.3 million emergency department expansion that includes a bigger waiting room, more space for patients and a two-room trauma bay.

The department now also offers specialized services such as emergency gynecology and boasts a five room “Critical Decision Unit,” where patients are held for observation, KentuckyOne Health said in a press release. The department also features a safe room for psychiatric emergencies.

The department now measures 17,000 square feet, or 5,000 more than the old one, while the number of patient rooms, at 42, has increased by four.

The project was funded by the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation.

The hospital, which opened in 1905, is about six blocks southwest of Slugger Field and has 462 beds. The emergency department last was remodeled in 2012. —Boris Ladwig

Buffalo Trace releases its highly anticipated 2016 Antique Collection

If you see these, buy these. | Courtesy of Buffalo Trace

If you see these, buy these. | Courtesy of Buffalo Trace

It’s Christmas for bourbon fans as Buffalo Trace Distillery releases its highly anticipated 2016 Antique Collection featuring five rare whiskeys. With a suggested retail price of $90 for each and collectors clamoring for their prized whiskeys, it’ll be difficult to find in stores. But hopefully bourbon bars around town will each get a set so all of us can try.

First up is the George T. Stagg, which comes in at a potent 144.1 proof this year. This uncut and unfiltered bourbon has won top awards in the past. Sip slow. Next is the wheated bourbon William Larue Weller, which is also uncut and unfiltered, that comes in at 135.4 proof. This one is going to be smooth and sweet.

The Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye is an uncut straight rye whiskey. Last year it was named “Best American Rye Whiskey” at the 2016 World Whiskies Awards, and at 126.2 proof, we have a feeling it’s equally delicious this year. The Eagle Rare 17 Year Old, one of my new favorites, comes in at only 90 proof, but at 17 years old, it should offer up unique flavors of vanilla, tobacco and toffee.

Finally, the Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old nabbed the title of “Best Rye Whiskey 11 Years or Older” last year by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible, and although I’ve never tried this, I can only imagine the depth of its spicy notes. If anyone has a bottle and is willing to share, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

The press release says these whiskeys will be put on the market in late September and early October, but good luck finding any. Also of note, last month the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort welcome its one millionth cumulative visitor. We hear the unsuspecting guest was surrounded by staff and was treated to a balloon drop and special prize pack. Damn our luck! —Sara Havens

Sullivan students take home gold at American Culinary Federation competition

Chef Derek Spendlove, left, and chef Kendall Kneis, far right, with the winning team, Jessica Waked Diaz, Benita Gomez, Markeisha Crutcher, and Jaelin Rifkind. | Courtesy of Sullivan University

Chef Derek Spendlove, left, and chef Kendall Kneis, far right, with the winning team, Jessica Waked Diaz, Benita Gomez, Markeisha Crutcher, and Jaelin Rifkind. | Courtesy of Sullivan University

The four members of Sullivan University‘s Baking and Pastry Arts team together are like the Michael Phelps of the American Culinary Federation’s “Pastry Live” competition.

The team took home five gold medals this year — the same amount as Phelps — at the national competition that pits culinary art studies across the country against each other in various categories.

Sullivan University students Jaelin Rifkind of Louisville and Markeisha Crutcher of Lebanon, Tenn., each received a gold medal for their cakes. Benita Gomez of Medina, Ohio, was awarded gold for her petit fours, and Jessica Waked Diaz from Bogotá, Colombia, brought home two gold medals, one for petit fours and one for celebrated cakes.

In addition to the gold medals, Diaz placed first and second overall with her petit fours and cake, and Crutcher placed third overall.

Sullivan University instructors and chefs Kendall Knies and Derek Spendlove led the team and now are preparing them for another competition in Columbus, Ohio, in October. —Caitlin Bowling