The Closing Bell: Gravely Brewing nears finish line; botanical garden receives $1M gift; low-wage jobs are a drag on savings; and more

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.

New Louisville brewery nearing the finish line

Nathaniel Gravely and Corey Buenning, co-owners of Gravely Brewing Co. | Photo by Kevin Gibson

Gravely Brewing Co. is expected to open in just a few short weeks.

“We are about 85 percent there,” said Nathaniel Gravely, co-founder of Gravely Brewing. “We’ve got a little bit to do but nothing major.”

Gravely is opening the brewery with brother-in-law Corey Buenning, who previously brewed beer at Snake River Brewing in Wyoming.

There’s still some painting to be done, the floors need sealing and they have to finish up the bar back space, Gravely said.

Despite opening months later than they’d hoped, he said renovations had been “pretty painless” and the project was under budget – though it’s still a multimillion-dollar investment.

“We’ve had some speed bumps here and there, but nothing substantial,” said Gravely, who described himself as eagerly optimistic.

The brewery equipment was delayed getting to Gravely Brewing and a problem with the gas line popped up, he said, but it made people really pay attention to the finer details to ensure everything is working correctly.

Insider Louisville reported earlier this week that the brewery now had an exclusive partnership with the Mayan Cafe, which is opening its Mayan Street Food truck. The food truck will park outside of Gravely Brewing at 514 Baxter Ave. Monday through Saturday and offer dinner service.

The brewery also will serve partly as a music venue with the duo already booking bands.

Gravely Brewing will employ 20 to 25 people, and its tentative hours of operation are 11 a.m. to midnight. However, Gravely said, they may stay open a little later on the weekends.

First on tap will be a session IPA, a Hefeweizen, an IPA, an amber lager and a Mexican lager. —Caitlin Bowling

Botanical garden gets $1 million donation

The educational center is first on the list for construction. | Courtesy of Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government

The nonprofit behind the creation of a 23.5-acre botanical garden has gotten help from another nonprofit.

The Sam Shine Foundation has donated $1 million to the Waterfront Botanical Gardens, bringing the project closer to reality. So far, nonprofit Botanica has raised $5.7 million for Phase 1 of the development, which is estimated to cost $6.2 million.

The first phase will include the Graeser Family Education Center sponsored by Nancy and Emil Graeser; education gardens including an edible garden, water filtration garden, pollinator garden and natives garden; a woodlands garden pathway connecting the site to Beargrass Creek; a driveway and 75 parking spaces.

The education center will offer programming space for students and a 250-person event space. It is expected to open in Spring 2019.

A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Sept. 15 at 10 a.m. at the intersection of River Road and Frankfort Avenue. —Caitlin Bowling

Mussel & Burger Bar in the national spotlight again

This burger requires more than two hands to take down. | Courtesy of Mussel and Burger Bar

Louisville restaurant Mussel & Burger Bar will get some national attention for the third time.

A Travel Channel crew will be in Louisville on Wednesday to tape a segment for the show Food Paradise that highlights “must-see eateries across the country where a one-of-a-kind dining experience can be had.”

Mussel & Burger Bar fans will have a chance to be a part of the taping at the 113 S. 7th Street location in downtown Louisville. Seating will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. The show will start taping after 11 a.m.

“We really can’t wait to have the Travel Channel here with us. The whole Mussel & Burger Bar team is beyond thrilled to be featured, and we are eager to bring even more spotlight to one of the hottest food cities in America, Louisville,” Chef Fernando Martinez, co-founder of the Olé Restaurant Group, said in a news release.

The show airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. It’s unknown when the episode with Mussel & Burger Bar will premiere.

Mussel & Burger Bar also has been featured Food Network’s Burgers, Brew & ‘Que and Ginormous Food. —Caitlin Bowling

Airport authority reappoints board leadership

Mightily CEO Lesa Seibert | Courtesy of Mightily

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has appointed three officers on the Louisville Airport Authority board of directors to another term.

Former Brown-Forman executive Jim Welch will serve as chairman of the board. He’s been a board member since 2009 and held the chairmanship since 2014.

Mary Rose Evans, who has served as vice chairwoman since 2015, will take up that mantle again. Evans, the mayor of Parkway Village, has served on the board since 2002.

Mightly founder, Lesa Seibert, rounds out the top board officials, holding the title secretary-treasurer. She has held the position since 2013, the same year she joined the board. —Caitlin Bowling

Long John Silver’s moves its headquarters

Long John Silver’s logo | Photo by Caitlin Bowling

Fast food seafood chain Long John Silver’s is moving out of its current headquarters at 9505 Williamsburg Plaza.

The Louisville-based restaurant company will now lease 21,920 square feet at Ormsby Two, located in Forest Green Office Park. Long John Silver’s will relocate to Suite 300 beginning fall of 2017.

“We were searching for a space where we could consolidate our team in one place and create a collaborative work environment that accommodated our corporate culture and our long-term needs,” Forrest Ragsdale, senior vice president and chief legal counsel for Long John Silver’s, said in a statement. “Long John Silver’s has a great many things on the horizon, like new products, new branding and new stores, and we think this new office will help us provide our customers a great experience when they visit our restaurants.”

