Welcome to The Closing Bell. This is your last stop for biz scoops and big news before the weekend — a roundup of stories that can’t wait till Monday.
Tracy Beale’s Tab’s View shuts abruptly after a three-month run
Online lifestyle publication Tab’s View has closed, after reportedly struggling to garner enough advertising revenue to keep up with staffing and marketing costs. The site was founded by Tracy Beale (formerly Blue) after she abruptly was let go from The Voice-Tribune, which is owned by her ex-husband, Jonathan Blue.
“Team Tab” included seven staffers, including Beale, editor in chief Cameron Aubernon and two assistant editors. Most content was developed by freelance writers. Here’s the email that went out to those freelancers on Dec. 1.
Please be advised that Tab’s View will no longer be in operations. We appreciate your contributions and enjoyed working with each of you.
Please do not submit any more content to the backend, as we will be shutting it down immediately.
All payments will be issued within the next 10 days, including any work that has been submitted and not yet published.
Best of luck in the future,
The site operated out of a small but well-appointed office on Mary Street in Germantown. IL interviewed Beale there in August in advance of the site introduction. Beale said then that she wanted to “produce powerful, positive stories about life from different perspectives — what she calls ‘optimistic content.’”
The article said, “The T-A-B in TAB’s View are her initials, ‘but they’re also like the tabs on the website,” she says. ‘Everyone here is Team TAB.’”
Beale told IL the move would not be permanent and that she’s working with a new website designer. She said 2016 has been a rough year and she is going to spend the holidays contemplating the future of Tab’s View. Beale doesn’t plan to give up the mission of the site, but it may come back smaller, as advertising dollars weren’t supporting it as is.
“I’m not giving up my place,” she said about the office on Mary Street. When it comes to staffing, Beale said, “everyone’s been taken care of.”
Sources told IL Beale was largely supporting the site with her own funds and it was costing tens of thousand of dollars a month to keep it running and to market it, despite the fact that the editorial staff made only $10 an hour, one employee said. There were only 10 to 12 paid freelancers, according to the staffer, who added that some content was provided by advertisers, but the articles were not labeled as “sponsored content.”
Kentucky Kingdom will add rides and updates this year
Proving if you build it, they will ride it, Kentucky Kingdom plans to add several new rides and update existing rides and infrastructures before it opens in 2017. One such new ride is appropriately called Eye of the Storm and takes passengers around and around a seven-story loop in various rotations, inversions and directions. Yikes!
Eye of the Storm will become one of more than 80 options for thrill seekers at the theme park, which is owned and operated by Louisville businessman Ed Hart. Another major change will be an update to Thunder Run, the classic wooden coaster that has gotten a little bumpy and whiplash-y over the years. Park officials plan to install a new train and modify the track a bit.
“This new train replaces the original Thunder Run train first put into service in 1990,” said Bill Hargrave, Kentucky Kingdom’s vice president of construction, in a press release. “With its advanced technology, the new train, together with the track improvements, will give coaster enthusiasts a smoother and faster ride.”
Those improvements alone will cost half a million dollars.
A few other notable additions include more shade structures in the water park, more tables, chairs and benches, more ticket windows and an additional entrance into the water park.
Hart said his goal is to attract one million visitors with the new additions and modifications. Last year, the park attracted 800,000, a 60 percent increase from when Hart took over the park in 2009.
“Our approach has always been the same: to add new attractions for every age and thrill level, provide outstanding guest service in a safe and friendly environment, and offer prices the average family can afford,” Hart said in the release. “We take our role as a leader in the commonwealth’s tourism industry very seriously. With the hundreds of thousands of out-of-state visitors now coming to Kentucky Kingdom each year, the park not only helps fill local hotel rooms, but also helps boost attendance at other attractions, both locally and throughout the state.”
Yum China Holdings in talks to buy another Chinese business, offering stock to managers
Less than a month after becoming its own company, Yum China Holdings is in talks to buy a Chinese delivery company.
Reuters reported that Yum China was in talks to buy the food delivery services business Daojia for up to $200 million. The company hopes to compete with other restaurants as food delivery in China has grown in popularity.
A potential deal is still in the early stages, Reuters reported.
The possible acquisition, and aligning itself with the online payment services provider, Ant Financial Services Group, are part of Yum China Holdings plan to improve its sales in China and operate more than 20,000 stores in the populous country.
Also, Yum China Holdings announced this week that it planned to offer restricted stock units, valued at $2,000, to qualified general managers in its KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Little Sheep and East Dawning restaurants. Only general managers at company-owned stores are eligible for the stock incentive, making more than 6,000 managers eligible.
“Yum China has always had a principle known as ‘RGM#1’,” for its restaurant general managers, said Micky Pant, CEO of Yum China, in a news release. “Because they serve the most vital leadership role on the front line of our business, and the stock ownership program gives the opportunity to participate in the growth potential of this great company,” he added.
LouVino opening first out-of-state location
Wine and Southern small plates restaurant LouVino has expanded into Indiana.
Owners Chad and Lauren Coulter will open the doors on their new location at 8626 E. 116th St. in Fishers, Ind., on Dec. 13. The space will seat 120 inside and 30 on a patio.
The restaurant will serve dinner from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday, and 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday. In January, LouVino will expand its hours to include weekday lunch and weekend brunch.
Similar to the Louisville LouVino locations, the wine flights will be named after local celebrities, but the Fishers restaurant menu will feature celebrities from the Indianapolis area, including Peyton Manning and Axl Rose.
Former Bittners head takes over Louisville real estate company
Alagia most recently served as chief executive of Bittners and last year, she received her Realtors license.
