Monday Business Briefing: UofL studies medical center enterprise; ‘Papa John’ on Jay Leno show; nurse openings lead job postings; and more

Welcome to the May 22 Monday Business Briefing, your private business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.

UofL is considering new medical center enterprise

Dr. Greg Postel

The University of Louisville is contemplating the creation of a more nimble university-affiliated academic medical center enterprise that can more quickly react to changes in the health care industry, Interim President Dr. Greg Postel said last week.

“The fact that KentuckyOne Health is making the changes that it is is just a good example of how quickly the health care world changes and why having a business like this like we’re discussing that deals just with the clinical enterprise can be very nimble and adapt to those kinds of very rapid and very dramatic changes.”

KentuckyOne announced May 12 that it planned to sell Jewish Hospital and other Louisville assets because of “significant challenges” in the health care industry. Late last year, KentuckyOne and the university said that they were ending their troubled joint operating agreement for University Hospital. The agreement began in 2012, and officials said at the time that the health care industry had changed dramatically since then and that it was best for all involved to dissolve the JOA.

The university’s board urged Postel to continue developing a proposal for the creation of the medical center enterprise, which, the university said, “would more closely align the interests of the university, University of Louisville Hospital, the University of Louisville Physicians and other professional activity of the university’s full-time clinical faculty.”

Postel said that process began before KentuckyOne made known its asset sale and likely would continue for a few months.

“We’re trying to do nothing more than make sure we run a really good business for our clinical enterprises,” he said. “As of today, KentuckyOne Health manages the hospital. That’s not going to be the case after the first of July.”

The university is exploring how to most effectively manage the hospital, physician group and other areas to continue its research, education and providing quality care, Postel said. Boris Ladwig

Papa John’s founder to appear on Jay Leno’s car show

Jay Leno seems to have been going for a fist bump. | Courtesy of Papa John’s Facebook

Papa John’s founder, John Schnatter, and his famous Chevrolet Camaro will be making an appearance on the new season of “Jay Leno’s Garage,” according to a Facebook post on Papa John’s page.

Papa John’s posted a couple of photos, including the one above, Thursday evening stating: “Pizza, laughs, and cars all around! Couldn’t ask for a Better Day at Jay Leno’s Garage with Gabriel Iglesias too!”

Presumably, the pictures weren’t taken yesterday as Schnatter attended the University of Louisville board of trustees meeting in person Thursday afternoon. However, Schnatter does have a private jet, so you never know.

“Jay Leno’s Garage” will return for its third season on CNBC on Nov. 9 at 10 p.m. The show features Leno talking and riding around on cars and motorcycles with celebrities and other guests. —Caitlin Bowling

Harvard study finds improved medical care and health among Kentuckians gaining coverage through Medicaid expansion

From the Harvard study published in Health Affairs

As Congress currently debates whether or not to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a team of researchers from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health have published a study showing that those gaining health coverage through Medicaid expansion in Kentucky and Arkansas had improved access to care and better self-reported health.

The study published in Health Affairs used survey data from people with low-income and chronic conditions who gained health insurance in Kentucky and Arkansas, compared to such people in Texas, where Medicaid was not expanded under the ACA. The researchers found that for such people in Kentucky and Arkansas, there was a 23-percentage-point increase in self-reported “excellent” health, in addition to a 41-percentage-point increase in having a usual source of care. They also found a significant increase in preventative health visits and glucose testing, as well as an average $337 reduction in annual out-of-pocket spending.

For those with a chronic condition, the coverage expansion was associated with an improved adherence to taking prescribed medication, more regular contact with physicians, more affordable care and better self-reported health.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in a few short years, Kentucky has had the largest percentage increase in its insured population, as only 6 percent are uninsured and the number of uninsured plunged by nearly 400,000 from 2013 to 2015. Joe Sonka

Data suggests labor market still tightening, but plenty of job postings for nurses

Courtesy of St. Louis Fed

The city’s labor market is continuing to tighten, according to local, state and national agencies.

The March unemployment rate for the Louisville metro area was 4.4 percent, down from 4.7 percent for the same time last year, according to the St. Louis Fed.

The rate fell in 336 of 388 metro areas in March, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

More than 10,000 jobs are available in Louisville, according to Kentuckiana Works, with about a quarter of those jobs requiring at least a bachelor’s degree.

The Fed had reported in April that several industries “continue to report shortages of available workers” and that “a manufacturing contact in Louisville noted upward pressure on wages in the region, with employers expecting to moderately increase wages.”

Kentuckiana Works said in its first-quarter report that the occupation with the greatest number of job postings by far is nurses. Boris Ladwig

Former Brownie’s sports bar in Highlands for lease

A ‘for lease’ sign only recently went up. | Photo by Sara Havens

More than a year after Brownie’s “The Shed” Grille & Bar closed its doors at 1578 Bardstown Road, the space finally has a for lease sign out front.

Dodwani Properties, which owns the space, has received a number of calls about the property but, as of last week, wasn’t in serious talks with any potential tenants. A new restaurant and bar seems like the likely tenant given that the space is built out to accommodate that type of business.

