Monday Business Briefing: Humana shares continue slide; new East End nursing home; Germantown container homes; SuperChefs opening; and more

Welcome to the July 11 Monday Business Briefing, your private business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.

Humana shares slide further on antitrust worries

Humana HQHumana shares continued their slide due to antitrust concerns on Friday, falling another 3 percent on top of a near-10 percent plunge the day before.

While broader markets on Friday recorded solid gains — the S&P 500 rose 1.5 percent — the price of Humana stock fell as JPMorgan downgraded the Louisville-based insurer’s shares. According to CNBC, JPMorgan downgraded the stock “because of increasing expectations that the U.S. Department of Justice may block the pending acquisition.”

Aetna wants to buy Humana for $37 billion. The companies have said that the combined $115 billion company would offer better services at a lower cost. However, some opponents, including powerful legislators, have said they believe the merger would significantly reduce competition and lead to higher prices for employers and consumers.

Humana’s stock price had plunged nearly 10 percent Thursday after an antitrust trade publication reported that federal regulators have serious concerns about the proposed acquisition. Leaders from both companies were to meet with top officials of the DoJ, which is scrutinizing the deal to make sure it would not materially reduce competition.

Despite the increasing antitrust concerns, the spread of analysts’ expectations as to whether the merger will occur is pretty wide: For example, according to TheStreet, JP Morgan analyst Gary Taylor wrote in a research note that the firm pegged the chance for the merger going through at no more than 15 percent.

However, Leerink Partners analyst Ana Gupte told Reuters that she believes the deal has about an 80 percent chance of approval.

Early on Friday, Humana’s shares fell about 3 percent before recovering and moving into positive territory. But about 45 minutes after CNBC reported on JPMorgan’s downgrade, Humana shares slid 2.2 percent within 10 minutes.

For the day, Humana’s shares fell $4.59, or 2.82 percent, closing at 158.15 — though they fell another 0.41 percent in after-hours trading. At Friday’s close, the shares were about $3 above their 52-week low — and more than $34 below their 52-week high.

JPMorgan’ Taylor said that if the Aetna acquisition falls apart, “Humana shares have material downside” and could fall as low as $115. —Boris Ladwig

New nursing home planned for East End

A screenshot from Stonecrest's web page.

A screenshot from Stonecrest’s web page.

A Missouri-based nursing home company plans to build an 80,000-square-foot facility in eastern Louisville.

Stonecrest Senior Living, of Riverside, Mo., has filed preliminary paperwork with the city of Louisville to construct a “home for infirmed and aged” at 1105 Dorsey Lane, about a mile southwest of E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park.

The developer’s attorney, William B. Bardenwerper, of Louisville-based Bardenwerper, Talbott & Roberts, told Insider Louisville via email that the facility would include 84 rooms, including 27 for memory care and 57 for assisted living. The facility also would feature public and private dining, a fitness center, spa, salon, library and theater.

“This is the site we previously rezoned for a fitness center and assorted retail. But that was never built,” Bardenwerper said.

The developers and their attorneys have scheduled a public meeting for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 20, at the Middletown Fire Station, 10217 Shelbyville Road, to seek input from neighbors.

Bardenwerper said he expects more public hearings this fall, followed by actions from the Louisville Metro Board of Zoning Adjustment and the Lyndon City Council.

Bardenwerper could not be reached to provide more details, such as project cost and employment. Messages left for the developers were not returned late last week. The city employee who handles the case is on vacation. —Boris Ladwig

Germantown container homes working through approvals process

Container homes have started to gain popularity in the U.S. | Renderings by Foxworth Architecture

Container homes have started to gain popularity in the U.S. | Renderings by Foxworth Architecture

It’s been just under six months since IL first reported that Rick Kueber and Bella Portaro Kueber plan to build Louisville’s first shipping container homes in Germantown.

We decided to check in on the project’s progress, which is how we found out about this new restaurant the Kuebers are opening. Portaro Kueber said the couple has been focused on the new restaurant and that the approval process for the shipping container project has been inching along.

“It’s such a new project to us, it’s just taking its time,” she said. “It’s all going to happen. It’s just a lot slower process than any of us thought it was going to be.”

The project architect Mark Foxworth, owner of Foxworth Architecture, recently met with city planning officials, who said the shipping containers as planned need to be farther apart in case of a fire.

