Monday Business Briefing: GEA hopes to double sales by 2022; designer brands arrive at the outlet; Science Hill closes; Ford sales; and more
Welcome to the Sept. 4 Monday Business Briefing, your private business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.
GE Appliances wants to double sales by 2022
GE Appliances has set an ambitious internal goal to double revenue by 2022.
The $7 billion appliance maker hopes to meet the goal in part by broadening its product offerings and to break into new markets. The company unveiled one of those efforts Friday afternoon: A new high-end, top-load dishwasher that automatically dispenses detergent and notifies consumers on their smart devices when their laundry is done.
The new washing machine line, which replaced an older line, required investments of about $30 million, GEA said, and is part of $100 million the company has pledged in investments at Louisville’s Appliance Park on products ranging from an upgrade to a line for the new door-in-door refrigerator to a 3,500-ton capacity press for its Plastics Center of Excellence.
Workers in Appliance Park in Louisville have been producing the machines for about six weeks, and the first models, to be used primarily to showcase the product on retail floors, are being shipped this month.
Company officials said the investments show their commitment to the Louisville location, which is one of four production areas in the U.S. and, they have said, the only one that is not profitable.
Dana Crittendon, president of the IUE-CWA Local 8361, which represents about 3,700 of the park’s hourly employees, told Insider that the investments are a good sign, and he was confident in the quality of the products produced in Appliance Park.
However, he also criticized the company for moving production of several items out of the park without bringing in new ones. Crittendon said that the lack of new products in the park has many employees worried about job security and the park’s future. —Boris Ladwig
Designer brands coming to The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass
When Tory Burch opened its first Kentucky retail store in the Simpsonville outlet shops just a couple of weeks ago, it was just the start of several designer and lifestyle brands moving into The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass.
American clothing brand True Religion opened its doors this past Friday. The brand is known for its jeans, many of which have horseshoe-shaped stitching on the pockets.
In November, The Outlet Shoppes also will welcome classic high-end brand Calvin Klein and cast iron cookware brand Le Creuset.
“Our shoppers are always on the prowl for stylish looks at affordable prices, and each of these new stores deliver,” Debbie Griesinger, general manager at The Outlet Shoppes, said in a news release.
Louisville alternative waste company seeks $9,000 Kiva loan
Joseph Colin Beatty is a Bluetooth-talking entrepreneur who has a lot of irons in the fire. But you won’t often find him suited up in an office for meetings, but rather driving a Dumpster truck, which is where Insider caught up with him on a rainy Friday afternoon.
As he pulled over to talk, Beatty noted that he had just a few days to go on a $9,000 Kiva loan campaign, which was 78 percent funded with just seven days to go at that point. His Dumpster-rental company, La Fleur de merde, is seeking the money to help fund a marketing campaign to acquire new customers and to buy equipment.
Beatty, the founder and self-described garbage man, says his goal is to divert refuse from landfills, and as an alternative waste company, La Fleur de merde aims to think about waste differently. On its website, the company says, “We will eventually create recycling centers that recover resources from the materials destined for landfills.”
As part of his Kiva application, he explained: “There is a small, but quickly growing, niche market for garbage services at events where venues have chosen not to take responsibility for waste collection. Events include festivals, weddings, and other large outdoor venues where garbage cannot be disposed of onsite. From a waste diversion standpoint, I can be instrumental in preventing resources from entering landfills by assisting with labor right at the point of creation. I will be able to decrease the use of disposable containers and bags.” —Mickey Meece
METCO gives out $1.6 million in business loans
Seven developers and business owners got a helping hand in the form of loans from Louisville’s Metropolitan Business Development Corporation (METCO). The loans are expected to leverage $8.71 million worth of investment in open or growing companies in Louisville or renovating properties.
- METCO awarded its first-ever Business Accelerator Loan to Legacy Construction USA LLC, a new roof repair company located at 2306 W. Market St. The $50,000 loan will fund initial startup operations, including the purchase of roofing materials, general working capital and hiring sales staff.
- A $883,000 EPA Brownfields loan was given to Weyland Ventures, which is renovating the former Louisville Chemical building at 601 E. Jefferson St. The building is expected to become lofts and retail.
- A holding company for Isopure Corp. received a $200,000 gap financing loan to buildout of the company’s facility at 11851 Plantside Drive. Isopure Corp. designs and manufactures of water purification systems that are used in kidney dialysis centers and hospitals worldwide.
- Six Pack Volleyball owners Kari Guy and Rachel Dryer bought the former Bernie’s outdoor volleyball venue and plan to rehab the building, located at 4026 S. Third St. The new business, which received two loans totaling $150,000, will include indoor and outdoor volleyball courts, a bar/restaurant, an office space and a child care center.
