Welcome to the Feb. 25 Monday Business Briefing, your weekly business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.

Housing sales volume declines nearly 10 percent

Courtesy of Greater Louisville Association of Realtors

January is traditionally slow for home sales, and continued low inventory levels mean declines in home sales volumes compared to last year.

In the Louisville MSA, roughly 100 fewer homes sold in January 2019 compared to January 2018, a decline of 9.9 percent, according to numbers released by the Greater Louisville Association of Realtors. In Jefferson County, the decrease was lower at 8.4 percent, with 646 houses sold last month.

The average home price in both the MSA and Jefferson County rose. Homes sold for an average of $216,024, an increase of 4.2 percent, in the Louisville MSA and for $220,805, up 8.5 percent, in Jefferson County.

“We’re starting 2019 similar to how 2018 left off. Clean, correctly priced homes are selling well in most areas,” GLAR President Karen Story said in a news release.

Nationally, the housing market is expected to benefit from steady interest rates maintained by the U.S. Federal Reserve. —Caitlin Bowling

$5M gift from UPS launches leadership academy for UofL athletes

A $5 million donation from UPS will launch a leadership academy for student-athletes at the University of Louisville, the school announced Friday.

Through the UPS Leadership Academy, the gift aims to support sophomore student-athletes’ leadership skills. Athletes will learn about their individual leadership styles to succeed as “part of a team, classroom and community,” a news release said.

The first academy will include a keynote speaker and five workshops on a collection of leadership and goal-setting topics.

There’s also a larger networking push, hoping to connect student-athletes with former athletes and “some of the top leaders throughout the world in a variety of fields.” It could also lead to the creation of more “high-level internships” at UPS for student-athletes, the release said.

UPS donated $3 million to help expand Cardinal Stadium in 2009, giving the company naming rights for the upper deck of the stadium. In addition to the academy, the new gift will extend the naming rights behind “UPS Flight Deck” to continue for 13 more years. —Olivia Krauth

Food justice campaign targets small businesses

New Roots is known for its pop-up style Fresh Stop Markets that take place from May to November.

New Roots has initiated a campaign to seek 50 businesses to donate $50 a month to help provide families access to fresh, locally grown vegetables.

The Fifty for 50 campaign is aimed at small and micro-sized businesses that would be deemed “beet certified” for social justice for participating.

“We are looking to raise $30,000 from 50 businesses,” New Roots Founder Karyn Moskowitz said in a news release. “This total investment means you are making it possible for 225 fresh-food insecure families to access healthy food for the entire growing season, while at the same time helping small family farms in Kentucky thrive.”

Headquartered in the Portland neighborhood, New Roots operates pop-up style Fresh Stop Markets from May to November of each year, and it assisted 5,400 area residents last year.

The new campaign is the brainchild of Moskowitz and Barbara Eilert, owner of SAGE Marketers, an Oldham County company that already has started making contributions as part of the campaign.

After attending a forum hosted by Insider Louisville, Eilert said in the release, “I wanted to find a way for micro and small businesses like mine to help solve the food insufficiency problem so many people in our community face.”

In an interview, Eilert said she hopes that more people will think about the possible effects of hunger on individuals, from lackluster school performance to how they interact with others. “Think of how that affects the entire Louisville community.” —Darla Carter

Grand opening Thursday for community in eastern Jefferson County

A new assisted living and memory care community on Hunting Road. | Courtesy of Dominion Senior Living

Dominion Senior Living of Louisville will celebrate the opening of its first local assisted living and memory care community Thursday.

A grand opening and ribbon cutting will be held from 4-6 p.m. for the development, which is in Northfield at 6000 Hunting Road, near Holiday Manor.

The community, which covers 12 acres, includes 41 assisted living beds and 20 memory care apartments.

Residents will be able to get help with routine activities as well as any specific care or assistance needed because of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or other memory problems.

“We take pride in offering quality care and creating a compassionate atmosphere for our residents, and we are excited to bring Dominion to the Louisville area,” said Ian Shives, executive director of Dominion Louisville, in a news release.

Dominion now has a total of four of these kinds of facilities in Kentucky. —Darla Carter

Health care spending to continue to outpace GDP growth

Health care spending will grow at an annual rate of 5.5 percent through 2027, outpacing gross domestic product growth by 0.8 percentage points, according to new projections from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

CMS said that the rising expenditures are a result of long-observed economic and demographic factors, including the continued retirements of baby boomers as they move from employer-sponsored private insurance coverage to government-sponsored Medicare.

The dynamics also will mean that health care will play an increasing role in the economy, rising from 17.9 percent in 2017 to 19.4 percent by 2027.

“While Medicare spending is expected to accelerate the fastest among payers and contribute to the increase, growth in health prices and disposable personal income are also significant contributors,” said Andrea Sisko, an economist in the Office of the Actuary at CMS.

Between 2020 and 2027, national health care expenditures are projected to increase an annual average of 5.7 percent, while Medicare spending will increase by 7.6 percent, and Medicaid spending is expected to rise 6 percent. —Boris Ladwig

In Brief

Noodle shop Mirin will open its New Albany location,145 E. Main St., at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26.

Louisville-based Scoppechio is opening a new office in the Mills 50 district of Orlando, Fla. Kate Gray, CMO, told Insider that the firm plans to add 10 more people to its growing Orlando team by midyear. “We chose Orlando for our newest office location because we see alignment with our key portfolio strengths in tourism, restaurant, and health care – because those industries continue to fuel the local Orlando economy,” she said via email.

The Kentucky Derby Festival president Mike Berry plans to retire by the end of the year. He has held that post for over 20 years, according to KDF. Officials said details on the search for Berry’s successor would be announced on March 8.

C2 Strategic Communications has added two new employees — Tiffany Meredith, senior strategist, and Nicole Ares, social media strategist. The public relations and marketing firm has 14 employees after more than doubling its staff in two years.

High-intensity interval training fitness concept Shred415 will open its first Louisville location at 642 Baxter Ave. on Saturday, March 2, and will offer nine days of free classes from through March 10.

Delta Dental of Kentucky will offer three vision insurance plans as an additional line of coverage in 2019 through a partnership with VSP Vision Care.

Enterprise Corp and UofL’s Forcht Center for Entrepreneurship have chosen the following early-stage companies to participate in the third annual Revit — Accelerating Customer Growth event, which provides market advice: Autymate (formerly IBEX Software), Crypto Consulting Group, EZ-Chow, MobileServe and Regulation and Revenue (formerly NoticeOfIntent.com).

Fewer Kentucky adults are delaying or skipping dental care because of the cost, according to a recent Kentucky Health Issues Poll report. Twenty-six percent did so in 2018, compared to 37 percent in 2012 and 43 percent in 2009. The telephone poll is jointly funded by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Interact for Health.