Welcome to the July 31 Monday Business Briefing, your private business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.
CafePress shares fall on second-quarter loss
Shares of CafePress plunged 15 percent Friday after the Louisville-based e-commerce said that its aging website contributed to a second-quarter loss of nearly $3.2 million. A year earlier, the company had posted a $23 million loss.
CEO Fred Durham said the company in the second quarter “continued to make progress on our multi-year turnaround strategy,” which includes building a new website.
However, second-quarter revenue, at $17.8 million, fell 12 percent compared to a year earlier, and total average order size fell 9 percent, to $31.49.
Durham said in a press release that the company’s website “has not kept pace with change over the years, and even as we are currently making progress, we are not yet where we need to be, which we believe caused recent Google algorithm updates to adversely affect our search visibility and traffic.”
The CEO said that the website modernization should enable the company to take better advantage of this year’s holiday sales.
Revenue in the company’s retail partner channel, which accounts for about a third of total revenue, improved 22 percent, as CafePress expanded its partnership with Walmart.com and its merchandise catalog sold through Amazon.
Pizza Hut hopes Kristen Wiig will bring in customers
The Yum Brands subsidiary Pizza Hut has retained the comedic talents of Kristen Wiig in the hopes that customers will find the chain’s new commercial funny enough to buy its pizza.
The company is at the beginning of a $130 million turnaround campaign, which also includes plans to use a new technology to improve deliver times as well as hire 17,000 new delivery drivers. And now the comedy stylings of Wiig.
In the commercial, Wiig taps into her character acting to portray every man, woman and child in America, and she declares that she wants hot pizza delivered fast. Wiig notes the new drivers and new delivery technology.
After years of lagging sales, Pizza Hut is trying to get consumers to give the restaurant brand another shot, and Yum Brands executives are hoping they will be able to right the ship in the same way they did with KFC.
Real estate firm looks at demand in Louisville skyline
Jones Lang LaSalle, a Chicago-based real estate and investment management company, has taken a hard look at the downtown Louisville skyline and found that it’s positioned for “significant growth,” according to a new report.
The report states that downtown Louisville is in a good position because although the rental rate is high for the city, the $19.01 average rent per square foot is still competitive when compared with peer cities. Out-of-town investors also are branching out into secondary markets; for example, the 350,000-square-foot Meidinger Tower sold for $32 million.
“In recent years, Downtown Louisville has seen two major office tower sales – LG&E Center and Meidinger Tower — both with aggressive capitalization rates, which speaks to the continued improvement of the market dynamics,” Doug Owen, senior vice president of JLL’s Louisville office, said in a release about the report. “Transfers such as these are a stamp of approval for the city, as investors are staking a claim in the central business district.”
Overall, downtown office buildings are 16 percent vacant, which is above the national average of 14.5 percent. The building with the most vacancies is PNC Plaza, which is just under 60 percent filled. PNC Bank moved out of the building and consolidated into PNC Tower, and another company or companies haven’t moved in to fill the space.
Some of those vacancies could be filled by nontraditional downtown office tenant.
“Traditionally, law firms, financial institutions and other professional services groups were the main drivers of leasing activity within Skyline buildings,” Ross Bratcher, JLL’s research analyst, said in an analysis of the findings. “Today, a lack of creative space in more unique and eclectic neighborhoods is drawing TAMI companies (technology, advertising, media and information) into the Central Business District and high-rise office buildings. In addition, landlords are increasing tenant improvement packages to build out innovative spaces in traditional skyline assets to further entice creative users.” —Caitlin Bowling
Parkland residents list grocery, retail as top needs
Last week, Louisville Metro Councilwoman Jessica Green (D-1) hosted a community meeting to gather feedback from residents on what they’d like to see at the former Parkland grocery at Virginia Avenue and South 28th Street.
According to Green’s records, about 50 people showed up. Among the listed desired businesses were: a grocery story, a Walmart, an entertainment option for children, a food hall, a home goods or hardware store, a library, a trade school, Code Louisville and a young adult development center that could offer classes on budgeting, peer pressure and other topics.
Some residents said they wanted the space to be repurposed for use by the community. Other said they would want any food hall, farmer’s market or grocery to offer fresh produce and health options for customers.
At least one person noted that the Parkland Grocery did not succeed, so another grocery may not be the answer. Attendees also stated that any business should employ Parkland residents. —Caitlin Bowling
Jeffersonville Main Street earns national accreditation and accolades
Sometimes it’s nice to know people and organizations are paying attention to your hard work. Case in point: Jeffersonville Main Street Inc. has been designated as an Accredited Main Street America program for its revitalization efforts in the small Southern Indiana city.
Jeffersonville is one of 828 cities to be recognized this year by the National Main Street Center, which chooses its delegates based their commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization. The Jeffersonville nonprofit is celebrating 30 years of downtown revitalization this year.
“Main Streets are the heart of our communities, and the work they do to create quality public spaces, catalyze local entrepreneurship and support downtown housing is more important than ever,” said Patrice Frey, president and CEO of the National Main Street Center, in a press release. “Across the country, Main Street America programs truly strengthen the economic, social and cultural fabric of their entire communities.”
Jay Ellis, the executive director of Jeffersonville Main Street Inc., said that through all the hard work they’ve put into the project, it’s nice to be recognized.
“Downtown Jeffersonville has been strengthened by years of dedicated effort, and having our work recognized as top-tier is a testament to the many people who have embraced the Main Street vision to make downtown a better place through business development, place making, streetscape improvements, special events and historic preservation,” said Ellis.
Along with a shopping district, many new restaurants and bars have opened up in Jeffersonville over the last few years, making it a true destination for diners and beer and cocktail consumers. —Sara Havens
New2Lou founder joins Kale & Flax
Stacey Servo, who founded New2Lou in 2009, has joined the team at Kale & Flax as vice principal of sustainability and growth. Kale & Flax is an experiential data and design firm located in Shelby Park, founded by Tarik Nally.
Servo told Insider via email, “I will primarily be focused on creating fresh, creative project-partnerships with startups, businesses, government, nonprofits, and creative individuals who are driven by sustainability, economic development, the arts, health & wellness and in creating amazing experiences for people.”
Nally said, “It was extremely important for us to have a creative, strategic, community-impact driven person in this role, and having her lead the company direction is an opportunity for me to move out-of-the-way and let her use her experiences to move us forward. Also, was important for me to add a wonder woman to the team, to continue our focus on diversity and shattering the norms in design and tech.”
Servo served at GLI for a year as the talent attraction and development manager. She left the organization in April.
Originally from Montana, she began New2Lou after moving to Louisville as a networking organization for young professionals (primarily) who were new residents of the city. She then co-founded New2Sea with a partner in Seattle in 2014. She told IL Kale & Flax also plans to accelerate New2Lou’s focus and growth in 2018. —Melissa Chipman
The board of directors for Louisville-based Papa John’s International approved a $0.225 per share quarterly dividend rate that will be paid out on Aug. 18 to shareholders. The quarterly dividend is a 12.5 percent increase, according to the announcement. Papa John’s stock closed Friday at $71.49.