Original plans called for the shipping container development to be constructed on four parcels at the corner of Ash and Shelby streets, but Portaro Kueber said they are looking to acquire two additional connecting parcels, which would allow them to space out the containers more.

There is a house on one of the properties that may remain and be renovated to fit in with the shipping containers.

“We don’t want to move or tear down anything if it can be salvaged,” she said.

No matter what, the properties will need to be rezoned. Portaro Kueber said she isn’t sure when the project will go before planning officials for those approvals. She added that she hopes their development spurs similar projects around the city.

“It would be really great if, once we figure out all the rules, other people can kind of pick it up and run with what we know.” —Caitlin Bowling

Louisville restaurants recognized for their wine lists

Red_Wine_GlassWine Spectator, a magazine devoted to the fermented grape beverage, has released its list of top restaurant for wine lovers.

In Louisville, six restaurants made the cut — Corbett’s, An American Place; The English Grill at The Brown Hotel; Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse; Morton’s, The Steakhouse; The Oakroom at The Seelbach Hilton Hotel; and Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

In related wine news, Wine Enthusiast magazine announced its “100 Best Wine Restaurants of 2016” list, which included a local mention.

Chef Edward Lee’s 610 Magnolia was among the list of restaurants from around the country, many of which were located in New York and California. —Caitlin Bowling

Kickboxing franchisees plan four new locations in Louisville

9Round9Round logo, a kickboxing gym built on the power of a 30-minute high-intensity workout, is adding four Louisville locations. Each 9Round employs three to five part-time trainers

At least one of the locations is expected to open this fall.

That 9Round will be located at 9217 U.S. Highway 42 in Prospect and is the first 9Round for franchisee Melanie Rowan, who was compelled to open her own store after being a customer at another Louisville 9Round.

Rowan, who noted that she is 53, previously got bored with workouts and quit, but the 30-minute and ever-changing workout routines 9Round offers turned her into a regular exerciser again.

“I was kind of hooked,” Rowan said. “I am amazed how strong I am. I’m the strongest I’ve ever been. …I couldn’t do jumping jacks much less burpees. Today, I can do all those things.”

Rowan plans to open multiple locations but declined to say where she is looking.

Another 9Round will settle into The Schuster Building at 1512 Bardstown Road, at the corner of Eastern Parkway in the Highlands; that space was leased to franchisee DeDe Kelley by Florence Browne, a Realtor with Duncan Commercial Real Estate.

There are plans to open two other 9Round stores, one near Brownsboro Road and Lime Kiln Lane and another at Williamsburg Plaza, according to 9Round’s website. Rowan said that Kelley also will open those location.

Kelley did not return a call for comment by press time.

She and Kelley can operate in the same city because 9Round doesn’t sell franchising rights to any one person or entity.

“It’s smart for 9Round,” said Christy Raynor, a 9Round franchisee who operates the Middletown and Chamberlain Lane locations. “It would take a lot longer to build out. It is smart for them and smart for the brand.” —Caitlin Bowling

News is starting to trickle out about the next Maker Faire

U of L's boomerang rocket

U of L’s boomerang rocket

Mark the date: Maker Faire will take place on three blocks of Main Street (expanded from two blocks) on Saturday, Sept. 10.

Friends in the know say the Faire already has taken on some new sponsors and other sponsors are getting more involved. Fund for the Arts is on board as a sponsor. The Louisville Free Public library is upping its partnership, and more high schools have signed on for the event.

The call for makers is officially open. Sign up and read the rules here.

Last year’s event attracted between 6,000-7,000 people. Are we still calling this the “Mini-Maker Faire”? — Melissa Chipman

DC Comics creates Col. Harland Sanders comic book

A section of the Colonel comic book cover | Via Comixology

A section of the Colonel comic book cover | Via Comixology

KFC continues to switch colonels, but now the Louisville-based chicken chain is adding to the confusion. The latest version of the Colonel is a comic book hero, and there are multiple versions of him.

According to Paste magazine, KFC hired DC Comics to create a new comic book featuring the company’s founder Col. Harland Sanders.

Called “KFC: The Colonel Corps,” the free comic book takes place in a world of multiverses and tells the story of Sanders defeating his evil doppelganger from Earth-3. In order to do so, however, he must team up with 10 other colonels, including Bizarro Colonel and Teen Colonel, Paste reported.

Col. Sanders’ victory ensures that people in the future can enjoy fried chicken — a potential travesty if we ever heard one.

