The Closing Bell: Two restaurants opening, another closing; new owner for nursing homes; food port funding update; Louisville-made Ford sales booming; 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.

Custom printing company, two restaurants hosting grand openings this month

Slice will be an 1980s-themed deli. | Courtesy of Slice Facebook

Slice will be an 1980s-themed deli. | Courtesy of Slice Facebook

In addition to Southern restaurant Red Barn Kitchen, three other Louisville-grown businesses will mark grand openings in July.

The first is Slice, an ’80s-themed deli opening at Second and Oak streets in Old Louisville. The restaurant is the latest venture for Matt Davis, owner of Lil Cheezers.

Slice will sell sandwiches, wraps, salads and smoothies, among other items, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Two days after Slice debuts, CafePress, an online company that custom prints designs on everything from T-shirts to car accessories, will host a ribbon-cutting for its new headquarters at 11909 Shelbyville Road. The event will be held at 2 p.m. July 14, and attendees will be able to tour the new offices.

Unlike its previous headquarters, the new 25,000-square-foot offices will be more open and collaborative, CafePress CEO Fred Durham previously told IL.

A week later, Louisville restaurant LouVino will celebrate the opening of its second restaurant.

LouVino, a wine bar and tapas restaurant, opened its first location on Bardstown Road in July 2014. Its new store, located at 11400 Main St. Middletown, will officially open on July 20.

To start, the Middletown store will serve dinner Tuesday through Saturday and brunch on Sunday. A few weeks later, it will add lunch hours Tuesday through Friday and a Saturday brunch.

According to its website, LouVino already has plans to open a third restaurant, which will be located in Fishers, Ind. near Indianapolis—Caitlin Bowling

New owners for two Louisville nursing homes

Two Louisville-area assisted living facilities with a combined 145 rooms have new owners.

Elmcroft at Oaklawn, 100 Shelby Station Drive, and Elmcroft of Valley Farms, 10201 Valley Farms Boulevard, have been acquired by Capital Health Group, a joint venture between Dallas-based Hunt Realty Investments and the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.

The facilities previously were owned by Senior Care US Holdings.

The Oaklawn facility, about 17 miles east of downtown Louisville, has 102 licensed assisted living and memory care beds and was 99 percent occupied at the time of sale, according to Cushman & Wakefield, the real estate services firm that represented the seller in the transaction.

The Valley Farms facility, about 15 miles south of downtown Louisville, has 31 assisted living and 34 memory care units. It was 85 percent occupied at the time of sale.

Both facilities were built in 2012.

The Tampa Bay, Fla.-based executive of Cushman & Wakefield who represented the seller could not be reached Thursday afternoon, and a message left for Capital Health Group was not returned. Insider also was unable to reach leaders of the two local facilities to gauge the impact of the sale on the facilities’ residents.

According to Bloomberg, Capital Health Group provide equity for acquisitions of senior housing facilities and joint ventures to buy distressed or turnaround properties. —Boris Ladwig

West Louisville FoodPort nearly 70 percent funded

A rendering of the West Louisville FoodPort. | Seed Capital Kentucky

A rendering of the West Louisville FoodPort. | Seed Capital Kentucky

With the pledge of a $1 million challenge grant from James Graham Brown Foundation, nonprofit Seed Capital Kentucky has raised almost two-thirds of its funding goal for the West Louisville FoodPort.

The foundation will kick in the $1 million once Seed Capital raises $8 million of its $9 million, according to Caroline Heine, the nonprofit’s co-founder.

Notably, the James Graham Brown Foundation also was among the first funders of the project, giving $1 million in 2015, according to a news release about the gift.

“The James Graham Brown Foundation has exhibited extraordinary leadership in its support of the West Louisville FoodPort. They recognize the importance of supporting economic development in West Louisville, and in providing funding for innovative capital projects,” Stephen Reily, co-founder of Seed Capital, said in the release. “The original gift was crucial for us to be able to make the progress we have made to date. This second gift, a challenge grant, will help take us across the finish line.”

The $9 million, along with private corporate dollars, New Markets Tax Credits and debt, will fund the creation of the more than $56 million food port. The nonprofit hasn’t received any New Markets Tax Credits, at least as of yet. Heine said they expect to hear later this fall if they received any tax credits.

If you haven’t heard of the West Louisville FoodPort by now, read this.

The food port project also was recently awarded a $125,000 grant from the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence, a $500,000 gift from a private donor, and $250,000 gift from Eleanor Bingham Miller.

Construction workers are expected to break ground on the West Louisville FoodPort this fall. —Caitlin Bowling

El Camino plans bash for its final day on Bardstown Road

El Camino's last day is July 14. | File photo

El Camino’s last day is July 14. | Courtesy of El Camino

The Southern California-style Mexican restaurant El Camino will celebrate its last day on Bardstown Road in its own unique style.