Marc Barlow of CBRE represented the landlord, and Brooks Hower and Woodford Hoagland of Hoagland Commercial Realtors represented Long John Silver’s. —Caitlin Bowling

Stock Yards, Porter, UPS, Churchill Downs, Ford report higher profits

Companies with an importance to the Louisville community have begun reporting second-quarter earnings, and many reported greater profitability.

  • Stock Yards Bancorp on Wednesday reported net income of $10.6 million, up 4.9 percent from a year earlier, thanks in part because income from deposits spiked by more than 51 percent, to nearly $1.5 million. Shares on Wednesday fell 3.8 percent, to $35.70, but had recovered almost all of that loss by noon Thursday.
  • UPS planes at UPS Worldport in Louisville.

    UPS, Louisville’s largest employer, said Thursday that second-quarter profit rose 9.1 percent, to nearly $1.4 billion, thanks to greater profitability in its U.S. Domestic Package and Supply Chain & Freight divisions. Revenue in the domestic unit rose 8.1 percent, but profitability jumped 13.1 percent. However, shares were down 4 percent through 12:30 p.m. Thursday, and Marketwatch said that investors are looking for indications that “there is space for raising prices.”

  • Porter Bancorp said Wednesday after market close that its net income, at $1.7 million, rose nearly 70 percent, thanks primarily to lower expenditures. Litigation and loan collection expenses, for example, were at $40,000, down from $271,000 in the second quarter of 2016. Non-interest expenses as a whole fell by about $1 million. Shares through midday Thursday were at about $10.62, up nearly 1.1 percent.
  • Churchill Downs reported Wednesday evening after market close that its quarterly net income rose 12.2 percent, to $78.3 million. Revenue rose in racing, casinos and Twin Spires segments, but fell in the Big Fish Games unit. Operating expenses changed little. Shares on Thursday morning traded at about $191, up nearly 3 percent.
  • Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday that net income rose 3.5 percent, to just above $2 billion, and that revenue, at nearly $40 billion, improved 9.3 percent. However, the automaker also said that it expected lower profitability in the second half of the year, which sent shares lower. —Boris Ladwig

Report: Low-wage jobs drag on Kentuckians ability to save

Courtesy of Pixabay.

Nearly 40 percent of Kentucky households have so little savings that if they lost a significant portion of their income they could not live at the poverty level for even three months, according to a report from Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Prosperity Now.

“Despite an unemployment rate that has ticked downward and an overall improved economy, large numbers of Kentucky families continue to struggle in low-wage jobs that don’t allow them to save for a more prosperous future,” the organization said in a press release.

Prosperity Now’s new Scorecard ranks Kentucky at 38th among the 50 states in financial security. That’s up from 44th the year before.

The latest report shows that 43.8 percent of households in Kentucky “did not set aside any savings for emergencies in the past year,” Prosperity Now said. That’s on par with the national average.

The agency said that a major part of the problem is the high share of Kentuckians who work in low-wage occupations: More than a quarter of Kentucky jobs are in low-wage occupations, “many of which do not provide workers with a reliable stream of income.”

The situation is even more dire for households of color: While 16.5 percent of white households live below the poverty line, about 26.4 percent of households of color do.

Nationally, 28.2 percent of white households have virtually no savings. The share for black households is 56.7 and for Latino households is 60.7.

“Beyond providing a cushion to get families through emergencies, increased savings and wealth allow families to invest in their futures and gain ground for future generations,” said Andrea Levere, president of Prosperity Now. “It’s clear that far too many people are stuck in economic limbo. They may be getting by, but they aren’t getting ahead.”

The findings are in line with those of MIT economist Peter Temin, who said this year that the American economy had regressed to the point that it mirrored those of developing countries. The U.S. economy today suffers from a “class schism” in that “upwardly-mobile, skilled workers” take part in one economy, and “subsistence workers” muddle through the other, Temin said. —Boris Ladwig

Advanced Business Solutions identifies expansion site

Mark Lewis

Louisville-based IT support company Advanced Business Solutions has identified a location for its planned move and expansion: 1801 Payne Street in the Clifton neighborhood.

President Mark Lewis told Insider that the company had a purchase agreement on the property and planned to build a 33,000-square-foot facility with two floors.

He said that while some regulatory hurdles remain, he hopes to move in next summer, occupying the ground floor, with room to expand on the second floor.

ABS provides small and large businesses with services ranging from server installation to cloud hosting and cybersecurity. The company employs about 70, and Lewis had told Insider in April that growth in the IT industry had generated more business for ABS. The company has seen annual growth of about 20 percent in the last three years and has outgrown its current 6,000-square-foot office at 2908 Brownsboro Road.

Lewis had said that he wanted to move the business to an area just east of downtown, near NuLu and the major arteries of the city. He held an informational meeting Monday with neighborhood stakeholders. —Boris Ladwig

In Brief

Amazon Jobs Day is coming Aug. 2. For job seekers in Northern Kentucky, the fulfillment center in Hebron will be holding tours from 8 a.m.-noon. The company says it is hiring part-time and full-time workers on the spot. Amazon reportedly is seeking to fill 50,000 positions in the United States.

Greater Louisville Inc. has named Hilliard Lyons Chairman and CEO Jim Allen as its chair-elect of the board. Allen’s term will begin next year.

Passport Health plans to expand its proposed health campus on the city’s west side. The nonprofit spent nearly $1.2 million to acquire the Greatest Car Wash at 2014 W. Broadway.