Welcome to the Aug. 14 Monday Business Briefing, your private business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.

KentuckyOne leader: Jewish Hospital’s transplant program ‘strong’

A photo from the state’s first heart transplant, completed by a team at Jewish Hospital in 1984. | Courtesy of KentuckyOne Health

The interim leader of KentuckyOne Health has tried to reassure stakeholders about the health of Jewish Hospital’s transplant program, after a media report questioned its future in light of the hospital’s planned sale.

“Despite rumors, the Transplant Program at Jewish Hospital remains active and strong,” said Chuck Neumann, interim president and CEO of KentuckyOne, the health system that owns the hospital.

A story in The Courier-Journal last week had asked whether the program would survive the hospital’s sale. The answer: Maybe.

A day before the C-J feature, Dr. Peter Hasselbacher, a local health care industry observer, had continued his exploration into the hospital’s transplant program, saying that it has stagnated as the one at University of Kentucky Hospital has grown.

Jewish, a 462-bed hospital, performed 139 transplants last year, slightly more than the five-year average, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, a private nonprofit that manages the nation’s organ transplant system.

“We are proud of our transplant program,” Neumann said in message to stakeholders. “Honoring our 50-year legacy, we expect to reach significant milestones in 2017, including our 500th heart transplant and 3,000th kidney transplant.”

In May, KentuckyOne had cited “significant challenges” when it announced plans to sell the hospital and other nearby facilities to focus on a smaller footprint centered in central and eastern Kentucky. Jewish and other KentuckyOne facilities have been plagued by financial struggles that were exacerbated by the system’s recent separation from the University of Louisville Hospital, which had financially propped up KentuckyOne’s facilities.

KentuckyOne’s parent, CHI, is in merger talks with San Francisco-based Dignity Health. Combined, the systems operate more than 500 care centers, including hospitals, employ about 157,000 employees, including 13,000 physicians and generate annual operating revenue of $27.5 billion. —Boris Ladwig

Broadway in Louisville breaks season subscription record by more than 1,000

“Les Mis” returns in April.

Louisville loves its Broadway, and for proof, look no further than the successful PNC Broadway in Louisville organization, which has been bringing quality touring Broadway shows to town for more than 30 years. Just last week, the company announced that it had broken its season subscription record by more than 1,400 for the 2017-18 season.

This year, there are 13,450 season ticket holders, which surpasses the previous benchmark of 11,979 in 2015.

“Every year we put together a lineup of shows we hope will appeal to our broad audience base,” says Leslie Broecker, president of PNC Broadway in Louisville, in a press release. “It’s Louisville’s passion for theater that has made our series grow and break records, bringing thousands of people downtown.”

Since its start in 1980, the series has presented more than 2,600 performances for Louisville audiences. And since 1993, it has grossed more than $147 million, with an estimated economic impact of $485 million.

Up next for Broadway in Louisville is an impressive season that includes “Rent,” “Les Misérables,” “Chicago” and more. And “Hamilton” will be here for the 2018/19 season. —Sara Havens

New brunch and lunch concept opening in Rye

More details are expected in the coming weeks. | Screenshot of Lox Louisville’s Instagram

The culinary minds behind Rye are opening a brunch/lunch spot within the 900 E. Market St. restaurant.

The venture will be called Lox Louisville, according to its social media, it will open sometime in September. The concept’s Instagram account describes it as “Cured Salmon. Casual. Lunch & Brunch.”

It is fair to say Lox Louisville will serve up lox with cream cheese on bagels — likely among other dishes.

Given that Rye is a dinner-only restaurant, the two should be able to coexist peacefully, and the addition of brunch could be a boon given the two large apartment buildings opening nearby on Main Street and the AC Hotel under construction on East Market Street.

A spokeswoman for the Rye group said they weren’t ready to talk Lox Louisville yet but will have more information in the coming weeks. —Caitlin Bowling

Early bird pricing for digital conference through the end of the month

Wil Heuser

Through the end of the month, an early bird special of $50 off is available for the Louisville Digital Association’s Digital Crossroads conference Thursday and Friday, Nov. 2-3 at the Holiday Inn East in Louisville.

Last year, the event attracted around 200 people, and every year the conference has grown. This is the ninth year for the conference, the largest of its kind in the region.

“We’re once again stepping up our game,” said LDA president and (Insider Louisville employee) Christine Vaughan. “Several topics our community has asked for are coming to Digital Crossroads and we’ve again brought the top minds in the market to Louisville to learn from. From multicultural marketing to design theory and influencer marketing to corporate communications digital case studies, this year’s workshops and conference day will again give attendees great learnings and ideas to move their business forward.”

Early bird tickets for members are just $199 (normally $249) while non-LDA members get the $249 price for the early bird period, which ends Aug. 31. The full prices are $249 (members) and $299 (nonmembers).

Headline speakers include the Big Brother alum and digital videographer Wil Heuser; the author of “The Tao of Twitter,” Mark Schafer; and the design and strategy expert J. Dontrese Brown.

In addition to speakers, there will be panels and workshops and plenty of opportunities for cocktails and networking, of course. —Melissa Chipman

Volare Ristorante closing briefly for renovations

Joshua Moore is executive chef and partner at Volare Ristorante. | Courtesy of Volare Ristorante

From Aug. 27 through Aug. 30, Volare Ristorante will temporarily shut its doors to undergo a renovation.

It will be the first renovation the Italian restaurant has undergone in its 13 years at 2300 Frankfort Ave., according to a news release. Changes include new custom furnishing, lighting, a lighter wall color, new drapes and a custom glass separating Volare’s bar from its dining room.

