Monday Business Briefing: NuLu streetscape delayed, another VP leaving GLI, Russell orchard project planned, Green Building music venue, and more
Welcome to the Oct. 5 Monday Business Briefing, your private business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.
NuLu streetscape project delayed due to red tape
State and local “bureaucracies” are holding up the NuLu streetscape project, according to landscape architect John Carman.
Construction on the project originally was set to begin this December but now won’t begin until the second quarter of next year, said Carman, owner of Carman Landscape Architects, which designed the streetscape.
“At least we are moving forward,” he said. “It is frustrating from the designer’s standpoint, but it is becoming more of an everyday fact of life that we have to be more patient.”
The project is moving through similar approval channels as the Ohio River Bridge Project, Carman said. And that took years and years.
The $13 million in funding from the state of Kentucky and the Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District is still in place for the streetscape project. Now, they are working on plan approvals from various agencies and to make sure the scope of the project fits the budget.
At last look, the streetscape project included wider sidewalks, medians with trees, a leisure bike path, street trees and “social hubs.” A social hub is a miniature park with seating, shade and artwork.
However, some aspects could be cut if money is tight.
According to Carman, the architects will reach out to the public again for input on the streetscape design before final approvals and construction.
Although the process is taking longer than anticipated, NuLu Business Association president Gill Holland said he believes the end result will be worth the wait.
“While it is taking longer than anticipated,” Holland said in an emailed statement, “NuLu is excited to get started on this innovative sustainable streetscape design collaboration with the state and MSD, which we think will garner national attention and be emulated throughout the country.” —Caitlin Bowling
Yet another executive leaving Greater Louisville Inc.
We’re starting to sound like a broken record. And, guaranteed, as soon as we can get someone from GLI on the line, they’ll say, “No big deal. Happens all the time. Nothing to see here, folks.” Because they always do.
This time the big news is that Susan Overton, vice president of marketing and communications for the chamber of commerce, is departing on Oct. 9. She confirmed to IL she is “leaving GLI for another opportunity.”
A source close to GLI tells us two more staff departures are forthcoming, though we could not confirm as of this posting.
So what’s going on over at GLI? As we noted back in August, when Terry Gill resigned from his post as vice president of GLI’s entrepreneurial arm, EnterpriseCorps, the chamber has shed some high-level staff members at a pretty quick clip.
When IL broke the news of Gill’s exit, GLI CEO Kent Oyler explained the situation thusly: “GLI always has and continues to attract top talent, and at times our staff members are recruited away.”
In addition, James Reddish, VP of economic and workforce development, left for Chicago in May due to his wife’s job being transferred. A large majority of top execs at the chamber are new in the last year.
Upon learning of this latest departure on Friday, we hit up GLI for a comment but haven’t heard back. But I think we know what they’ll say: “Congrats to Susan. Things here are ducky. Move along.” — Melissa Chipman
Mightily digital agency lands some cool new clients
Mightily, helmed by the mighty President Pip Pullen and CEO Lisa Seibert, dropped a little note in our inbox this week to let us know they’ve nailed down two new clients and one to be named later.
One Southern Indiana has chosen Mightily to work on their branding. They’re the SoInd equivalent to our GLI — the economic development/chamber of commerce thing. Mightily is a member of 1SI, a requirement when the chamber put out a request for proposals for the gig. According to 1SI spokeswoman Suzanne Ruark, nine of the chamber’s 14 member businesses that build websites submitted proposals. “Three of those were chosen to give presentations to a committee of staff and board members,” Ruark explained, “and Mightily was chosen from that pool.”
Next up is Crosley, the vintage-inspired turntable, radio, phone and jukebox maker. This Louisville-based company is experiencing quite a revival now that everyone is back into vinyl (although I’ve heard we’re moving on to cassette tapes, am I right?). We even have one in the office. It’s orange, of course. It’ll be interesting to see what Pip and his crew will do for Crosley.
Nonprofit planning orchard and garden in Russell
Louisville Grows has made it its mission to start gardens and small fruit orchards around Louisville, providing greater access to fresh foods.
The nonprofit already has two orchards in the Portland neighborhood as well as two combination community gardens and orchards. One is located in Portland and the other is in Shawnee.
Louisville Grows now is branching into the Russell neighborhood with plans to create a community garden and orchard at a 0.165-acre site at 437, 439 and 441 S. 30th St., just across from the proposed sustainability development the West Louisville FoodPort.
The garden and orchard also will include gathering spaces, art, a place for people to learn about growing their own fruit trees and produce, and a shipping container for storage space. In addition to growing fresh produce, the space may be used for events such as poetry readings or musical performances, said Valerie Magnuson, executive director of Louisville Grows.
“Our long-term vision is community green spaces in every neighborhood,” Magnuson said. “The goal is to provide a free source of nutritional food.”
Louisville Grows’ latest project is part of Louisville’s new Reuse & Revitalize, or R-Squared, 40212 Initiative, a reiteration of its Lots of Possibility program that focuses on reusing vacant and blighted properties in Russell and Portland.
The total budget is $30,000. Develop Louisville, the city’s land development arm, will fund the entirety of the project, Magnuson said.