“When Claire came to us a year ago with an interest in real estate, she was already famous for her leadership locally, her business acumen and her ability to lead a thriving business,” Brad DeVries, regional president and CEO for HomeServices of America, said in a news release. “Claire knows what it is like to work in the highly emotional and highly personal field of homeownership, and she knows everyone in town, which is paramount in this business. We couldn’t have asked for a better person to lead this company into the future.”
As general manager of Wakefield Reutlinger Realtors, Alagia oversees day-to-day operations and leading the firm’s 45 agents.
Alagia also serves on the boards of the Louisville Community Foundation, the University of Louisville Board of Overseers and Leadership Kentucky, as well as serves on Greater Louisville Inc.’s Executive Committee and the Bellarmine University Board of Trustees. —Caitlin Bowling
Louisville homebuilding association applauds state efforts to cut regulation
One of the first requirements eliminated regulated the height restrictions for plastic pipe plumbing systems on buildings, which developers have called onerous, according to a news release.
“The cast iron pipe regulation has hindered development in the commonwealth for decades,” Brian Evans, associate of development and construction of Cityscape Residential, said in a news release. “It has added thousands, and even millions, of unnecessary dollars to construction projects while providing no appreciable benefit to the owner, tenants, or the general public.”
A coalition of building industry leaders met with the governor’s staff, elected officials and employees in the Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction to review the regulation.
“This commonsense change puts the commonwealth on an even playing field with our neighbors and will spur investment and job creation across Kentucky,” Lee Weyland, operations manager of Weyland Ventures, said in the release.
Louisville-made Escape, Super Duty boost Ford sales
Strong demand for the Louisville-made Ford Escape and Super Duty helped lift Ford Motor Co.’s November sales. Ford said Thursday that it sold 197,574 vehicles last month, up 5.2 percent compared to a year earlier.
“Strong retail sales increases for both F-150 and our all-new Super Duty pickups drove F-Series above the 70,000 vehicle mark — a November threshold we have not seen in 15 years,” Mark LaNeve, vice president, U.S. marketing, sales and service, said in a press release.
The Super Duty is made at Kentucky Truck Plant.
F-Series sales in November were up 10.6 percent compared to November 2015, according to data released by Ford. Truck sales overall advanced 4.6 percent, to 88,027.
Ford said it also saw strong demand for well-equipped Super Dutys, which helped lift its overall average transaction price in November. The ATP was up $1,000 compared to last November, while the industry average increase is just $320.
SUV sales jumped 20.2 percent, to 60,079, thanks to strong demand for the Edge, up 32.2 percent, and the Escape, up 10.6 percent. The Escape is made at Louisville Assembly Plant.
Demand for Ford’s cars, however, fell by nearly 13 percent, to 40,039.
General Motors said its November sales improved 8 percent compared to a year earlier. —Boris Ladwig
The Park is named to ‘The 50 Coolest Co-Working Spaces’
Paste Magazine recently listed the 50 coolest co-working spaces in the United States and Louisville’s The Park made the cut. The magazine called it “one of the most exclusive on the list.” You must go through an application process after you’ve toured the facility.
The Park offers all kinds of workspaces from couches to booths to conference rooms to a patio with a firepit. There are huge windows and a green wall and a lot of natural light.
Access Ventures opened the facility in Shelby Park in 2014. Part-time membership is $60 a month and includes business mailing address, a personal locker, free coffee, snacks and a key card but doesn’t include meeting room access. If you want access to the meeting rooms the fee goes up to $100 a month. You can also purchase a day pass for $25. —Melissa Chipman
Wicked Sheets introduces a baby line
Louisville’s Wicked Sheets, fronted by entrepreneur CEO Alli Truttmann, has introduced a line of baby linens. Wicked Sheets uses innovative moisture-wicking and cooling components that the company hopes may appeal to parents worried about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Truttmann said in a news release, “SIDS continues to be a growing concern for parents and most of the research suggests that keeping your child’s bed cool and breathable may be a key factor in preventing these types of incidents.”
(The NIH advises parents not to let babies get too hot during sleep as one way of reducing the risk of SIDS.)
The adult linens from Wicked Sheets were marketed to people who had night sweats and hot flashes. According to a news release, “Wicked Sheets’ breathable fabric wicks six times more moisture than cotton sheets, dries four times faster, and is 2-3° cooler to the touch.”
The fabric for the baby linens includes a UV shield. “While designing the line, I spoke to many moms about their babies being hot. It occurred to me that the heat is often the result of sunlight exposure. Whether in the car seat, a stroller, or wrapped in a swaddle being carried around, I felt that the addition of the UV shield adds another reason to love what our products can do for your baby!” said Truttmann in a news release.
The Beaded Treasures Project gains a showroom
The Beaded Treasures Project helps refugee women become entrepreneurs through microcredit, instructional opportunities and other resources. Members meet on a regular basis for instruction and fellowship. The women produce and sell handmade jewelry and accessories and now they will have a showroom at 659 S 8th Street.
Surekha Kulkarni, a social entrepreneur and a jewelry designer, is the program director and founder. She uses her profits to support the program. The members are from all over the world, from Congo to Nepal to Iraq, she says.
The showroom is in a small building owned by Kulkarni’s husband, Suhas Kulkarni, who is an entrepreneur and the founder of Louisville Metro’s Office of Globalization. He retired last year, but continues to work with refugees through programs like RISE (Refugees and Immigrants Succeeding in Entrepreneurship).
The grand opening is Dec. 8, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Shoppers can find unique and beautiful Christmas presents and help support the refugee community in Louisville. —Melissa Chipman
Correction: Story was updated to clarify the number of freelancers previously working for TAB’s View.