This is the second time KFC has paid to create a Col. Sanders comic book. The first one premiered last year and detailed Col. Sanders’ origin story.

The latest comic book is available on Comixology. —Caitlin Bowling

Forest Giant newsy bits

Bumped into Dave Durand of Forest Giant at Please & Thank You last week and asked if he had any new Forest Giant news. He said he didn’t really … and then proceeded to tell me two newsy bits from the innovative digital development and creative agency.

Looks like the Giants relocated to a bigger space just in time. The HQ moved from Butchertowne Point to a stunning office on Frankfort Ave. After a bunch of hires recently — and one pending — they’re about to hit 25 employees. This scrappy little creative company is no longer “little.”

Also, Forest Giant is sponsoring two 40-foot shipping containers to be set up at the next ReSurfaced in the fall. They will be outfitted as a community workshop. –Melissa Chipman

SuperChefs reopening set for July 15 in new location

The cover of the SuperChefs menu | Courtesy of Darnell Ferguson

The cover of the SuperChefs old menu | Courtesy of Darnell Ferguson

SuperChefs is nearly ready to reopen after a fire destroyed the small business earlier this year.

The superhero-themed restaurant is reopening on July 15, according to a news release, but it’s moved to 1702 Bardstown Road from its former St. Matthews home.

“In the moment, the fire in our St. Matthews location was devastating. In hindsight, it has allowed us to get to where we are now, and we are excited to be bringing SuperChefs back in a bigger and better way in the Highlands,” chef Darnell Ferguson said in the release. “We are beyond grateful for all the support we’ve received from the community since January, and we look forward to seeing both familiar faces and meeting new ones in our new location.”

In addition to original menu items such as the red velvet pancakes and the “Hulk” breakfast, expect to see some new dishes including a burger named after global humanitarian Muhammad Ali and seafood biscuits and gravy. Ferguson also will unveil a dinner concept for the Bardstown Road store in the coming weeks, the release states.

SuperChefs will celebrate its grand reopening at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, July 15, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. —Caitlin Bowling

Nikki Jackson to speak at next ‘100 Wise Women’ event


Nikki Jackson | Photo courtesy of 100 Wise Women

Nikki Jackson, leader of the Louisville branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, will speak on “what can happen when passion meets position” at the next “100 Wise Women” event. The speaker series is held at The Olmsted, 3701 Frankfort Ave., on the campus of the Masonic Homes of Kentucky on Thursday, July 28.

The Louisville Branch is focused on community development and education, as well as regional economic research and policy input. The branch covers Western Kentucky, Metro Louisville and Southern Indiana.

Jackson has previous leadership experience in both law and human resources. She also worked at Charter Schools USA.

The event starts at 8 a.m. with breakfast and networking. Tickets are $35 and are available online. —Melissa Chipman

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Executives names new leader

kcceLogoRGBThe Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Executives has hired Amy Cloud to serve as the business organization’s new executive director.

Cloud currently serves as CEO of the Jessamine County Chamber of Commerce in Nicholasville, Ky., and she is the immediate past chair of KCCE’s board of directors, according to a news release. Cloud has almost 10 years experience in the industry and in 2014 was named the chamber’s “Executive of the Year.”

“Amy has been a tremendous force in economic development and job attraction in Jessamine County,” KCCE board chair and Hardin County Chamber president Brad Richardson said in the release. “We’re looking forward to having her talents and deep knowledge at the disposal of chambers across the Commonwealth.”

Cloud’s first day will be July 25. She will replace Ali Crain, who is leaving for the U.S. Peace Corps in Morocco. —Caitlin Bowling

Nominate a nonprofit for the Center for Nonprofit Excellence’s Pyramid Awards

cnpeThe Center for Nonprofit Excellence is seeking nominations for the 16th annual Pyramid Awards through July 31. These awards recognize nonprofit organizations for their “awesomeness.” More specifically, the CPNE seeks to reward nonprofits for their contributions in six areas: collaboration, inclusion, governance, leadership, social innovation and vision.

Each of the recipients of the Pyramid Awards will receive a commemorative and financial award and will be recognized during a luncheon at CNPE’s annual conference on Oct. 26 at the Galt House Hotel – Rivue West Tower.

The nomination form asks the nominator to complete eight short-answer questions about the organization, including questions about the organization’s goals and impact.

The form is available here

For names of previous winners and descriptions of each category of the awards, click here. —Melissa Chipman