Welcome to the June 26 Monday Business Briefing, your private business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.
Council approves $250,000 for soccer club stadium efforts
Last week, the Metro Council approved a budget that earmarks $250,000 to be spent on environmental studies and other stadium-related aspects in Butchertown, the club said.
“There’s some really positive momentum surrounding Louisville City FC right now,” spokesman Jonathan Lintner told Insider via email.
“On the corporate partnership side, our staff has reached a new record for sales, and that community support for our club is spilling over on the ticket side. … Ever since the stadium site announcement, it seems awareness for Louisville City is on the rise,” he said.
Indeed, the local pro soccer club’s attendance continues to improve, and so had its athletic performance — until Saturday.
Since an exciting 4-4 draw at the Charleston Battery, Louisville City FC had won three straight, outscoring opponents by combined score of 7-0. Saturday’s match at the Harrisburg City Islanders, who were in last place in the Eastern Conference of the United Soccer League, would have put the club within striking distance of first place.
But Harrisburg upset LouCity 1-0, leaving the Louisville team in second place, six points behind Charleston — although that team has played two more matches.
Through five home games, LouCity has welcomed an average of 8,051 fans, up 51 percent from 2015 and up 18 percent from last year. The club will host Ottawa Fury FC at 7:30 p.m. at Slugger Field on July 1.
Attendance plays a crucial role in the club’s profitability. In 2015, ticket sales generated about 80 percent of revenue — though the club since has improved its revenue streams thanks to sponsorships and broadcasting deals.
The club generated operating revenue of $2.3 million in its first year, but incurred operating losses of about $2 million in the last two years, in part because it does not own its own stadium, which would generate additional dollars from naming rights, concessions, parking, etc.
The third-year team leases its home venue from the Louisville Bats for $5,000 per game. The club declined to disclose current financial projections for the year, though leaders have said that generating a profit may be difficult without a stadium.
Despite the financial challenges, the club’s owners have generated a good return on their investment because of the rising value of the club: A USL franchise cost $250,000 in 2012. This year, the fee was $5 million — and owners can generate tens of millions if they sell their franchise.
Also, since announcing its plans in April to build a 10,000-seat, $40 million stadium in Butchertown, the team has collected nearly 2,000 signatures to eventually present to city officials to help convince them to support the venture.
The club has options on five tracts of land at the intersection of Adams and North Campbell streets and plans to have the city exercise those options before the end of the year, then develop the properties and buy the land back from the city. —Boris Ladwig
GLI recognized, talks health care in D.C.
Greater Louisville Inc. has received two awards for “member retention,” and one of its executives was recognized for sales performance.
The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives placed GLI in the top 10 for member retention and new member retention.
“We are very proud of our development team’s accomplishments in 2016,” GLI President and CEO Kent Oyler said in a press release.
Rebecca Wood, GLI’s executive director of investor development, was named one of top 20 sales performers by ACCE.
Meanwhile, a GLI leader told Insider via email that the organization’s trip to the nation’s capitol last week coincided with the U.S. Senate making public the draft of its health care legislation.
“We had significant conversations about opioid abuse treatment, the expansion of Medicaid, and the politics behind reforming the health care in the United States,” said Sarah Davasher-Wisdom, GLI’s chief operating officer.
She said the trip also enabled chamber officials to reconnect with federal lawmakers and to meet members of the Trump administration.
“We developed relationships with senior staff at the Department of Transportation and the White House Domestic Policy Council on Education Workforce Development, which are some of our greatest focus areas on the local, state, and federal levels,” Davasher-Wisdom said.
GLI also said this week that it is offering scholarships of $2,000 for its GLIDE 2017 economic study mission to Nashville Sept. 10 to 12. Interested professionals can apply online until July 14. —Boris Ladwig
Entrepreneurs are recognized in EY competition
Two Louisville-area entrepreneurs have been recognized for innovation.
Mark Lanwehr, president and owner of Louisville-based replacement key company Car Keys Express, and John Waggoner, of New Albany, Ind.-based HMS Global Maritime, which manages ferries and steamboats, have been named among the seven EY Entrepreneurs of the Year 2017 in the Ohio Valley region.
The two were chosen from 29 finalists, which included seven from the Louisville area.
Lanwehr and Waggoner are now eligible for the Entrepreneur of the Year Overall National Award. The winner will be announced Nov. 18.
EY, a London-based business management consultant formerly known as Ernst & Young, said the award recognizes “the endeavors of exceptional men and women who create the products and services that keep our worldwide economy moving forward.” —Boris Ladwig
RunSwitch PR co-founder signs contract with CNN
RunSwitch PR’s Scott Jennings has contracted with CNN as a political commentator. RunSwitch reports Jennings supplies “senior level communications, public affairs, political and crisis communications counsel for national and international clients.” Jennings has frequently appeared on national shows.
Jennings is a UofL alumni and former student chair of the McConnell Scholar, who worked at The Louisville Cardinal. He worked at WHAS radio and has a regular column in The Courier-Journal.
He has worked on dozens of campaigns, both national and local, and has also worked for Senator Mitch McConnell and President George W. Bush.
“He was fun, but always was ready to pick a political fight with his colleagues,”Endowed Chair and director of McConnell Center, Gary Gregg told The Cardinal. “We are extremely proud of Scott.”
Butchertown Grocery now open seven days a week, adds specials and family-style meals
After a successful first year, Butchertown Grocery is expanding its menu offerings and hours. As of today, BG will be open seven days a week, offering up its Southern bistro-inspired fare as well as new daily specials and a family-style tasting menu.
“Some of our guests live here in Butchertown and consider us their second dining table or second living room,” said chef Bobby Benjamin in a press release. “I’m excited to be able to serve our neighbors and guests seven days a week.”
The daily specials will rotate seasonally, but you can expect dishes like pork chops, rotisserie duck and chicken, diver scallops and a dry-aged burger, among others. And the family-style tasting menu, at $125 a person, will feature five courses that’ll change week to week and includes wine pairings.
Insider got a peek at the first tasting menu, and it sounds pretty delectable, with everything from gnocchi and tuna tartare to trout almondine and beignets drizzled with Wild Turkey American Honey and bacon anglaise.
Papa John’s and Texas Road House top customer satisfaction polls
Once again, Papa John’s has been named the No. 1 pizza chain in the American Customer Satisfaction Index. This is the 16th time in the past 18 years the Louisville-based pizza chain led the pizza industry in overall customer satisfaction.
The ACSI also found that customer satisfaction with full-service restaurants is down 3.7 percent to a score of 78, the lowest in 10 years. But Louisville-based Texas Roadhouse topped the steakhouse market with a score of 82. —Melissa Chipman
Record number of businesses file annual report ahead of deadline, state says
Ahead of a June 30 deadline, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes reported that more than 152,000 entities had completed the state’s annual report requirement, more than the total at the same time a year earlier, which was a record.
“Kentucky businesses had a record-breaking filing year in 2016 and are poised to shatter all of our records again,” said Grimes, Kentucky’s chief business official. “Already more than ever have filed at this point in the filing season and – breaking another record – more than three-quarters have chosen to file online.”
Businesses are required to file an annual report and pay $15 each year, according to her office. The report can be filed online at the Secretary of State’s website, sos.ky.gov.
The filing requirement applies to the all of the business entities authorized to do business in Kentucky – more than 200,000. All businesses were sent reminders through U.S. mail or email.
If a business fails to file its annual report by June 30, her office said, it falls into bad standing and receives a final 60-day notice. Failure to comply with the 60-day notice results in administrative dissolution of the business or revocation of authority to do business in Kentucky. —Mickey Meece