Volare also will add some new dishes to its menu including new pastas and offer new small plates and craft cocktails at its bar.

“All of the changes that we are making provide for a more engaging quality guest experience, while at the same time introducing ourselves to a new generation of customers. It’s a natural evolution for Volare,” executive chef and partner Joshua Moore said in the release.

Volare will re-open for dinner service on Aug. 31 and will offer 13 percent off each guest check through Oct. 13 to mark its 13th anniversary. —Caitlin Bowling

IT business with big local clients changes name, business model

An IT business that has counted the local government, school district and University of Louisville among its clients has changed its name to better reflect its broadening capabilities.

Volta Inc., formerly known as DMD Data Systems, sells/leases IT equipment, manages data, disaster recovery and other IT services for public and private sectors.

Based in Lexington, the company has 23 employees in Kentucky, including five in Louisville, and two in Washington, D.C., who serve Volta’s fast-growing private sector business.

Marshall Butler

Volta President Marshall Butler told Insider that the name change came about in part because of changes in the industry and the company’s business model. For much of its history, which dates back to 1996, the company was essentially a reseller and service provider for IBM technology. In the last few years, however, Volta has branched out to sell, lease and provide services for other companies’ systems, including Cisco.

In addition, Butler said, companies like Volta used to generate revenue primarily by selling technology, but most customers today prefer leasing the technology and having it maintained by companies such as Volta. Customers pay Volta a monthly fee for the equipment and services, which takes maintenance and other aspects of owning the equipment off the customer’s plate, Butler said.

While companies’ IT systems increasingly are moving to the cloud, Volta primarily supports the legacy technology in which it has obtained significant expertise over the last two decades.

Volta generates about 70 percent of its Kentucky revenue from the government sector, but its growth on the east coast is driven almost exclusively by the private sector, including by clients such as Urban Outfitters and UnderArmour.

Volta projects to generate about 22 million in revenue for this year, with plans to double that in 2021, Butler said.

In Louisville, Volta has done work for Jefferson County Public Schools, UofL, metro government and private companies such as CafePress. —Boris Ladwig

Blue Equity moves into prominent Louisville office space

The tower is 40 floors tall. | National City Tower website

Louisville-based private equity firm Blue Equity has upgraded its office space, emphasis on up.

The company recently traded its office space at 333 E. Main St. for the 38th floor of National City Tower, 101 S. Fifth St.

Blue Equity moved partly for convenience, said Jonathan Blue, the company’s managing director. While its former offices were downtown, employees and leaders often had to drive to meetings in the more central part of downtown because it was just too far to walk.

“We were driving four or five times a day to our bankers and lawyers and restaurants,” he said.

The new location also puts the company closer to the KFC Yum! Center for basketball games. Blue’s Twitter handle is @1CardsFan.

“We entertain a lot at the Yum Center,” he said. “It is just a tremendous asset for us.”

The company is “doing a lot bigger deals,” Blue added, and upgrading to a prime downtown space with more amenities was logical.

Blue said he expects to have some “exciting” acquisition announcements coming in the near future that will bring more companies and jobs to Louisville. The businesses in the company’s portfolio employs close to 500 people in Louisville.

“Our whole goal and mantra is to bring international attention to our community,” Blue said. —Caitlin Bowling

No-slip headbands company raising money on Kiva

Judy Beyerle, the chief executive of Ponya Bands, is raising funds on Kiva. Poyna Bands are no-slip headbands and sweatbands made in Louisville.

Last year around this time, Beyerle let the staff of IL take a few for a test run, and the headbands and sweatbands received thumbs up. When she claimed they wouldn’t slip, she meant it. They’re so comfortable you almost forget you’re wearing them.

Beyerle is looking to raise a $10,000 micro loan from the Kiva community. She plans to use the money to increase her marketing, buy bulk supplies and expand into hats and visors.

“Our customer base has been asking for bamboo-lined hats and visors for several years,” Beryerle writes in her Kiva pitch. “The research has been done but the funds have not been available to make that request materialize. This would be a very well received addition to Ponya, and this amount would allow us to take the final step to make hats and visors into a reality. $2,800 will allow us to place an initial order for both products.”

The loan must be funded by Sep. 1. —Melissa Chipman

UK, UofL, IU rank in Top 10 of NCAA basketball attendance

The NCAA has released its attendance figures for the 2016-17 men’s basketball season, and Kentucky, Louisville and Indiana all ranked in the Top 10 in per-game attendance.

The Wildcats topped all NCAA Division I schools, with an average of 23,461 fans showing up to pack Rupp Arena. The Cardinals checked in at No. 3 overall, with an average attendance of 20,846. The Hoosiers came in at No. 9, with 16,363.

The Big Ten led all conferences in average attendance for the 41st consecutive season, averaging just over 12,000 fans per game. The ACC’s average attendance was 11,257, and the SEC was close behind at 11,080.

UK’s Rupp Arena has 25,000 seats, UofL’s KFC Yum! Center has 22,090 seats and IU’s Assembly Hall holds 17,222. —WLKY

In brief:

  • The biotech startup Apellis Pharmaceuticals, based in Crestwood, Ky., said it had secured $60 million in funding to help it with clinical trials of a drug that treats a rare, chronic, life-threatening blood disorder.
  • Kris Kimel, chairman and co-founder of SpaceTango, gets a mention in a Fast Company article, “Pack Your Microscope — Space-Based Medical Research Is Taking Off.” In it, Kimel, whose Lexington-based company runs automated laboratory facilities on the space station, says, “I think we can safely say that this really, truly is a new frontier in medicine.”