Monday Business Briefing: Look for The New Blak in Oxmoor; what’s coming to Hilltop Theater; OneJet flights in April; Bionic Gloves; and more
Welcome to the March 6 Monday Business Briefing, your private business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.
The New Blak to open retail store in Oxmoor Mall
Louisville’s sustainable and ethical women’s clothing brand, The New Blak, will be opening a storefront in Oxmoor Mall and starting a new Kickstarter soon.
This is the company’s first store. The clothing was offered at some local retail outlets, in its mobile boutique and at fairs, but The New Blak is primarily an online store.
In an email, owner and founder Amanda Dougherty told IL, “We have a lease through the end of the year, but hope to stay as long as possible! It is the space next to Yang Kee Noodle.”
So you can get great local food and local fashion without even walking into the main part of the mall. Good to know.
All of The New Blak’s clothes are made locally, not in a factory. The company started as a “little black dress” designer but has branched out to other colors of dresses, cardigans and tops.
Bar and restaurant opening in historic Hilltop Theater
The details are scant on this project, but here’s what Insider Louisville knows right now:
A bar and restaurant is planning to open in the 112-year-old Hilltop Theater building, at 1757 Frankfort Ave. Building permits were issued, allowing for the renovation of 4,856 square feet of the building for Remedy Bar.
The name doesn’t give many clues to what type of establishment it will be, but a quick search for “Remedy Bar” on the Kentucky Secretary of State’s website turned up a familiar industry name — Brett Davis. Davis has had a hand in the development of Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar, the dearly departed La Coop: Bistro à Vins, and the short-lived Doc’s Cantina.
When IL reached out to Davis, he declined to comment.
Another building permit noted that 3,727 square feet of the building will be turned into office space. It is unclear if that is tied to Remedy Bar’s operations or if another company is planning to move in.
Building owner Mo Deljoo bought the property for $365,000 back in 2012. According to past building permits, he’s spent more than $700,000 renovating the building, which formerly housed Jim Conti and Sons, a company that rented out bounce houses and other party activities.
Airline adds new service at Louisville International Airport
OneJet, which provides flights in small and medium markets, will offer its first flight out of the Louisville International Airport, beginning April 3.
The airline company is adding direct flights from Louisville to Pittsburgh, and vice versa. The flights will cut travel time between the cities down to about an hour, according to OneJet.
“After reviewing booking trends in these markets, and comparing them to our experience in other multi-frequency markets, we saw an opportunity to better meet our customers needs and fulfill additional travel demand,” OneJet’s CEO Matthew Maguire said in a news release.
The flight schedule is as follows:
- Pittsburgh to Louisville, departing 8:50 a.m. and arriving 9:50 a.m.
- Louisville to Pittsburgh, departing 10:10 a.m. and arriving 11:10 a.m.
- Pittsburgh to Louisville, departing 3:10 p.m. and arriving 4:10 p.m.
- Louisville to Pittsburgh, departing 4:30 p.m. and arriving 5:30 p.m.
Check OneJet.com to see if the flight is available on specific days. OneJet offers TSA pre-access for eligible travelers, expedited boarding, complimentary in-flight, high-speed Wi-Fi and a selection of snacks. —Caitlin Bowling
New store moving into Westport Village this summer
National dog-focused franchise Wag N’ Wash is coming to Louisville.
The company stated in a news release that a Wag N’ Wash is slated to open in mid-2017 in Westport Village, next to Clater Jewelers. The store offers full-service washing for pets, as well as sells food, toys and treats that are baked in-store.
Louisville resident Paige Franklin will own and operate the local store.
“I specifically chose Westport Village because of its proximity to the Kentucky Humane Society,” Franklin said in the release. “Being so close to the Humane Society allows for opportunities to partner with them to host adoption days and vaccination clinics throughout the year.”
Just in time for golf season, Bionic Gloves, a division of Slugger-maker Hillerich & Bradsby Co., has introduced a new… bionic glove.
The PerformanceGrip Pro Golf Glove is made of Cabretta leather and includes “terry cloth pads strategically placed to promote a light grip while absorbing perspiration to keep hands cool and dry. The gloves also feature dual expansion zones that accommodate for thumb length and width allowing for better comfort and fit for a variety of hand sizes,” according to the news release.
These are made for the competitive golfer. They’ll be available in late spring for $29.99 each. According to independent research, the gloves have proved to be two times more durable than your standard premium-grade leather glove.
“In listening to our consumers, we heard them say how much they love our PerformanceGrip® gloves but needed more room and flexibility in the fit, especially in the thumbs,” said John Ballback, national sales manager for Bionic Gloves. “With this newest glove, we’ve incorporated their feedback along with improving
“With this newest glove, we’ve incorporated their feedback along with improving on the durability, moisture control and comfort – all key factors for the competitive golfer,” he said. “Our goal is to always be improving our gloves and we’re excited to hear what golfers have to say, especially in terms of how it improves their game, about this latest model.”