- Developer Andy Blieden was awarded a $121,800 facade loan to renovate the exterior of Butchertown Pizza Hall and make it handicap accessibility. He also got $79,700 to make similar improvements to 1025 E. Main St.
- Parkside Bikes will use its $50,000 facade loan to rehab the facade of its property at 822 E. Market St.
Shelbyville restaurant shuts its doors
Southern restaurant Science Hill Inn has closed.
Chef Ellen Gill McCarty, who ran the restaurant with her parents, Donna Gill and Terry Gill, has cancer again, a spokeswoman for the restaurant posted to Science Hill Inn’s Facebook page.
However, McCarty is hopeful that she will return to a restaurant kitchen in the future, according to the post.
“It’s bittersweet, will miss loyal customers who became friends and family, but I look forward to serving them and others in my new spot!” McCarty said in a statement.
The family owned the Science Hill Inn for 40 years, but the building itself is actual much older. It served as a girls preparatory school from 1825 to 1939, according to the Science Hill Inn website. —Caitlin Bowling
Buffalo Trace Distillery is awarded tax incentives, considers expansion
Fresh off the unveiling of Buffalo Trace Distillery’s new remarkable, one-of-a-kind “Bourbon Pompeii” tour comes word that the distillery is considering an expansion.
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) announced last week that it had approved the company up to $400,000 in tax incentives via the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act.
In its application, Buffalo Trace said it was considering a $42.6 million expansion of its facilities in Frankfort to “meet the growing demand of its customers.” The project would include upgrading the current bottling operation. — Mickey Meece
Super Duty remains strong, but Escape sales weaken
Sales figures for Louisville-made Ford Motor Co. vehicles diverged last month, with Super Duty trucks continuing to see strong demand, while Escape sales fell nearly 16 percent compared to a year earlier.
The Super Duty is made at the Kentucky Truck Plant. The Escape at the Louisville Assembly Plant.
Ford said that overall sales in August, at 209,987 vehicles, fell 2.1 percent compared to August of 2016. Demand for car models fell 9 percent, and for SUVs declined 11.6 percent.
Truck sales improved 9.3 percent, with the F-Series gaining 15 percent.
“Demand remains strong for high trim-level Super Duty trucks, with Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum accounting for 53 percent of retail sales last month,” Ford said.
The high demand for more expensive versions of the truck boosted the F-Series’ average transaction price by $3,400 per vehicle, compared to last year, the automaker said.
General Motors said that its retail sales improved 4 percent in August. The company estimated that it “gained more than one-half point of retail market share.” Demand for the Chevy Equinox, an Escape rival, improved 67 percent, GM said. The company sold the SUV 28,245 times in August. Ford sold 23,631 Escapes.
FiatChrysler said its August sales fell 11 percent year-over-year. —Boris Ladwig
Kindred completes initial sale of skilled nursing facilities
Kindred Healthcare has completed the sale of 54 skilled nursing facilities in 10 states for $519 million.
“We are pleased that we have completed the initial sale of a majority of the nursing facilities held for sale and look forward to completing the remainder of the closings by year-end,” CEO Benjamin Breier said in a news release.
The company had announced a $700 million deal with BM Eagle in June. The deal included 89 nursing centers with 11,308 licensed beds and seven assisted living facilities with 380 beds. BM Eagle Holdings is a joint venture led by affiliates of BlueMountain Capital Management.
Kindred had said that the transaction would cut its annual expenditures by more than $200 million, including lower rent obligations, capital expenditures and skilled nursing facility overhead. —Boris Ladwig
Franchisees opening second Taziki’s in Louisville
A new Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe is coming to Louisville. It’s slated to open in St. Matthews the morning of Sept. 9.
Franchisees Jeff Wilkins and Lisa Wilkins signed an agreement a few years ago for the right to open stores in Louisville, Southern Indiana and Utah. They opened their first store in Middletown Commons off Shelbyville Road in 2015.
The new St. Matthews store will be located in a one-story strip center at 106 Fairfax Ave., which was the former home of SuperChefs and Chef Maria’s Greek Deli before the businesses caught fire.
The Taziki’s hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays
Taziki’s is based in Birmingham, Ala. and has more than 60 locations across 16 states. It offers a menu of Greek and Mediterranean inspired dishes such as gyros, a trio of humus and Greek salad. —Caitlin Bowling
MainSource Bank has donated 35 computers, 11 monitors, 100 mice and about 50 keyboards (valued around $7,000) toward the City of Louisville’s Mayoral Digital Inclusion Plan. The plan aims to “remove barriers to success for our citizens who all need digital access, skills and hardware to obtain jobs, earn degrees.”