Starting this fall and winter, Louisville Grows will plant 40 fruit trees that are around three and four years old. In a year, they will begin producing fruit that residents can enjoy, she said.
Louisville Grows also takes cuttings from its fruit trees that allow them to grow more trees in the nonprofit’s greenhouse. Those trees are then given to people in the surrounding neighborhood so they can plant them in their own yard.
Magbooth moving into yet another market
The Louisville-based Magnolia Photo Booth Co. started as a two-man operation back in 2007. Entrepreneurs Peter Tower and Daniel Sanders constructed a photo booth for a friend’s Oaks Party that year, and it was such a huge hit, that requests from family, friends, acquaintances and ultimately total strangers started rolling in.
Much has changed since the prototype booth was built: Not only can you find a Magbooth at most of the hip and happening events around town, the company now has a presence in a total of eight cities, including the recent addition of Seattle, its first new market entry in four years. Other cities include Austin, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco — essentially all the cool cities.
The NuLu-based biz now has 55 employees (10 full time) nationwide, and is one of the top independently owned photo booth companies in the country.
In recent years, Magbooth has refined the technology used in its booths with the help of Louisville app and web development firm Forest Giant. For example, users now can immediately share pics via email or social media, which is awesome (unless, of course, excessive cocktails lead to bad photo booth decisions — it happens).
Galaxie to add music venue, event space
Come spring, NuLu’s new bar Galaxie will add a music venue to its business operations.
The bar opened in The Green Building, 732 E. Market St., in August. While it does serve a limited menu, Galaxie was created mainly as a bar and late-night hangout for visitors to NuLu.
Galaxie’s owner rented the entire first floor of The Green Building on Market Street and has booked the art gallery and atrium space for dinners, weddings and meetings. And they are looking to make use of the building’s back courtyard by installing a stage, sound system and projector.
“Hopefully down the road we will turn it into a concert venue and satellite operation from Galaxie,” said co-owner Doug Petry.
He estimated that the capacity is between 150 to 200 people. Plans are still preliminary, and Petry said he has not considered what type of shows the venue will host.
People who attend the Louisville Cocktail Competition at The Green Building on Oct. 11 will get a good gander at the space during after-party hosted by Galaxie.
Zoning board to decide if liquor store can have an outdoor drinking space
A rather unusual case is headed before the Louisville Board of Zoning Adjustment today.
Typically, the board hears arguments about variances and waivers on proposed developments and decides whether to change a property’s zoning. However, today, the board will find itself dealing with a question of where people can consume alcohol.
The Liquor Palace store, located at 5013 Poplar Level Road, received a notice of violation from Louisville’s Department of Codes and Regulations in June for having a non-permitted beer garden, according to city records.
The garden is a 1,645-square-foot enclosed outside patio with picnic tables and umbrellas, a portable toilet and tent awning seating where customers can enjoy a drink.
City code enforcers say it is illegal, but Liquor Palace is challenging that decision, saying a 1996 decision by the Board of Zoning Adjustment allows for the store’s patio.
The argument comes down to matter of what was intended and what was said.
In 1996, the zoning board permitted nonconforming rights that allow on-premise drinking of alcohol at a liquor store. The meeting minutes from 1996 use the words “to allow on-premise drinking of alcoholic beverages,” but a legal advertisement about the case uses the verbage “to allow drinking in a liquor store.”
Liquor Palace is arguing that the nonconforming rights includes its outdoor patio, while code enforcement staff believe the zoning board intended on-premise to mean inside the liquor store only.
Breaking down BizFirst’s ’40 Under 40′ by the numbers
While flipping through Business First’s “40 Under 40” list this year, checking for some of my entrepreneur friends (nearly all of whom are significantly under 40), I noted there were only three entrepreneurs out of the 40 folks listed. Surprising, considering how visible and large the entrepreneurial community is here in Louisville.
Here are a few more numeric takeaways from the makeup of the chosen 40 — not good or bad, necessarily, just noteworthy:
The list includes eight people from the healthcare industry. That’s the most represented field on the list.
Big-biz executives is next with six.
Not represented on the list at all? The arts. Not a single person from a single arts organization. Unless you count an architect, which is kind of artsy.
Loui Loui adds new menu options, lunch buffet
Detroit-style pizzeria Loui Loui’s in Jeffersontown is looking to appeal to calorie conscious customers and people on the go.
Loui Loui’s is known for its square deep-dish pizzas, but after receiving some customer feedback, the restaurant has added flatbread pizzas and other lighter entrees to its menu, according to a news release.
The restaurant’s Cuban, Nolita, BBQ Chicken and El Taco Loui pizza are available as flatbread pizzas. Loui Loui’s also has added a “lighter option” section with Italian stuffed chicken, Tuscan rubbed salmon filet, and spinach and ricotta manicotti.
While the flatbread pizza is for customers looking to eat light, Loui Loui’s has added a lunch buffet from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday for customers on the go. For $7.99, customers can fill their plates with salad, the pasta of the day, pizza and dessert.
“The lunch buffet is for customers who are looking for quality food without the wait,” owner Mike Spurlock said in the release. —Caitlin Bowling
Correction: The original version of this post incorrectly stated that Mightily was not a member of One Southern Indiana. In fact, the organization has 1,060 members from BOTH sides of the river. IL regrets the error.