The sports bar and restaurant Brownie’s closed and was expected to reopen following renovations, but it never did, and a building permit for renovations was never issued.

Brownie’s owner Jason Brown said the location wasn’t profitable, and it became more cost-effective to remain closed despite still having to pay rent per the lease agreement.

“It was different than I anticipated,” he said of the Highlands location. “People want to drink out of plastic cups and sit on wobbly stools, that more hipster feel, I guess.”

Parking was the main reason that Brownie’s wasn’t successful on Bardstown Road, Brown said. “I think there are some great spots on Bardstown Road, but that place parking just kills you.”

He added that people don’t mind walking multiple blocks in the summer and spring, but business took a hit every winter. Why go to Bardstown Road, he said, when people can go to St. Matthews or Middletown where there’s ample parking.

The property located near Alta and Bonnycastle avenues isn’t as prime as people think, and rent is high, making it hard for businesses to do well, Brown said.

Brown noted the closure of the Tom+Chee restaurant just down the street from where Brownie’s operated a couple of times, hypothesizing that it was likely because of parking problems.

The Highlands Tom+Chee posted on its Facebook page in January that it closed after a pipe in its building burst. The company had closed its St. Matthews store the year prior; the site is now home to Highland Morning. —Caitlin Bowling

Highland Morning expanding St. Matthews location

Highland Morning St. Matthews is growing. | Courtesy of Highland Morning

Breakfast and lunch restaurant Highland Morning is nearly doubling the seating at its St. Matthews store, less than a year after it opened.

“Operations have been smooth in St. Matthews, and we have been received very, very well,” said Michael Coe, who manages day-to-day operations of Highland Morning.

The 54-seat restaurant, at 111 St. Matthews Ave., will add about 38 seats when Highland Morning takes over the 850-square-foot adjoining space. The storefront was formerly an appointment-only dress shop.

“We are excited,” Coe said.

Workers will update the former dress shop and cut a doorway in between the two spaces. The expansion is expected to open in mid-June, Coe said. He hopes the additional seating will help alleviate the wait times on Saturdays and Sundays.

Highland Morning in St. Matthews has hired three new employees and may hire three more to help run the growing restaurant, Coe said. —Caitlin Bowling

Local wedding planner starts new venture, featured in Martha Stewart Weddings

The wedding planning business was featured in Martha Stewart Weddings. | Courtesy of Lauren Chitwood Events

Businesswoman Lauren Chitwood has started a new corporate event planning company called Olio Event Group and moved both that and her wedding planning operations Lauren Chitwood Events to Germantown Mill Lofts. Olio and Lauren Chitwood Events are located at 946 Goss Ave., Suite 6101.

Chitwood offered event planning for corporations and organizations through Lauren Chitwood Events but recently decided to separate her wedding planning business from her more general event planning operations.

Lauren Chitwood Events recently received some national attention in the magazine Martha Stewart Weddings where she was interviewed for two pieces. One article was about attending a Mehndi party, a traditional Indian wedding event, and the other answered questions about who gets to make what decisions when parents are paying for a wedding. —Caitlin Bowling

Community Ventures moves Louisville office to Chef Space

Chef Space| Photo by Caitlin Bowling

Community Ventures has moved its primary Louisville location to new office space at Chef Space, the kitchen incubator in the Russell neighborhood. The firm helps people with small business and home loans.

Chef Space is one of its initiatives, which serves the dual role of supporting food entrepreneurs in West Louisville while also providing the community with a variety of fresh-food options.

Community Ventures also operates the Women’s Business Center of Kentucky, which will also relocate to that space.

Other programs include housing initiatives, New Markets Tax Credits, and Business Lending & Training. The firm says it has helped serve more than 1,500 people with housing services and 400 people with small business services in the past decade, according to a news release.

“West Louisville is a historically rich, culturally diverse part of Louisville’s downtown core,” said Kevin Smith, president of Community Ventures. “It’s important to the future of the neighborhood and the city for us to support the development of a sustainable and inclusive community in the Russell neighborhood. By moving our offices to the Russell neighborhood, we can direct even more resources to our development efforts in this community.”

Chef Space is at 1812 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd. The Community Ventures headquarters is in Lexington and there are three other offices across the state. —Melissa Chipman

Yum Brands appoints new board member

Christopher M. Connor was elected to the Yum Brands board Friday.

Connor, 61, recently retired from the position of executive chairman of the board of the Sherwin-Williams company. He also served as the company’s chief executive from 1999 to 2015. He remains chairman of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and serves on the board of the power management company Eaton Corporation.

“Chris’ executive leadership and global retail experience make him a strong addition to the Yum Brands board,” Robert Walter, the non-executive chairman of Yum’s board, said in a news release. “We are thrilled to have Chris join us during this exciting time for Yum Brands, as we continue to evolve as the restaurant industry’s leading global franchiser.”

The company also declared a $0.30 per share dividend for stockholders. —Caitlin Bowling