El Camino plans to host a pig roast, something its done as a regular Sunday night special for a while, and an all-you-can-eat buffet. The “blow out” will start at 5 p.m. Thursday, July 14, and go until close, according to one of El Camino’s owners Shawn Cantley. The cost is $20 per person, which doesn’t include drinks.

IL reported earlier this year that the restaurant was closing its 1314 Bardstown Road store and a Cincinnati concept called The Eagle was swooping in. However, an official close date hadn’t be set.

El Camino will close after the July 14 party, and workers will start moving out. The Eagle operators will take over the property starting Aug. 1.

Don’t worry, though: El Camino may be going away for a little bit, but it’s not gone forever, Cantley said. El Camino plans to reopen in a new, smaller space. Negotiations on one space fell through, but he said they are working hard to find a place that fits.

“We are gonna try to make it happen as soon as we can,” Cantley said. —Caitlin Bowling

Cincinnati alcohol distributor expanding footprint in Louisville

Heidelberg Distributing Co. is a beer and liquor distributor. | Photo by Elizabeth T.

Heidelberg Distributing Co. is a beer and liquor distributor. | Photo by Elizabeth T.

Heidelberg Distributing Co. has added brands to its inventory in Louisville and now is looking to move into a larger warehouse to accommodate the growth.

The Cincinnati-based beer and liquor distribution company has had operations in Louisville since 2012, Mike Monnin, executive vice president and general manager of Heidelberg’s Kentucky operations, told IL.

Most notably, Monnin said the company picked up Kentucky distribution of Rhinegeist, a Cincinnati brewery that has started infiltrating the Louisville market. “That’s really added quite a bit” to the company’s sales locally.

Heidelberg has not signed the lease on the new space yet, but a building permit filed with Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government states the company will move into a 20,000-square-foot facility at 4302 Chefs Way in Jennings Crossing industrial park. Roughly one-eighth of the space will be offices, with the remaining 17,766 square feet serving as warehouse space.

Heidelberg is currently located in a facility in Chamberlain Crossings Business Park. —Caitlin Bowling

Kroger adding online ordering at another Louisville store

Kroger_logo.svgKroger has slowly been checking area stores off its list as the Cincinnati grocery company continues to expand where it offers online grocery ordering.

The latest store getting Kroger’s online ordering system called Clicklist is located at 1247 Goss Ave. in Germantown. The company filed plans to remove some landscaping and restripe 12 parking spaces in front of the store to create eight pick-up spaces for Clicklist users.

Clicklist allows customers to compile a grocery list and submit their order to their preferred Kroger store. Kroger employees then bag the groceries and will load them into a customer’s car.

Orders must be placed before midnight in order to be picked up at a specific time the next day, and the service is available from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Clicklist has a $4.95 service fee per order, but for new customers, the fee is waived the first three times.

Kroger has previously stated that Clicklist is a great alternative for elderly folks and parents of small children. —Caitlin Bowling

The 2016 FirstBuild Mega Hackathon is announced

Every year, FirstBuild hosts a “Mega Hackathon” — a weekend-long opportunity for creative people to come in and work alongside FirstBuilders and use their toys (tools, rather) to build something new and exciting. This year’s theme is “The Future of Cooking,” and the event is Sept. 24-25.

Makers, techies, engineers and designers will come together to create the next cool thing in appliances. Sponsors will be there to mentor and let you use their latest gadgets. Some people stay awake the entire night, others crash on beanbags or the floor (of course you can just go home, too.).

There will be judges, mentors, food, beverages, looky-loos and fans at the event. Last year, the prize money was pretty significant, with first place taking home $5,000.

The participant fee is $30, or $20 if you’re a student. Fees cover registration, admission, materials, snacks and four meals. Tickets will be on sale here. We’ll let you know more about the event as details emerge. —Melissa Chipman

SUV, truck demand fuels Ford sales

A 2017 Ford Escape, with a 2-liter EcoBoost engine, rests near The Snake, a hairpin turn on Mulholland Highway near Malibu, Calif. | Photo by Boris Ladwig.

A 2017 Ford Escape, with a 2-liter EcoBoost engine, rests near The Snake, a hairpin turn on Mulholland Highway near Malibu, Calif. | Photo by Boris Ladwig.

Good news for Louisville Assembly and Kentucky Truck plants: SUV and truck sales are booming. Cars? Not so much.

The big three North American automakers reported that consumers in June continued to switch from cars to trucks and SUVs. A gallon of gasoline in the U.S. costs about 50 cents less than a year ago, according to the U.S. Energy and Information Administration.

Ford said it sold 240,109 vehicles in June, up 6.4 percent from a year earlier. General Motors sold 255,210 vehicles, down 1.6 percent, while FiatChrysler’s sales rose 7 percent, to 197,073.

