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.

Arcadia Apartments renamed amid major renovation

Construction is well underway on the renamed Arcadia Apartments. | Courtesy of Middleburg Real Estate Partners

The dilapidated Arcadia Apartment complex isn’t just getting major upgrades; it’s also getting new branding.

The complex’s new owner Virginia-based Middleburg Real Estate Partners has renamed it Vesta Derby Oaks, a nod to its proximity to the historic Churchill Downs. Middleburg purchased the low-income apartments in October for $9 million and is investing $16 million in renovations.

“Middleburg is excited to lead the transformation of this property, developing it from broken to something that is renewed, safe, welcoming and still affordable to the residents of this community,” Middleburg Property Management President Duane Wooldridge said in a news release.

Insider previously reported that each of the 413 units will get new windows, interiors, plumbing, HVAC, electrical and Energy Star appliances. The buildings will have new siding and roofs, as well as improved sidewalks and landscaping.

Those who currently live in Vesta Derby Oaks will be allowed to remain. A spokeswoman for Middleburg said 58 units, or about 14 percent, are occupied and despite a mid-2020 wrap-up timeline, new residents are expected to start moving into some units in March.

A least 200 of the units will be rented at workforce housing rates. Middleburg also plans to offer around 20 units to local heroes such as teachers, firefighters, police officers and EMTs at a discounted rate. Rental rates will be somewhere in the low to mid $700 range, the spokeswoman said.

Middleburg will receive up to $2 million in tax incentives from the city for the redevelopment, which has been lauded by nearby residents. —Caitlin Bowling

GE Appliances wants to hire your granny

Screenshot from GE Appliances website

Screenshot from GE Appliances website

Louisville-based GE Appliances said Thursday that it is looking to hire a grandmother for a one-year paid gig to help demonstrate the simplicity of new kitchen technology.

The appliance maker said that it was starting the nationwide search with a “Great American Grandma” competition at the Consumer Electronics Show.

The company said it is looking for a “big-hearted, age-defying, lives-life-to-the-fullest and brings-out-the-best-in-everyone kind of Grandma.” GEA said in a news release that it needs a grandma who can make people laugh, hasn’t touched a cookbook in ages, “believes in tradition but is anything but traditional,” understands that culture is passed on through shared moments, “won’t take ‘no’ for an answer when asking you if you’re hungry — and she’ll even let you lick the spoon.”

Applicants need only to provide a short video by March 15 to tell company officials why they should be chosen. The company said friends and family also can submit an application on grandma’s behalf by uploading interviews with their “squeezable, lovable, witty, cantankerous, fashionable, camera-loving, foodie, edgy matriarch.”

The winner will receive a $50,000 salary for a one-year, 10- to 15-hours per month job beginning March 15. She also will receive five brand-new, top-of-the-line GEA kitchen products. Boris Ladwig

Peerless Distilling Co.’s Caleb Kilburn promoted to master distiller

Peerless Master Distiller Caleb Kilburn | Courtesy of Peerless Distilling

Ever since Peerless Distilling Co. has been open on 10th Street, Caleb Kilburn has been behind the scenes working with the distillate, tweaking recipes and sampling as it ages in barrels, alongside father-and-son founders Corky and Carson Taylor. His most recent title has been head distiller, but basically, Kilburn is doing everything that falls under the duties of a master distiller.

To him, however, such a title was meant for his industry heroes and mentors — folks like Fred Noe, Jim Rutledge, Jimmy and Eddie Russell and Chris Morris, to name a few. Just this week, Kilburn has finally accepted the master distiller title from Corky Taylor. Taylor sent out a statement on Tuesday, Jan. 8:

“I am so proud to announce that Caleb Kilburn, our head distiller, has earned the distinction of master distiller. Caleb distilled our first barrel of bourbon on March 4, 2015. On Nov. 20, 2017, our rye whiskey was ranked 15th best whiskey in the world and No. 1 rye whiskey. On April 23, 2018, our rye whiskey was ranked No. 1 by Whisky Advocate again. …  I am honored to announce Caleb Kilburn as our master distiller.”

Kilburn has brought some new methods and non-traditional approaches to Peerless, no doubt processes and a work ethic he learned while obtaining a degree in chemistry and also being raised on a dairy farm in Salt Lick, Ky. In fact, Kilburn sees many similarities between farming and distilling, which he described online.