Escape, Super Duty buck Ford sales decline
While Ford Motor Co. sales in February fell from a year earlier, the automaker’s Louisville-made Escape and Super Duty saw rising demand.
Ford said that it sold 208,440 vehicles in February, down 4 percent compared to February 2016. Rival General Motors, meanwhile, posted a 4 percent sales gain, selling nearly 238,000 units. FiatChrysler said its U.S. sales, at 168,326 units, dropped 10 percent.
Ford said that consumers in February continued to move away from cars and toward SUVs and trucks.
Car sales, at 47,480, fell nearly 26 percent compared to a year earlier, with demand for both top sellers — Fusion and Focus — plunging more than 30 percent.
Truck sales improved 3.9 percent, to 83,396 units, with demand for the F-Series increasing 8.7 percent, to nearly 66,000 units.
“This represents F-Series’ best sales since 2004, with all-new Super Duty retail gains coming from every region of the country,” Ford said. The Super Duty is made exclusively at Kentucky Truck Plant. Ford said the average transaction price for the F-Series in February increased by $3,600, indicating that people are buying better equipped and more high-end models of the truck.
And Ford’s SUV sales in February hit a record 68,820, up 5.9 percent, with the best seller, the Ford Escape, posting a 15.9 percent gain compared to a year earlier. The Escape is made exclusively at the Louisville Assembly Plant. —Boris Ladwig
Churchill Downs earnings spike, shares move little
Churchill Downs shares had little movement last week although it said fourth-quarter earnings, at nearly $27 million, rose 252 percent from a year earlier.
Results from the casino and racetrack operator/gaming company were skewed by a gain of nearly $24 million from the sale of excess land at its Calder Casino in suburban Miami. Thanks to the gain from that sale, operating expenses fell 25 percent, to $235 million. Excluding that gain, expenses were essentially flat.
Revenue rose 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter, thanks primarily to a 10.5 percent revenue gain from TwinSpires, the company’s online betting portal. Churchill Downs said in a press release that the unit had a 9 percent increase in active players in the fourth quarter.
Fourth-quarter revenue at gaming division Big Fish Games improved 2.6 percent, to nearly $117 million. The Seattle-based unit, which develops puzzle games such as the Mystery Case Files and Hidden Expedition series, generates about as much in revenue as Churchill Downs’ racing and casino divisions combined.
For all of 2016, Churchill Downs said revenue rose 8 percent, to $1.3 billion, while operating expenses rose 2.4 percent, to $1.1 billion. Net income, at $108 million, was up 66 percent.
The company said the full-year operating earnings in its racing division, which rose 11 percent, were driven primarily by the Churchill Downs track, as record attendance, and greater ticket and media revenue boosted Kentucky Derby and Oaks week profitability by $5.2 million.
Churchill Downs shares rose slightly after the company announced fourth-quarter results, but about half the gain was erased later in the week. On Friday, shares closed at $151.25. For the year, the company’s shares are up about 0.5 percent. During the same period, the S.&P. 500 has gained 6.4 percent.
Look for more market reactions this week as two local companies are scheduled to release earnings on Tuesday. Distiller Brown-Forman will post results that morning. CEO Paul Varga had said in December that he expected sales to increase in the next six months. Online retailer CafePress will report earnings Tuesday evening. The company had reported in December that third-quarter revenue fell compared to a year earlier but improved compared to the second quarter. The retailer in December also cut some staff as it was realigning some departments. —Boris Ladwig
Norton Healthcare gets $600K donation
Norton Healthcare has received $600,000 from a private family foundation to support diabetes education.
The Price Foundation made the gift to Norton Children’s Hospital Foundation to fund two positions to help educate families and caregivers.
Foundation board member Charles Price said that when his daughter, Norah, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, educators at the hospital’s Wendy Novak Diabetes Center proved immensely helpful.
“We didn’t know what to ask so we asked everything and anything,” Price said. “We want others to experience this. Education is huge — there is so much we didn’t know when faced with the initial diagnosis.”
“We want to give back because we were truly touched by the diabetes educators and the tremendous value they provide,” Price said in a press release.
The donation will fund the center’s Norah Price Diabetes Educator and the Norah Price Fellow in Pediatric Endocrinology through the hospital and the University of Louisville Department of Pediatrics.
Jaime Walker, the newly named diabetes educator, said that a diabetes diagnosis for children raises a lot of questions for families.
“From how to measure blood sugars to how much insulin a child needs, the experience can be daunting. Education is what makes it possible for families to resume a normal life with Type 1 diabetes,” she said.
Diabetes is a disease in which blood sugar levels are above normal, because the body does not produce enough insulin. Diabetes can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness and lower-extremity amputation. It is the seventh-leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Type 1 diabetes, previously called juvenile-onset, the body’s immune system attacks and destroys insulin-making cells in the pancreas. Type 1 diabetes accounts for about 5 percent of diagnosed cases.
The diabetes center was established in 2013 with a $5 million gift from the Lift a Life Foundation. Charles and Janet Price founded the Price Foundation in 2007. They are the co-founders of coal combustion product management company Charah. —Boris Ladwig