Ford’s truck sales in June jumped 24.2 percent, fueled primarily by strong demand for its best-selling vehicle, the F-Series truck, sales of which increased 29.6 percent. Ford said it was the best F-Series sales month in more than a decade. The F-Series Super Duty is made at Kentucky Truck Plant.

Ford said SUV sales in June improved 7.3 percent, buoyed by strong demand for the all-new Ford Escape, which saw sales rise 20.2 percent from a year earlier. The Escape is made exclusively at Louisville Assembly Plant.

Car sales, though, fell 12.8 percent in June, with Fiesta sales falling 49 percent. Demand for the Focus, C-Max, Taurus and Mustang also declined by double digits.

“There’s no mystery here,” said Ford Sales Analyst Erich Merkle in his Behind the Numbers column. “Car sales have been down throughout the industry as consumers continue to rotate from cars to SUVs and trucks.”

Through the first half of the year, industry sales as a whole were up about 1 percent from the same period last year. Ford sales, meanwhile, have improved 4.6 percent. Demand for GM vehicles has fallen 4.4 percent, while FiatChrysler’s sales are up 6 percent.

Ford truck sales have improved 12.5 percent in the first six months of the year, while demand for Ford SUVs has increased 8.6 percent. Ford car sales are down 9.1 percent.

FiatChrysler and GM don’t break down sales by vehicle type, but are seeing similar trends.

Merkle said automakers will be going into a tougher second half of the year, and Ford’s performance will depend in part on a new product made in Louisville.

“All the automakers are fighting for their share of the industry,” he said. “So we are going
to have to work to deliver on our new products – particularly vehicles like the all-new Super Duty.” —Boris Ladwig

Play Dance Bar raises more than $75,000 for Orlando shooting victims

Mayor Greg Fischer speaks at Play's Orlando benefit. | Courtesy of Play

Mayor Fischer at Orlando benefit | Courtesy of Play

More than 1,200 people packed into Play Dance Bar last Thursday night to help raise funds and celebrate the lives of the victims of last month’s Orlando nightclub mass shooting. The “#WeAreOrlando Benefit Show” also featured a handful of staff and performers from Pulse, as well as appearances by Mayor Greg Fischer, Congressman John Yarmuth, TV personality Dawne Gee, philanthropist Barbara Sexton Smith and others.

Play, which also has a location in Nashville and held a similar benefit the night before, raised more than $75,000 for the charity between the two events. Owner Todd Roman tells Insider they were hoping for $50,000, so anything more than that was thrilling.

“The outpouring and support in the community was unreal, and the owner of Pulse and the employees were so moved,” says Roman. “They just could not believe how a community so removed was doing so much.” —Sara Havens

Xstreme Media names Charlie Hall president

After a six-month search, digital marketing agency Xstreme Media‘s CEO Lesa Seibert announced that Charlie Hall has been named president of the agency. For the past five years, Hall has been vice president of sales and marketing at Allied Central Distributing, a Proctor & Gamble product distribution group. Overall, he has 29 years experience in development.

Hall has been hired to lead the company in its expansion initiative to the rest of Kentucky and Southern Indiana. Founded in 2000, Xstreme was an early entrant to the Louisville digital agency market.

“I am looking forward to developing Xstreme to its full potential, including expanding our consulting operations,” Hall said in a news release. “The digital media landscape is changing on a daily basis, so Louisville companies and non-profits alike need to be aware of the opportunities – and potential pitfalls – that the digital world brings. I have experience with Xstreme as a client, and I saw at first hand the capabilities and insight their team brings. This is a very exciting opportunity.”

Hall is also a board member for several Kentucky-based nonprofits, including the YMCA of Greater Louisville. –Melissa Chipman

Kindred swaps another hospital

Kindred Healthcare has swapped another transitional care hospital with Select Medical Holdings Corp.

KindredHealthcare.Kindred, based in Louisville, said it has acquired a leased 44-bed hospital in San Antonio from SMHC, while the Pennsylvania-based company received a 73-bed hospital that Kindred had leased in Atlanta.

About a month ago, Kindred and Select Medical announced a swap that included Kindred acquiring four of SMHC’s so-called long-term acute care hospitals, or LTACs, and SMHC obtaining two from Kindred.

According to Kindred’s website, the facilities provide “care for difficult-to-treat, chronically critically ill patients who require specialized and aggressive goal-directed care over an extended recovery period.”

Kindred has made several changes to its LTAC portfolio in recent months to unload facilities that aren’t generating solid returns. About five weeks ago, the company announced it would close its nursing and rehab facility on Bardstown Road. In April, the company said it would sell 12 LTACs to a private investment fund. The company said at the time that it expected those 12 facilities to break even this year.

Kindred provides health care services in 46 states in more than 2,700 locations, including nearly 100 transitional care hospitals and about 90 nursing centers. It employs about 102,000. —Boris Ladwig