“There are no sick days, no vacations or days off,” he said on the Peerless website. “It is a full day of work every day of the year, and that really defined work ethic for me. I was always raised to do my absolute best at whatever I did and to take a real passion in it.” —Sara Havens

Kentucky wins $10.6 million to aid in early childhood education

Thanks to a federal grant, Kentucky now has $10.6 million to help educate its youngest learners, the state education cabinet announced Wednesday.

The one-year Every Student Succeeds Act Preschool Development Grant will be used to improve early childhood education systems for students under five years old, according to a news release. Disadvantaged students or those living in rural areas are most likely to see the most impact from the new funds.

“By enhancing our quality of resources and through expanded parental choice and engagement, especially among our most vulnerable children and families, we will continue our exciting progress,” Gov. Matt Bevin said in the release.

Kentucky is one of six states to receive the highest possible funding amount, according to the release. It is possible the state will receive additional funding in future years. —Olivia Krauth

GoWild app now connected to Garmin devices

The GoWild app is now compatible with Garmin products. | Courtesy of GoWild

Locally created outdoors and hunting app GoWild has a new agreement with Garmin that will allow users to track data such as automated archery shot counts, miles hiked on hunts and points of interest through Connect IQ-enabled Garmin devices. Users just have to download the GoWild Connect IQ app.

When describing some of the new capabilities in a news release, GoWild co-founder and CEO Brad Luttrell, said “It allows people to engage with and learn from an active community of archers. You can compare yourself to shooters who identify as your same skill level. And if users are tracking their progress through all of 2019, we’ll have some amazing analytics to share, such as total arrows shot, average yardage, average heart rate and how that compares to others.”

The GoWild app is a platform for hunters and anglers to share information, including favorite camping spots and recipes, as well as log their catches and kills and post photos. The new app enhances that.

“The app provides users the ability to showcase their outdoor passion to other outdoor enthusiasts in unique ways, whether it be from the hours spent practicing archery to scouting in preparation for a hunt,” Nick Kral, senior product manager at Garmin, said in the release. “In addition, this system offers individuals a never-before-seen view of their own outdoor skills through data point capture, giving users an opportunity to make technique improvements.”

An updated version of the app will soon offer navigation to marked points of interest and the ability to create a private map of those points. —Caitlin Bowling

Kentucky students win prize to amplify students’ voices

A group of Kentucky students is one of two winners of an award aimed at amplifying students’ voices in school decisions.

The Prichard Committee’s Student Voice Team will use the $50,000 prize to create a think tank to identify and solve issues impacting students.

It won’t be a physical think tank, a Prichard Committee spokesman said. Instead, it will help continue student-led school climate research and uplift minority students’ voices.

Pathway 2 Tomorrow, the grant provider, aims to develop “policy solutions that are responsive to the needs of states and local communities,” according to its website. A team in Iowa won the second award of $50,000.

“Among other things, this recognition will allow us to bolster our efforts to support students as education research, policy and advocacy partners in the work to improve Kentucky schools,” Rachel Belin, director of the team, said through a Prichard spokesman.

“In short, the Pathway Award will ensure Kentucky students continue to pioneer scalable models of student engagement in the work to make our schools the best they can possibly be.” Olivia Krauth

In Brief

The Impellizzeri’s Pizza location at 1381 Bardstown Road has closed temporarily for a remodel. The store is expected to reopen on March 1.

Diane Porter will chair the Jefferson County Board of Education for a second year, the board unanimously voted Tuesday. Chris Kolb will act as vice chair.
Visitors to Kentucky’s Capitol this legislative session will be restricted to the first and second floors of the building because of new security measures. Protestors, along with other visitors, will not be able to stand on the third floor or in the tunnel connecting the Capitol and its annex.

Earnings season is beginning, and Ford Motor Co., one of the Louisville area’s largest employer, will announce results Jan. 23. Stock Yards Bancorp will release results the same week. Most other major local employers, including UPS, Humana and Churchill Downs will post results in February.

Ford on Thursday announced that it will cut thousands of hourly and salaried jobs in Europe and may close some manufacturing plants altogether as part of its $11 billion restructuring plan, Bloomberg reported.